This week has seen a landslide of member resignations from RWA members. Former presidents Leslie Kelly and Dee Davis, working with acting executive director Leslie Scantlebury – all people I like and respect as effective leaders – offered a plan to help the current skeleton board restore RWA. They were refused and Leslie posted the news and her member resignation on Twitter. Other amazing authors and leaders like Beverly Jenkins and Kristan Higgins have resigned their memberships, too. RWA has posted severely reduced registration rates for the National Conference in July – an event I once built my calendar around – and all I can envision is a ghostly empty hotel with echoing hallways where thousands of my friends once gathered.
It’s all so difficult and heart-breaking, and it feels like a microcosm of the greater political landscape in the U.S. and the world.
At the same time that I’m grieving these losses, I’m preparing a workshop I’ll be giving (remotely) to the New England Chapter of RWA (NECRWA): The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in the Writing Business. I’ve been making plenty of notes on how to reframe the presentation to include handling the great disappointments RWA national has been handing us.
In fact, I think I should just change the presentation title to “The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in an Insane World.” Really, that’s what it all comes down to. The avalanche of news can rock our boats to the point where we take on water and capsize. But we do have control of that – something I have to continually remind myself. Even though RWA has felt like a framework that has supported me these last dozen years, and though it’s easy for me to conflate the success of my career with the well-being of RWA, I have to remember those things aren’t true.
I take a moment to gaze out the window at the snow-covered landscape, at the mountains in the distance, always there through storms and the rise and fall of the light. Setting up my good camera on the tripod, I get photos of the moon caught in the bare winter branches of a tree against a peach sky.
My boat stabilized and serene, I sail on.