If the online world sometimes seems both a blessing and a curse, this morning I know it’s a blessing because it connects me to other writers. In the real world, even. Like anything else, the more you sow the more you tend to reap. Writing comes first and reaching out does take effort, but it is SO worth it. I’m still a little high from a terrific book event I attended yesterday evening at Third Place Books up in Lake Forest Park. The event was part of She Writes Press spring book tour and featured Kamy Wicoff, author of Wishful Thinking; Leanna Lehman, author of Vote for Remi; and Celine Keating, author of Play for Me.
It’s a bit of a haul from where I live up to Lake Forest Park and Puget Sound traffic is a bummer. Also, the weather was dark and stormy. Before I left, it hailed. Hard. And there were a million other things I could have been doing, including putting my butt in my seat and writing a few hundred more words. But writers need to put some balance in their lives (at least I do, constantly) and they need to feel connected, because writing can be a lonely enterprise.
I was so happy to see a familiar face when I arrived — Louise from Hedgebrook, along with Bre, whom I had not yet had the pleasure of meeting. Pretty much everything Hedgebrookian brings me joy and of course there is a natural, sympathetic connection between She Writes Press and Hedgebrook. Finally meeting Kamy after reading and reviewing her book was a genuine pleasure. She, Leanna, and Celine gave delightful readings and of course I had to buy all three books. (An extra Wishful Thinking can’t hurt!) Writers are readers, too, and I imagine we all have tottering To Be Read piles, but isn’t that better than the alternative?
These warm, bright, and interesting women also know how to engage an audience! All of us (maybe 40 — I’m bad at estimates) introduced ourselves and shared what we were currently reading or writing. How much there is to learn this way! People were reading everything from mysteries to the sciences and writing about everything from nonfiction about serious illness to fantasy fiction. I was excited to meet the triple-threat writer, editor and instructor Lori A. May and hear about her book The Write Crowd, Literary Citizenship and the Writing Life (arriving on Friday, thanks to Amazon Prime).
Here’s to community and connection among writers. If you have suggestions for how to expand our connected universe, please do share them along with any other thoughts in the comments!
May 6, 2015 at 11:23 am
Your observations are right on the money. At a writers group I heard people read poetry about incredibly sad events in their lives and met a ninety year old guy who wrote a most interesting and joy-filled memoir. Having coffee with you pumps me up more than the caffeine. Scribble on!
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August 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm
Hi Suzanne. I really appreciate that nice comment from you on my latest entry. It makes me sorrier about such a tepid thank you (surprise, really). On the bright side, it’s an opening to acknowledge this post, which was the very first thing I read from your site months ago. Building up an archive on WordPress has been a rewarding creative outlet for me over time. I always thought of it as a fun experiment and it’s the first time I ever did something like this. But at the same time, I’ve flunked terribly at one of the main goals I had for myself from the beginning of my “project”- which was to gradually become part of a community of writers and photographers. A big problem for me is that I’ve always been deathly afraid of coming out as a writer or photographer, or not understanding where I fall on the spectrum of either. The idea of connecting with other writers for sharing and learning is intriguing to me. Hugely intimidating because I’m a layperson just about in the fullest sense. I’m excited about opening doors up for myself to other people who love writing. I haven’t done so well at WordPress, haha! But I’ve been working toward getting involved with someplace like Hugo House (which as a local person, I’m sure you’re familiar with). I just want to thank you for the inspiration- I’ve been realizing more than ever that connecting and sharing with other writers really is a logical step for me.
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September 1, 2015 at 8:48 am
Dear T. Fir — I’m glad to know you are tapping into a creative community. Hugo House has a stellar reputation and I expect it attracts many like-minded folks. I live about an hour and a half from Seattle so it’s not handy for me, though I do try to keep an eye on their class offerings.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think every writer, or at least every thoughtful writer (or photographer), struggles with revealing themselves. My underlying issues are along these lines:
1. People will laugh at me or think I’m such an amateur.
2. Compared to [insert any admired writer/photographer] my work is just plain not very good.
I suppose it boils down to fear, primarily of acknowledging oneself as a creative person and everything bad that could flow from that. My prescription for that is Elizabeth Gilbert and pretty much everything she has to say about creativity. She reminds us of everything GOOD that will flow from that, bless her.* Hope to visit with you again. In the meantime, let’s just keep doing the work.
*She uses a lot of social media. Her Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/GilbertLiz] is a good conversation and I especially like her podcast, Magic Lessons*[http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/magic-lessons/]
September 7, 2015 at 9:22 pm
Thanks for the recommendation about Elizabeth Gilbert, Suzanne. I’ll investigate that a little and see what I find for myself. Years ago, I enjoyed her book The Last American Man. Eat, Pray, Love is even on a bookshelf in our house- it’s not a book I brought home but now my curiosity is piqued a bit……
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