I purchased my first computer when I began my writing life in 1994. A fan of pen and paper with no “word processor” experience, my firstborn installed the machine on top of her repurposed vanity table, placed in my kitchen. She offered a ten minute lesson and said, “That should do. See you later.”

Our household was down to the youngest of three daughters who occupied one of three bedrooms. The middle daughter, a student of Alma College, requested I not convert her first floor bedroom into my office until she left the nest. That meant three years of writing stories and workshop materials in the kitchen, the hub of our home.

I made no promise, established my email and website addresses for my little business. All was well until our internet service malfunctioned again.

“What caused the problem this time?” I once asked a technician.

“Mice got into the box and chewed the wire,” he said.

“Can’t you make a mice-proof box?”

“Why would we do that?” he replied.

In October 1995, I attended my first writers’ conference, hosted by Detroit Women Writers and Oakland University. It seemed the keynote speaker spoke directly to me “to always strive to write your best.”

By October 1998, my portfolio held enough published clips to submit to Detroit Working Writers for membership. The following October, I attended their conference as a member, which included a “membership only afterglow” following the conference.

Hosted by a member, I observed the celebration of the commitment the women invested into their conference, the annual event that fertilized the future of their mission.

Four years later, Oakland University withdrew their affiliation with Detroit Women Writers and the annual conference. Thus, the women’s afterglow also faded into history. Eventually, the organization’s board voted to open membership to men, and changed their name to Detroit Working Writers.

Yesterday, a handful of present and former Detroit Women/Working Writers attended my book launch for my second novel titled Matewan Garden Club. They mingled with friends I grew up with in Warren, and women who also were married in Redeemer Baptist Church in the early seventies, or raised their children with mine wherever our families lived and worshiped.

Writers, artists, neighbors, my Bible study group, and fellow docents who once guided tours of the art and architecture within the Woodward Avenue Detroit Public Library-gathered to welcome my newborn story into this vast world of words.

If we don’t keep our eyes upon the steadfast, it could seem nothing remains sacred and the same. Pen and paper to computer. Landlines to cell phones. Human beings to robots.

Dear Reader, after my guests left yesterday, and I at last parked Betsy, my golf cart, in the shed, I paid a visit to my bees. There, in their repurposed birdbath, a solitary bee drank water near the basin’s rim, its tail and antennae undulating, maintaining balance while it drank.

The sun broke through clouds upon the bee’s wings in afterglow of a splendid, rainy day.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail. com