Writers often complain that, aside from their fellow author pals, the "other people" in their lives (i.e. parents, husbands, siblings, childhood or neighborhood friends, that nice checkout lady at Piggly Wiggly, etc.) don't understand the joys and frustrations of the publishing world.
While this may be true in the sense that these others do not personally have in their basements stacks of agent/editor rejection letters higher than my mountain of unwashed laundry, nor do they routinely stay up until 2am trying to make completely fictional people say emotionally truthful things to each other on their computer screens...they can, if a writer is very lucky, really "get" you anyway.
They'll hug you when the "your story's just not right for us" pile grows ever higher. Support your dream by encouraging you to read inspiring books or see presentations by successful novelists. Be shockingly interested in hearing explanations of the hierarchy of a writing organization--with all its little pins, awards, traditions and ceremonies. And keep you grounded through the ups and downs by reminding you that you have a family and a community and a life outside of the sometimes claustrophobic publishing industry.
And, if a writer is luckiest of all, these wonderful others will celebrate your biggest writing milestones with you by bringing you a tiara (one with flashing yellow lights!) and taking you out for a tasty Mexican dinner. And then, when you think you can't eat so much as another tortilla chip, they'll reveal their Ace of Hearts: a much-anticipated visit to The Chocolate Lounge!!! With games. And truffles. And so much laughter you may well be in danger of frightening the 20-something girls behind the counter.
They'll present you with cherished cards and beautiful handmade jewelry that show their thoughtfulness and their own tremendous creativity. And they'll top off the night with a trip to a local wine and martini bar where the friendly servers have been known to offer celebratory "pineapple cake" shots on special occasion...
Thank you Joyce, Sarah and Karen for the most incredibly, memorably and unbelievably fun "debut book contract party" I could imagine. And, best of all, for being such dear and amazing friends.