I woke up this morning with a song from Phineas and Ferb in my head: Squirrels in My Pants.
All squirrels aside, it’s a beautiful spring morning and I’m looking forward to meeting with our Keuka College Field Period student, John Bond. We have a lot of ground and details to cover, so I’m trying to get organized, get my thoughts together, get myself into the shower. Those pesky squirrels are distracting me.
I’m also expending too much mental energy dwelling on my imperfections this morning. I am beyond grateful to FLARE Executive Committee member Martha Jerrim for taking my piles of sticky notes, half-completed lists, and attempts at compiling data, and turning them into beautiful, useful spreadsheets that I am not allowed to touch unless I open them in read-only mode. This, I think, speaks perfectly to the nature of what FLARE is: individually, we bring an astonishing array of strengths and talents (and imperfections), but together, we can do amazing things.
FLARE 2022 is just under a month away. When we first conceived of this thing back in 2020, just days before the COVID-19 epidemic swept through our communities, this event was our pie-in-the-sky goal. It’s an opportunity for authors to connect with readers, for readers to discover new authors, and for the hard, creative work that comes from our corner of the world to shine. I am so proud of us all, and excited that we’ve (almost) done it! I’m even more proud of the fact that we’ve created a real community here, a community of authors and readers who are thoughtful, kind, and engaged.
Writing, they tell us, is a solitary job. So too, in many ways, are teaching and editing, which are the things that help pay the bills around here. When I’m designing a course or head down in an editing job, it’s just me and the text that I’m attempting to wrangle into some sort of submission. What FLARE gives me is the sense of community that I need in order to do this work—the work may occur in isolation, but the soul-feeding that comes from this community makes it possible.
So, I raise my coffee cup to all of us: authors, readers, executive committee members, and the friends who make embracing the squirrels in our pants both entertaining and possible. Together, we are unstoppable.