(Walks into a dimly lit side room of a local community center.)
There are several empty chairs in the loose circle and I smile at the few folks who know me.
(If it wasn't for my issue, I'd have more friends, but that's why I'm here.)
People nod and return to sipping the always-tepid coffee served in the always-small Styrofoam cups.
The meeting is called to order.
It's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group.
I decide to go first.
"Hi, I'm Mark and I'm a terrible return commenter. It's been two days since my last reply."
"Hi Mark," comes the uniform response. One or two people nod with sympathy, while a few others disguise their frowns by chewing on day-old oatmeal cookies.
"Would you like to share first, Mark?"
"Sure, Stevanopulous,* I'll go first."
My white plastic chair almost falls as I scramble to stand and face my peers.
Like a shield of dreams (write it, and they will read) I hold WIP close to my chest and half-wave at the group.
"See, it all started nearly three years ago. On a daily basis, I don't have a lot of time to write, and I missed one comment - just one - on a certain post. I felt guilty for ages, but then I missed another... and soon I spiraled out of control."
I look down and caress my ms.
"Then I got hooked on this - I hold up the dog-eared folder - and now I can't stop."
Several people follow my every word - I see the same hunger in their eyes - while others nod sagely and offer smiles of support.
"Mark, let me ask you, have you ever disabled comments?"
"No, but I have deleted many spam comments and have moved emailed comments to a separate folder in my Yahoo inbox. I always mean to go back, but I never find the time. Instead, I take one more hit of ms - I only ever mean to take just one - but I'm soon lost."
Guilt racks me as I look out on the group.
"I'm so sorry. I know I need to do better. I can and I will, I promise."
"It's OK, Mark, your ManCard is safe with us, let the tears fall."
Wipes snotty nose on already damp sleeve.
"Group hug, anyone?"
I also wanted to add a huge *Congratulations* to Alex for leading us these last two years of Insecure Writers Support Group, and a very happy second anniversary to one and all :)
To join the growing ranks of the IWSG, please click here.