Writing is a solitary experience. You never heard Judy Garland and Micky Rooney saying “Hey kids, let’s all get together in the dad’s barn and sit alone writing in our notebooks!” If they did, it would be a pretty dull movie.
That’s why it has been so delightful to meet other writers here at the Racine Arts Council. Even though we all work in different genres, the camaraderie has been special and inspiring. Although writers usually work alone, our common love of words and our universal desire to communicate brings us a lot of pleasure and a sense of community.
Because we understand that writing is so personal, we are kind and gentle with one another as we strive to help elucidate a thought, helping to make it more impactful, more concise, more universal.
Although the local writers that I have met work in many different categories, from poetry to science fiction to historical storytelling, we all have the belief that what we have to say is new and fresh. Taking a concept that you have nurtured from a tiny speck of an idea to a whole page (or chapter, or article, or book) is sharing a part of your soul. It is opening yourself up to discord, disagreement and disastrous diatribe. Even those who can’t write have an opinion about writing. No wonder that writers drink…
A simple Google image search about writing and writers would have you believe that the art of writing is as simple as sitting down by your handmade paper, with your Mont Blanc fountain pen and a frothy beverage upon which a barista has performed their foamy art. At the very least, there should be placed next to your quill pen a cup of organic tea in a china cup and saucer that will inspire you in ways both metaphysical and concrete.
The reality of the writer is that there is usually a warm half can of Diet Coke next to your six year old laptop. This Diet Coke may or may not contain rum depending on how close you are to deadline time. Your fellow writers understand the difference between the vision of the writer that we see in movies and the reality of the writer who struggles with relevancy and competence.
The writers that I have met these last six months have been among the smartest and kindest people I have ever met. They know when to encourage and when to chide; when to correct and when to praise, and most importantly when to say “You know what would help? A break for a glass of wine!”
Although I will continue my writing in a solitary form, I will be forever blessed by the friendship and selflessness of the writers that I know. They get it when I timidly put forth my soul’s wordy product for public scrutiny. They grok me when I am stuck for ideas or inspiration. They cheer me when I celebrate the small victories that come when you get it right. And most importantly, they know where to buy wine!