I moved back to Idaho and what a great feeling to be home. The dry, desert air is certainly different from the damp, foggy, rainy weather of Washington. The sights here are very different also. In Vancouver, there was the river, with its many sail boats, that separated it from Portland. There were the beautiful Oregon beaches, and the verdant growth that was everywhere, even covering the vacant lots in town. (Instead of the weeds or sage brush like here, they’re covered with wild blackberry bushes).
Here, there’s the high desert, beautiful in its own way. Being here, though on a smaller scale, is like living near the Grand Canyon. The desert likes to bore you with a redundance of plainness, and then overwhelm you with sudden magnificence. The picture below was taken just a short ways from my new home.
Yes, some things are very different, but some things remain the same. For instance, wherever I’ve lived I’ve sought out a writer’s group to join. That remained the same, but the groups in both Seattle and Portland were very different. They had a speaker come each month to educate us on the finer points of writing. We had several well-known writers in the groups in Washington and that made it interesting, but the groups were too large to critique individual works. I could go to meetings month after month and remain anonymous. That had its benefits at times, but I missed the social interaction I had with Blue Sage Writers.
And now I’m in Mountain Home. There’s a group here in town that meets twice a month. They critique one week and have what they call a “creative meeting” the next. I’ve been invited to join them next Thursday at 6:30 and I’m looking forward to the small, informal meeting.
In Boise, forty minutes away (less time than it took to drive across the bridge into Portland and through the maze of traffic to the college where the writers group met), they have a group called Partners in Crime. It’s a group of mystery writers and in order to join you have to be a member of the National Organization of Sisters in Crime. (They renamed the group in Boise so they could invite the gentlemen to join). Those of you who used to go to Boise to interact with the RWA group there may remember Donna Crow. She now belongs to Partner’s in Crime. There are other groups in Boise, also, that sound interesting and I plan to check them out. If anyone has suggestions about a group, please let me know.
One day, around twenty-five years ago, I attended, as a guest, an Idaho Writers’ League meeting. I heard an announcement by two young ladies, Karen Finnigan and Sherry Roseberry, about a new writers’ group that was starting in Idaho Falls. It was to be named The Southern Idaho Romance Writers of America. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write romance, but I was so impressed with the individuals that planned to be a part of SIRWA that I decided to join my first writers’ group. I’ve never regretted that decision and have many great memories of meetings in Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, and Boise, plus national meetings all over the United States. Each member of the organization has had a positive influence on me in one way or another. Since then, the group has changed considerably. Even the name is different, but many of the people I enjoyed in SIRWA are in the Blue Sage Writers.
Because of those friends and the positive experiences I had in SIRWA and Blue Sage Writers, wherever I’ve lived I’ve sought out and joined a writers’ group. That has remained the same. What’s different? None of them were quite like my home town group.
Maxine is the author of a psychology book, "Reality For Parents of Teens." She has written numerous articles on drug and alcohol rehabilitation, how the brain works, and setting and accomplishing goals. She has authored lesson manuals for teaching classes on cognitive self-change. Maxine attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Idaho State University. She counseled for a women's program, Discovery House and for Road to Recovery, a men's and Women's drug rehabilitation program. She taught prison rider return classes for Probation and Parole in the state of Idaho, taught in the women's prison, and worked with Child Protection Services in Idaho as well. She now lives in Idaho.