I like to think my writing group met today – even though the advance of Hurricane Sandy kept attendance down to two of us. We even managed to speak of writing a little bit and even about the logistics of blogging. In reality, our mini-meeting was just a little bit of a day with the girls, and it was just what this gal needed.
I’ve been part of a writing group for the last five or six months – Hubbard Hall, a local community theatre and arts center in Cambridge, NY. Led by author Jon Katz, I initially came to the workshop with specific ideas about what I wanted to write and what I wanted to learn. I hoped that the year-long experience would be my long-coveted MFA in writing. It has turned out to be so much more than that for so many reasons, and today’s get together highlighted that once again.
From an educational standpoint, the Writer’s Project at Hubbard Hall has been an awakening for all of us. No longer do I call myself a wannabe artist or writer. I am now simply on a creative journey that will hopefully last a lifetime. And, as I read the posts of my comrades, I see the same exuberant embrace of this ideal permeating our increasingly tight-knit group.
That small, eclectic group of writers is the other, completely unanticipated, aspect of this project. Our first meeting was pleasant and friendly, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only attendee who worried that my work might not measure up. In the course of the last few months, however, this creative collective has conjured its own special magic. Wielding encouragement and hope, constructive critiques and glowing reviews, we banish anxiety and trepidation everyday online. Today, two of our number sat at a kitchen table and compared notes and shared the histories of our creative lives, and we banished it again.
The rest of the group was sorely missed, and we’ll meet again another weekend with the entire crowd. Assembling even the tiniest fraction of this group, however, was invaluable to me not only because it was a chance to talk about our work. For me, it was the first grown-up, face-to-face social activity I’d had in over a week of chauffeuring children to doctor’s offices and pharmacies when I wasn’t working at or setting the kitchen table. For me, the few stolen hours at that same table chatting and snacking with a new friend was just what the defense I needed against the dulling monotony that lurks at the corners of my very domestic life.