still clique-less and in the margins I stand

Monday, May 27, 2013

Yesterday, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, I wrote about my love for the Devon Horse Show, how this ten-day event resonated with me as a child and brought me here as a woman in search of a home some two decades ago.

It isn't surprising, therefore, that I spent much of yesterday on my own street corner, watching the carriages go by with my father, and, later, walking the fairgrounds with my husband. Going in and out of stables, sipping a smoothie, watching.


It may just be that writer thing. Or maybe it's in my blood. But yesterday, like most days, the parties were going on without me—the annual, tented neighborhood gathering a half block away, the swirls of friends at the lemon-stick stand on the Midway, the backyard barbeques. I've always been the girl who stars in my quasi-autobiographical young adult novel, Undercover—behind the scenes and reliably helpful, called on in a crisis, quietly off the list most other times.

I am a person with so many, many friends—individual, one on one, personal, often invisible. I am also a person without an established community. I think about things like this on holidays. And I am grateful, always, for the horses, and for those who served our country, who stood behind the idea of community.


Melissa Sarno said...

This is, like, the sum of my entire life in a few paragraphs. : )

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Have I ever told you how beautiful and true UNDERCOVER was for me?

Beth Kephart said...

Sarno, the world is full and yet and yet and yet — this ache behind things.

And Caroline, I just sent you a note but sending you love here, too.

Kelly Simmons said...

There has always been "one cool remove" between me and the rest of the world.

And it's necessary sometimes. And it works so well sometimes.
But sometimes it's devastating.

You wrote about it simply, perfectly. That's what should be in the Inquirer :-)

Missy K said...

And with this you make us, the other on the fringe ones, feel less alone. Gift upon gift-- since you've given us books to hold that do that too. Thank you.

Elizabeth Mosier said...

Quiet margins are exactly what a writer needs. And I've also found that it only seems like the whole world is partying without us.

Sarah Laurence said...

Likewise. Joiners don't have time to write books. The word "margins" makes me think of jotting notes, observing and reflecting. However, may I argue that there is a cyber community of your fans, blog buddies and FB friends?

No Memorial Day party for me. I'm recovering from revision pass #2. Reading in a sunny chair is all I can muster. Speaking of creative loners, I'm enjoying Where'd You Go Bernadette. I think you were one of the many who recommended it to me.

Happy Memorial Day, Beth!

Bidisha said...

"Quietly off the list most other times" - this whole post resonates so much. It's okay to be the observer from the margins. Somewhat like the wallflower. I think that pretty much makes a writer.

So beautiful this is, Beth.

Beth Kephart said...

To all my friends here — Missy, Sarah, Bidisha, Kelly, Caroline, Melissa: you represent the best of the individual collective. And Elizabeth, when I wrote this post, I thought of you and how YOU build and nurture community.

Love to all,


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