How Many Fiction Writers does it take to Fantasize a Disaster?

Many years ago when I lived in Virginia, a few friends and I put together a writers’ group. We met regularly and read and critiqued each others’ work. There was a core group of five or six of us and a few folks who came for a week or a few months or a year and moved on. Although the core has broken apart now with most of us moving away, we stay in touch and every once in a while, we spend a few days together at Jane’s, who just happens to live in the most beautiful setting on Smith Mountain Lake. That’s exactly what we did a week or so ago and it was so fabulous to be with old friends in such a gorgeous place. I’m the only one still actively writing, although I hope after this recent get-together, a few others will pick up their pens again.
I drove separately, since I was the only one coming from the south, and Linda, Jeanne and Ann drove together. When we pulled into the driveway, we all cracked up to see that Linda and I have identical vehicles. Then we got down to the business of catching up on everyone’s lives–family, travel, health, writing (or not). We met Kep, Jane’s newest family member. Last year when we visited, her beloved dog Wally was still with her. That dog was a favorite of mine–a smart, vibrant and loving lap dog too big for anyone’s lap. Well, Jane’s most recent work-in-progress is a novel about reincarnation, so it makes sense (and the timing is perfect) that Wally is somewhere inside of Kep, who is just as lovable and smart as his predecessor. (That’s me with Wally on the left, and Kep on the right). Spooky, huh?
The first night we ate in, but the second night, Jane suggested we take their boat to a Mexican restaurant, ten minutes away by water. Linda gets seasick, so we hemmed and hawed a bit, but she was a good sport, agreeing to take the risk since it would be such a short trip.
We hopped in the boat and took off, with Jane’s husband Chauncey at the helm. It was a beautiful though chilly trip across the lake and around the bend and around another bend and a few more bends and into some river and around a few more bends. Half an hour later, with Linda only a little green, we pulled up in front of the restaurant. (In the interest of time and space, I’ll skip the part about Jane falling off the dock and how we asked the waiter for a candle so our table would have a little light and he had no candles so he brought us a desk lamp for the center of the table).
As we ate, I knew we were all, maybe even Chauncey, nervous about the boat trip back to the house in the dark. I asked Chauncey how he’d know the way back, given all the zillion turns we made on the way to the restaurant and he reassured me all we had to do was keep the red lights on our left until we got to the green light which would lead to the white light (or something like that).
We got back in the boat and Chauncey handed out the life preservers, putting one on himself. Not reassuring! Then we set out on our journey, no red lights in sight. I’m not kidding–this was like sailing into the black abyss. We sailed very slowly this time, all of us entertaining images of capsizing in the darkness alone in the middle of the black sea, our cell phones rendered useless by the water. But of course, we made it back to the house just fine and like all adventures, it was lots of fun to talk about once it was over. However, we’ve decided we’ll drive to dinner next time.
Have you had any get togethers with old friends recently?


  1. Sharon on September 19, 2011 at 12:06 am

    How lovely to see the photo of everyone! I keep in touch with Linda, but lost track of the other ladies. So glad you all had such a good time.

  2. Margo on September 19, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Haven’t met up with any old friends recently, but had to comment. Diane, I thought both photos of you and Kep (Wally) were 1 and the same dog! They look identical!
    I love the idea that Jane is writing about reincarnation since I agree that Wally just might be a part of Kep. That’s the way I feel about our new little girl ‘Kenya’…I just know that our beloved ‘Kramer’ is part of her…no doubt about it…the signs are everywhere. Great post this morning…loved reading about your adventure on the lake.

  3. Diane Chamberlain on September 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Sharon, we chatted about you, so happy about your beautiful family!
    Margo, you would love Kep!

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