Yes, this is a familiar theme for me. I love writing and I love being with people. I know, accept, and am comfortable with the duality of my writing life. I am completely at ease ensconced in my oversized chair reading the draft of a piece of writing on my laptop. Coffee mug at hand and my office blinds open to the blue sky of the Southwest. This is the solitary creative life that has been endlessly satisfying for me for the last nineteen years.
The other part of my writing life is a connection with other authors. I’ve written about events I set up for Tucson/Green Valley/Marana writers to gather physically with each other: Writers Lunch, the Eastside Writing Room, and Writers Read. These real life connections provide a social interaction on a level that is both intellectually and emotionally stimulating. I always drive home from writing events with my head filled with new “seeds” for stories.
Now my latest enjoyment is connecting in print. An example, you ask? My original hometown writing group, the Write Group of Montclair New Jersey, published a 2016 Sampler of member submissions. The unifying theme is that we are all Write Group members. The official contract has author rights retained under the direction of Hank Quense; any copy edits the author missed were taken care of by able beta readers and editors. Having my essay “Awesome is the New Okay and Other Obsequious Responses” accepted was a literary boost to keep my writing “out there” and widening my circle of writing connections.
Here’s the “being in the company of writers” part. I was a charter and active member of the Write Group from 1997 until 2009 when my husband and I relocated to Tucson. I stayed on the mailing list, went to meetings (of which there are 30 each month, different topics and genres) when I went “back East” and even did a Skype visit.
When my copy of this 2016 Sampler was in my hands (well, on the computer), I felt that connection with my New Jersey colleagues. Memories along with their current stories came flooding back.
I discovered I have common ground in teaching with Donna O’Donnell Figurski, who also is now in Arizona. Cover artist and writer Nancy Taiani’s artwork also hangs in my office. The polysyllabic and picture painting phrases of Bing Chang’s poetry remind me of the sincerity of this talented writer. The lilting hypnotic fragments of phrases from Garlanda Washington’s piece take me back to hearing her read at Write Group Open mics. Reading Ron Bascombe’s “What If” I can almost hear the rich rumbling of his voice. Smiling as I read Ron Badagliacca’s “My Wife Thinks I’m Crazy” I am sitting at the ‘café’ of the Write Group’s Open Mic on a Sunday afternoon. Reading my 2016 Write Group Sampler anthology closes that 2400 mile gap from Tucson to Montclair quite nicely.
Look for ways to connect with writers.
You don’t have to be from Montclair to enjoy this rich potpourri of writing samplings. From the press release: “… The purpose of publishing the Sampler is to showcase the talent and versatility of the members. Thirty-nine writers are published in this Sampler, some of them for the first time. The Sampler has works in a number of categories including essays, fiction, memoirs, poetry and even a monologue.
The Montclair Write Group Sampler 2016 is a free download. from Smashwords and is available in a number of ebook formats. You can download it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/463737
Re your concise and witty essay, “Awesome is the New Okay……..” in the Sampler, it prompted me to consider content vs context not only in writing but within our culture as a whole; so, I ask myself why, over time, does the meaning (content) of a word change so drastically within the context of our society? How does a word with a once negative connotation such as ‘awe’—a sense of dread, terror, or profound reverence tinged with fear—now have a positive spin? Advances in communication must matter, but how interesting it would it be to find examples of content in which this change began (Google it?). Thank you, Ethel, for your marvelous little ditty! I continue to enjoy and admire your ability to ‘say it with a smile.’
Joanne, You have a very rich interior life. The comments you leave me give rich food for thought. The evolution of words in our culture is a fascinating subject. Consider: gay, bad, dig as in “dig it,” cool, other slang and phrases. If you are interested in that kind of word “play,” pick up any book by Mardy Grothe.
His lists of words and repartee phrases are always accompanied by the historical origin, I also get his newsletter. https://www.drmardy.com/about