Finding a good illustration for a post about friendship is not easy, but, as always, the trees led the way. What better way to show what the Miss Demeanors mean to me than to show this picture of three strong and beautiful trees. (In a perfect world there would be seven trees in the picture, but oh well.)
The Miss Demeanors have now been a formal group for about five years. Our membership has shifted around, but most of us are connected through our fabulous agent, Paula Munier. It’s been an eventful few years, filled with publishing contracts and awards and disastrous news and discouragement and oh, a pandemic. Through it all we’ve dragged each other along. When I was recently in the hospital, my fellow Miss Demeanors sent me a plant that is actually the size of a tree.
Several of us were at the recent Crime Bake conference (and missed those who weren’t there) and we later went out to dinner and I was thinking about what a pleasure it has been to be a Miss Demeanor these past few years, and how much I enjoy everyone’s company. So my question of the week is, what does it mean to you to be a Miss Demeanor?
Emilya: Well, I got to meet all you lovely ladies, and I feel a lot less alone in the writing universe because of that. But in terms of what it means to be one–it’s like being part of a little club. Or a sorority. Though I’ve never been in a sorority, this feels kind of like what I imagine that would be. I’m part of a group, we have common goals and interests, and we support each other.
And I love the name!
Michele: I have loved being a Miss Demeanor since the creation of our blog more than five years ago. We should have a birthday party! Being in a community of writers where we share the ups and downs, encourage and congratulate each other, and have more than an occasional laugh, has sustained me. I learn so much from you and the guests you invite to our blog. And I am tickled that Emilya loves our name because (taking a little bow) I was the one who came up with it when we were circulating ideas for the blog back in the pioneer days. We had such fun starting our blog. That’s another thing to remember about our blog. We get to have fun doing it!
Connie: I’m piggy-backing on Emilya’s response here. And I couldn’t agree more! Spending time with Alexia, Susan, Emilya, and Paula was the highlight of Crime Bake—especially our wonderful dinner at Legal C. I just read an article on Zoom. Yes, we can have a conversation on Zoom, but there is always a tiny delay. Our brains process that delay as “something’s wrong,” and are constantly trying to decipher and keep up, which is exhausting. I’ve experienced that. Nothing will ever take the place of face-to-face conversation in my book. Maybe we can do it again (with more of us?) at Malice. I hope so.
Alexia: Wow, Michele, I didn’t realize it’s been 5 years. It honestly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I enjoy being a Miss Demeanor because I feel as though I’m part of a community within the larger crime fiction community. Crime fiction is so big, it’s easy to feel disconnected. And I love that we’re *Miss*demeanors. Being part of a group of women in a world that doesn’t always value women’s creative work feels good. Great to see so many of you at Crime Bake!
Tracee: I remember that Michele came up with the name! Brilliant! For me, comraderie is at the core of being a MissDemeanor. Mutual respect, kindnesses large and small, and let’s not forget insight into things not entirely book related.