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Usually I’m No Joiner

I am not much of a joiner. For most of my life, I’ve maintained only a few close connections, and most of those are family members. I suppose some of us are born more outgoing and others more aloof, but our early experiences probably also shape us. In school I was usually one of the better students, maybe not straight A but close enough to irritate some of my classmates, so it paid to be one of the quiet ones.

My family also moved several times, not with military frequency but enough. I was eight when we left my home town of Sylvania, Ohio for the Chicago suburbs. Three years later, we landed in Sacramento, California. Three years later, we returned to Chicagoland. Three years later, I was off to college. When you’re uprooted time and again, you learn most friendships are temporary, so it’s best not to get overly involved with anyone.

Same with work. Lots companies promote the idea of the workplace as a sort of family. I don’t much see it that way. Over the past forty-plus years, I’ve worked with 19 different groups for 13 different companies. Once I move on, I generally have zero contact with former coworkers, although there have been a few exceptions.

So when it comes to joining clubs or similar organizations, I’m not generally interested. I’m an amateur astronomer, for example, but I’ve never belonged to an astronomy club. I did make one exception some years ago: I joined the Baltimore Bonsai Club so I could learn about the art from people who were actively involved with it. That turned out to be both a great decision and a problem: great because I connected with some wonderful people and learned a lot from them, a problem because as time went on I had little time for club activities. I haven’t been active for some years now.

I have been a member of some online groups, though, principally Baha’i groups (my religion) and writers’ groups. Those are easier to manage and participate in, since all you need is an Internet connection. I’m also a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association, although I don’t participate much right now for lack of time. The only in-person writing group I currently participate in is a creative writing workshop I run at my local library.

Online groups make sense for those like me who have little time or inclination for in-person clubs. Indeed, my Story Corner is such a club. We don’t interact face-to-face, but we keep in touch. I tell you what’s going on in my world, send you book reviews and short stories, and even extend discounts on my books. You have easy access to send me feedback or make suggestions. We read each other’s emails at our leisure, not on somebody else’s schedule. Interaction is so much easier this way than through public events. (Not that public events aren’t good. I know people like to meet authors they follow. Alas, circumstances make that hard for me right now.)

So I’d like to invite you to join the club, even if like me you aren’t much of a joiner. I’ll give you some freebies as a thank you: a free electronic copy of The Fibonacci Murders (Howard County Mystery #1) and free access to “Seven Apples,” my first and so far only Howard County short story. Join here. It’s easy, just a simple little form.

Original author: Dale E. Lehman
San Francisco Bay Area Lock-Down
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