I haven’t encountered that prof since that fateful meeting, but I’ve published four novels to date and just submitted my fifth to my publisher. The writing group eventually dissolved, each of us going on to individual creative pursuits. All three of my friends are successful artists and artisans. Two of us have published. My kids are grown. I’m married to a wonderful man, a poet, and we’ve moved to an idyllic island home with a writing room all of my own. I procrastinate more. I still belong to a loose writer’s group that meets occasionally, but my motivation to write comes entirely from within, by my love of the creative process. The seeds of that motivation were sown by that first group of women who I think of with an intense affection, like the first best friends of childhood who never lost faith in you. I do a lot of public readings now and young women often approach me to ask whether I think they can write and still have children. My reply never varies: Ignore the naysayers, gather your aunties, and go for it girl!