writer's life

A delightful chance meeting

April 15, 2015

In March, while traveling on the east coast, I had dinner with a dear friend, Ted Maris-Wolf. We splurged, dining at the Fat Canary, a special-event favorite restaurant of mine back in the day (circa 2008). We had a wide-ranging conversation, from our families and children to mutual friends and the institutions we had in common: the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (where Ted is now Vice President of Research and Historical Interpretation and I was Book Editor/Writer for five years in the early 2000s).

As our dinner was winding down, we began to chat about writing adventures, discussing Ted’s ups and downs with his first academic-press publication, Family Bonds: Free Blacks and Re-Enslavement Law in Antebellum Virginia, and my negotiations with a journal editor of an old academic article of mine (more on that in another post).  We also talked about my forthcoming memoir. I wondered aloud whether to self-publish and, if so, to bother with a print version or just stick with an eBook edition.

Suddenly, the woman seated on the banquet next to me at the two-top to my right leaned over, excused herself for interrupting by explaining she had overheard we were writers and she, herself, was a poet, then grabbed my arm and exclaimed that I must print my book. She introduced herself as Beclee Newcomer Wilson, poet laureate of Napa County, CA. Her husband across the table, John Wilson, mentioned that he met with a VP at Colonial Williamsburg that afternoon who recommended he set up a meeting with the new VP overseeing the Historic Area — someone named Ted something-or-other. I introduced John to Ted; John immediately launched into his various proposals to improve Colonial Williamsburg, and Ted shared some of what he envisions for the future of the Historic Area. I gossiped with Beclee for an hour about writing, publishing, the beauty of Napa Valley, her work to bring poetry to elementary-school students, and the challenges of juggling the joyous noise of motherhood with the solitary contemplation of a writer’s life. Beclee and I exchanged email addresses, John got on Ted’s schedule for the following day, and the Wilsons departed.

Several minutes later, after the restaurant staff reset the table, Ted and I looked at each other and marveled, “Was that real? Or did we imagine them?!”

A wonderful dinner with a longtime friend transformed into a a delightful chance meeting. Beclee and I have a phone date to talk about book marketing at the end of the month.

Here’s Beclee’s 2011 poetry collection, Winter Fruit (available on Amazon).

photo courtesy of Amazon.com
photo courtesy of Amazon.com



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