Sometimes it seems as if the demanding details of day-to-day life swallow up my energy and keep me from the kinds of experiences that really feed me. And then there’s the third Thursday of the month, marked on my calendar in ink (no, it’s not going to get erased and replaced with any other obligation, thank you very much!). Writing Group. One of the focal points of my existence. And more fun than ever now that I’ve discovered the secret to my productivity: an impersonal setting devoid of internet access and domestic distractions (that would be Starbucks), equipped with awesome music, air conditioning and beverages on request.
The novel-writing process, from the seed of that exciting idea to the solitary work of actually getting it down on paper, is a long one. It is the monthly anchor of our group gathering that keeps me on track, going forward, writing regularly in spite of anything else that may get in my way and seem like an easy excuse to put it off.
Our purpose in meeting is to provide a supportive ear as we each take turns and read aloud our contribution. We ask for input and advice. But nitpicking writing mechanics and grammar is not part of the landscape. What has evolved over the past couple of years, in addition to our blossoming writing projects, are friendships that overlap our authorial pursuits. So much so that we’re planning a group field trip not unlike an annual holiday party.
I am thrilled to be writing so much, thrilled that my novel-in-progress (now 130 msp. pages) is truly a work-in-process and not just another idea itching to be realized. But what I can’t ignore, and what prompted this post, is the happiness that comes from these friendships. Ten months ago I launched this blog about my creative life. Recently I have noticed a common topical thread emerging in my writing here: friendship. In a time when it is so easy to be in communication with the world, but physically separate and detached from everyone, I think that I have found sweet pleasure in the company of others in like pursuits. Whether it be writing, beading, knitting, gardening, doll-making, quilting, photography, cooking, sharing tales of parenting and motherhood, and even exercising. This awareness, I would have to say, is one of the bonuses of writing. And I bet my friend Kathleen would agree.