Tayari Jones was just 30 minutes away. All weekend I watched her updates via FourSquare – her visit to my favorite bookstore, her time at a restaurant I love, her time at the festival – and there I sat, 300 miles north.

I wish I could have seen Tayari speak. I wish I could have met lots of writers and heard about new books. I wish I could have wandered the fair and talked to agents and publishers.

But sometimes, the right thing, the better thing is to put aside my writing focus and look at the relationships in my life . . . sometimes it’s better to be a friend and granddaughter than it is to be a writer.

This weekend, I had lunch with a dear friend whose life has flipped over recently. I ate dinner with one of my closest friends and her beautiful family – her baby laughed on my lap, and her son played cars with me – heavenly. I had drinks with another friend, and he sat patiently while Carolina pulled out their OT win. Then, I spent a day with my grandparents, and while we watched Lawrence Walk and FOX news, I was glad to be there when I woke up to my grandfather having a small health crisis.

I needed to be reminded that my life is about relationships. No matter how much I write, no matter how many great writers I hear, no matter how many agents I chat with – nothing compares with the people in my life who love me and trust me and give me what I most need – love.

While I’m still sad to have missed Tayari and all the other great writers in Charlottesville, the sacrifice was well worth it . . . for the chance to love and be shown love in return.

What do you sacrifice in your writing and reading life to show love?