'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

Writing Communities

photo credit: Cappucino

I've just returned home from two meetings: one with my writing group buddies and another with a writing friend from a previous writing group. Both meetings filled me with ideas and inspiration. It is wonderful to sit and have cups of tea or coffee with those who talk the same language, who know about the ins and outs, joys and hardships of writing, sending out work, of acceptance and rejection. And today the talk proved as good as always, and with the specific concerns and new tidbits of information: which tv programs are worth tuning into, new websites and competition deadlines, agent updates, an adaptation of a bestseller to a film, applications for new jobs, finding time to write when you have children.  One friend has recently started to use Twitter and is loving the connections it brings. Another is brushing up a synopsis for her third novel. I sit in wonder at both the idea of a third novel and at putting oneself out there on Twitter!  My other friend is wrestling with revision of her novel while also editing work for an anthology.  All in all I felt inspired by their work and continuing commitment to writing. 

I don't find it easy to stay indoors on a day like today, one which falls in a line of days where the mist and fog and low-hanging cloud creates a damp and dim autumn. Indoors one has to switch on lights that normally only go on at dark.  I feel moody and itching to get out when I'm in the house in day time with lights on.  It's as if something doesn't quite fit.  And today I was fortunate to have meetings with colleagues I also call my friends. A chance to meet in kitchens and cafes. Friendships that have formed over a decade or more of tussle with words and editing, characters and titles and all the technical elements of the prose and poetry we write.  Today my offering was a stack of poems, a shortlist of pieces I dug out to share at a reading I will be doing next week.  It was fruitful to sift through pieces and talk them over, to talk about why or why not I might want to structure a reading to include newly-written work.  As always, the discussion proved to be part of the process and I came home feeling supported and guided by my fellow writers.

My writing community is invaluable, so much so that at one point in my life it was the only thing keeping me resident in the geographical location I found myself in.  The community I have built around me has become solid and full. In pairs, threes, quads and larger groups, we have allowed for a space, for each other to share work and to watch it change and shapeshift into the finished pieces we then send out into the world. We allow for connection and through connection, the building of a commonly-held and much needed community.