TORONTO, ONTARIO: People come and go. Places don’t stay the same. Perhaps I’m getting older, or just lazy, but I feel my different worlds – may they be professional or personal – are getting smaller, yet at the same time becoming immensely more valuable. In regards to writing, which is viewed as a solitary pursuit, the notion of being part of a community is quickly becoming a necessity. I guess everyone’s initial view of community is family. The time where you find your feet and get a glimpse into where you are in this strange world.
The first time I really felt part of a community outside of family was going away to university. It’s really where I discovered writing, filmmaking and met other creative people. Coming from a ‘math and science’ high school, this experience opened all kinds of doors.
After university, I worked for a few years, but largely wrote in solitude. Both in the act of writing and also the pursuit of readers. It’s difficult to get people to read your work if you don’t show it to anyone.
Two things happened: I started to coach figure skating and I joined a writing group. Coaching doesn’t seem related to writing but it is simply because it isn’t. I had – and continue to have – the opportunity to work with some wonderful and talented people. And the kids! They certainly keep you on your toes. I could shut my ‘writer brain’ off (which can get quite noisy), be active, work collaboratively with my colleagues and have fun with the kids. I was welcomed.
The Black Horse Press writing group has been integral in my professional development. I joined up through a friend about a year and a half ago. The group is a diverse gang of writers and every month we share our short stories, novels and poems. Black Horse Press continues to be important in gaining confidence in my writing and reading out loud. Besides all the business, what a great bunch of people I’ve gotten to know personally and who I’ve come to call my friends. They’ve been my first true writing community.
I’ve discussed in previous posts my experiences at the Humber School for Writers. The writing world continues to expand. I met a bunch of other anxiety-ridden authors insecure about their work and how it would be received. We were all so excited at the opportunity to find each other.
Enough about my communities. This word has many interpretations and means something different to everyone. What does it mean to you?