A few months ago, it was determined between some writer friends that we should have a writer’s group to encourage, cheer on, and otherwise kick each other in the chairwarmers.
So yesterday afternoon, said members of our newly formed writer’s group showed up at my door bearing food…lots of food. As one member put it, “We meet to eat.” And so we ate.
Because the group is so new, we’re still figuring things out. This was only our second meeting, so some of the members we were meeting for the first time. We still have members who we haven’t yet met in the flesh. One member actually posted an 80-page “short” story the day before the meeting. <ahem – profuse apologies> And we seemed to have trouble getting down to business and staying down to business. So we definitely have to work out some clear ground rules for our little club.
However, all that being said, I wanted to highlight a phenomenon that seems to occur whenever we all get together, whether it was at our college creative writing class where most of us met, or in these meetings. And as far as I can tell, none of us are isolated hermits living in caves, cut off from civilization.
But seeing us together, you might think so. Something pink and shiny happens when we all come together. Frankly, we geek out a little bit. Okay. We geek out a lot. And I love it. It’s just happy, happy, happy energy.
There are arguments for and against the effectiveness of writer’s groups, but I gotta say, nothing beats hanging around people who share your obsession. For someone who’s not a writer, listening to people talk about word choice and diction, pacing and tone, revision and dialogue probably sounds a bit like torture.
I understand. I’ve been caught between two beer brewer nerds discussing the superiority of IPAs as compared to straight lagers, wishing someone would knock me in the head with a beer stein to spare me all the hoppy details. So fair enough.
The thing is, beer brewer nerds tend to enjoy their obsessions in the company of other beer brewer nerds while brewing and sharing their work. Writers, on the other hand, unless they’re collaborating, are solitary creatures. We work in the spaces between our children’s waking hours, work meetings, household chores, and the like. We work alone. And for the most part, when someone enjoys our work, they’re reading it on their own.
You’ll notice on PBS, they’ve got these art shows where you can sit with your mouth slightly agape and watch some guy transform a canvas of cerulean blue into a stunning mountain scene with a few well-placed swipes of his No. 1 brush.
You’ll also notice that there are no shows on television that feature some poor schmuck sitting in front of the computer, absently picking at their face or chewing on the ends of their hair. Small wonder. (Pity though. Misery loves company. I might enjoy that show.)
So when we get a chance to come together, to share feedback and reaction to each other’s work, to commiserate and share, I swear it’s like a holiday party. We’ve already got our next date set. It’s good times with good people, good writers. And I’m sure all of us have given thought to what we’re going to bring next time, prose-wise and culinary-wise.
I’m bringing beer.