I have the great honor of presenting a guest post from one of my friends, Jim Lambert.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may know that I’m part of a local critique group, and that these people have impacted and enriched my life. When Jim emailed a few of us with this piece, I jumped at the opportunity of sharing it on my blog.
Next week is Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and this would fit well with the theme. But in an effort to keep April’s posts short for the A-to-Z Challenge, I wanted to post this a week early.
I’m happy to be friends with this guy. And now, Jim…
Cool Kid’s Table
Do you remember high school? Most people do, it usually made quite an impression, good or bad. Remember the cliques? Remember the Cool Kids? And the Cool Kid’s Table. If you were cool enough, you got to sit at the Cool Kid’s Table. And you were a star.
Like a lot of what you learned in high school, that’s crap. Total BS. Absolute tommy-rot.
Because we are the Cool Kids.
A few years ago I started writing, and since then I’ve joined a bunch of groups related to writing. Including five critique groups. Yes, five. Yes, I am insane, thanks for asking.
One of those critique groups has twelve people in it, and I’ve become friends with everyone in it, and really good friends with some of them. We meet for dinner and beers before critique, we have write-ins at coffee shops and bookstores, me and some of the girls have breakfast together (quote from the group: “Shut up, Jim!”), we go to other events together, we even decided to do a podcast together. We’re friends.
So one day one of them comments, “I feel like I get to sit at the Cool Kid’s Table.” And each of us says, “Me too!” And we looked at each other and laughed, and chatted about how none of us felt like a Cool Kid, but we looked at the others and could tell they were. It was fine and fun.
And then it happened again. And again. And again.
Always in fun, just a quick comment about Cool friends, or Cool writers, or the Cool Kid’s table. And how lucky we were to be sitting at it.
And I finally thought, NO.
That’s not the way it should be. We are not supplicants at the Cool Kid’s table. We are not flunkies or toadies or hanger’s-on. We are not lucky to be sitting at the Cool Kid’s Table.
We ARE the Cool Kids!
We, every single one of us, are the Cool Kids. And we aren’t lucky, we DESERVE to sit at the Cool Kid’s Table.
No. The Hell with that.
We sit at the Cool Kid’s Table because we are the Cool Kids, and wherever we sit IS the Cool Kid’s Table.
And everyone is welcome. We are all Cool Kids, and until you PROVE otherwise, so are you.
Want to sit at the table with the Cool Kids? Pick a table, sit down. Mission Accomplished. You just made that the Cool Kid’s Table. Just don’t be a dick to the other Cool Kids at the other tables. We all deserve respect; we’re all Cool Kids.
And to Hell with anyone who says different.
James T. Lambert (“call me Jim”) is a long time science fiction reader who decided to try his hand at writing the stuff a few years back. He planned on doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). That’s fifty thousand words in thirty days. First time he was two weeks late starting. “Maybe next year.” It was only held in November at that time. Next year he was a week late. “Maybe next year.” Next year he was three days late. “You know, I type fast. I can make up three days.” Now he needed a plot.
Steampunk. Going to the moon. In 1894. And, go!
He finished Steam Opera, then Aether Powered, then Proxies. He’s still working on Muse. And working with some other authors on Monster Marshals. So science fiction, Steampunk, and urban fantasy. He’s in four critique groups, and they tell him the stories need work. And they do. So they are all opened up on the surgical table and are slowly bleeding out. Once they’re resurrected, they’ll be sent out into the world to stagger about and cause havoc.
Please wait patiently.
Until then you can see his progress in building a website at http://jamestlambert.com.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t one of the cool kids? When was the pivotal point in your life when you realized you were one? Anybody else hungry now?
59 thoughts on “Cool Kid’s Table – Guest Post”
A most excellent post. We are the cool kids! Yes, and I wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂
Thanks, L.G. That’s a good definition of no regrets: wouldn’t have it any other way.
Awesome post! This is a keeper.
This is such a great piece, Jim. There were so many great parts, but I did especially love this: “And everyone is welcome. We are all Cool Kids, and until you PROVE otherwise, so are you.”
You guys are so lucky to have each other – I very badly need an in-person writer’s group!
Thanks, Liz! I’m glad you liked that bit; I was afraid I was going too far. Good luck finding a group, it can be tough. Local writing conferences can be a good place. I saw a guy with signs on his shirt at LTUE: Talk to me about joining a writer’s group.
Very fun post, Jim. You are the coolest kid around. Especially when you bring cigars for everyone to a party and you know exactly where to get the best beer in town. You are AWESOME.
Thanks, Christy! I try :).
And I have to go try all the best beers in town to find them: win-win!
Great job, Jim!
I have vacillated between “Cool Kid” and “Rebel” or “Weirdo” my entire life. Often it’s been a checklist of “I’m Cool here, here, and here, a Rebel over there, and a Weirdo here.” In the end, it hasn’t mattered to those on the outside. It’s all between my ears and how that affects my actions and reactions.
And yes–our group IS the Cool Kid’s Table.
Yeah, I feel a little odd at work when I talk about something must of them aren’t interested in, but it can make a great shibboleth. First time I was introduced to a programmer I still work with, I noticed he had a Penfold plushie on his shelf. Instant connection due to Dangermouse!
Great attitude, Jim! You guys are the cool kids now.
Thanks, Alex. I’d save you a chair, but it’d be a long walk from Carolina.
Love this take on the cool kids. Nice to meet you, Jim.
Thanks, Mary, nice to meet you, too. Skimmed your blog: Yay, Oregon! Yay, Neverwhere! Maybe I’ll be able to meet you in person in Spokane for WorldCon. I’m leaning on Loni to go 🙂 .
Hmmm. WorldCon or my daughter’s birthday… tough choice…
Oh, that’s right. That’s what I get for talking to you at 6 in the morning. Me no brain at six.
Yup, it’s fun to be one of the cool kids now!
Psst Loni, did your text get lighter? Or am I imagining it?
Hmmm, I haven’t changed the text settings any. And I don’t think I updated the theme recently. Is it too light? Do I need to darken it? I have no issue with darkening it if it’ll improve your viewing ease.
Yay, us! 🙂
I was lucky enough to go to a small school. There weren’t enough of us to fragment into cliques. I never realized how special that was until I got older. And I agree with you…writers should behave the same way. No one is too cool to sit at the table with everyone else.
I was at the other end of the spectrum, school-size-wise. There were so many people you couldn’t find some of the cliques. In adulthood, I treat the world a bit like that: There is so much room and so many people, you can go play in your corner and never impact anyone, but there are still lots of people who will join you. I’m in a pipe smoking club and a scotch drinking club, besides all the writer’s groups. I can join a beard club, a Steampunk club, a boardgaming club, a role-playing game club (there are a bunch of these, and several just for Pathfinder), Anime club, wine tasting club, art club, any one of a dozen community theaters, and the list goes on. As long as they are accepting, it’s a blast to see the world through a new group’s focus. But it does soak up your free time quick.
What an awesome post! I was never one of the cool kids, but the writing community has made me feel like it. I’m always so grateful for the wonderful writer friends I have. 🙂
Thanks, Christine. Writers are a pretty accepting bunch.
Yes, I am getting behind you on this ‘we are the cool kids’ idea 100%. Great post, Loni. So, you’re doing the AZ, right? Sorry about my confusion, so much going on. But wanna make sure.
“We ARE the Cool Kids!” I so agree! Loved this post.
I love this! I am a cool kid ! 🙂
Thank, Beth. You sure are!
I don’t know if I ever wanted to sit at the Cool Kids’ table; a lot of them were jerks. But in my first year of college, I found Fencing Club, which was pretty much a Weird Kids’ Table the size of a basketball court. I found some of my best friends there, and years later, I’m still friends with some of them. Works for me. ^_^
Thanks, Mason. I took Fencing in college and joined the local club for a few years. It was a lot of fun, I wish I’d kept up with it.
I enjoyed James’s post. I never cared about the “cool kids” in high school. I had a click of close friends I sat with – all blond, talented, athletic, straight A students – and we considered ourselves better than the “popular” kids. We all have vastly different lives now though. I have a tiny bit of nostalgia for the old days, when our futures seemed bright and full of endless opportunities. Everything is possible when you’re a teen. But I’m lucky enough to love my life now very much.
Thanks, Lexa. I hung out with a lot of computer kids and gaming geeks back then. Smart, but we always felt a little oppressed by the more ‘normal’ kids. I know what you mean about having so much future in front of you. If I’d started writing back in my twenties… well, things would be different.
Great post, Jim! I belong to one critique group, and they’re a lot of fun. Your 12 ppl one sounds like a blast. Plus, I’m always down for eating w/friends. =)
Thanks, Leandra! Yeah, the big group is fun. And it’s great having folks to eat with or go have a drink with.
Awesome post 🙂 I never wanted to be at the “cool kids” table. They always seemed really mean and boring. I liked where I sat, because I always surrounded myself with the fun kids, so we were the FUN table. You have to decide to be who and where you want to sit. And carry it on through life 😉
Thanks, C.G. Yeah, the cool kids weren’t always the nice kids or the fun kids. So pick your friends carefully.
“You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but your can’t pick your friend’s nose.” – Jane and Burt Boyar World Class
I love this! I remember being at a conference. At lunchtime, I sat with several of the speakers and such, and I couldn’t help but thinking “This is the Cool Kids table.” But you’re right. We writers are cool. Period. Everywhere we sit is the Cool Kids table. 🙂
Thanks, Cherie. It’s fun sitting with people like speakers at conferences. You’ve usually read their work; they’re like friends you’ve never met. But it’s also fun to meet people first and read their work later. Because writers are cool. 🙂
Great way to be indeed. Wherever you go that is the cool kids table.
You betcha, Pat. Thanks.
I wasn’t at the cool kids table in high school, but I’ve had plenty of those opportunities as an adult, especially at critique groups and conferences. Writers are cool, and most of them are nice and supportive. It’s way better than high school.
Thanks for the comment, Medeia. I wasn’t a cool kid in high school, either. It’s kind of weird being one of them in my critique group. I’m not one at conferences and such, but you’re right, writers are very accepting and will include you easily.
I was so far from the Cool Kid’s table in high school, I don’t even know where it was!
You and me both, Ken. You and me both.
The cool kids table is all a matter of perspective that’s for sure. I was so cool that I avoided the lunch room all together 😉 When I had lunchroom duty as a teacher it was always interesting to watch the seating habits of the students. I think the misfit table is always the most interesting one.
Yeah, I had a trick–I walked home. I lived about 150 yards from the school. I think you are right, Jeri. The misfit table would certainly have the most diversity. There are so many ways to be different.
Jim, this post made me chuckle. I never thought of myself as one of the Cool Kids, but now I will. Love this!
Thanks, Cathrina! Glad you liked it, and glad you’re one of the cool kids now 😉
Five critique groups? Wow. I’ve yet to join one. Better get crackin’ on that. And now I have Echosmith in my head…
Yeah, and I think I’ve just joined another :). They’re a good thing, you just have to find ones that fit what you are doing. There’s a good book about them called The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine (through Writer’s Digest). It has a lot about possible rules for a group.
Couldn’t agree more.
And isn’t funny how the “cool kids” at school hardly ever seem to actually be cool?
Thanks, Misha. Yeah, small privileged populations turning into elitist and oppressive classes. Good thing that only happens in high school :\ .
Ah, yes. I remember the cool kids and their table very well. I saw it every day from across the cafeteria. Loved the post. Thanks.
Thanks, Lee! Skimmed your site and see you are Modesto girl. I’m from Sacramento, and a mutual friend of Loni’s and mine is from Modesto as well. Stay cool :).
Nice post. All writers are cool, as is anyone willing to go after what they want.
Thanks, Nick. You are correct, sir!
That’s right! We are all cool kids!
We sure are, Sherry. Thanks.