For many years now, I have been a solitary writer. Recently, a more focused desire to get published has brought me out of my literary cave in search of other creative writer types, not only with which to network but also with which to compare notes, collaborate, get feedback. For a long time, I hadn’t realized I needed this interaction. I was content to hammer out my texts in the bowels and darkness of my cave, torch light flickering and throwing up the shadows of my fancy along the rough-hewn walls.
Last night, I sought out the fellowship of a writer’s group in Plano. They are a relaxed, diverse group of writers all in various places along their writer journeys. One woman read her short, breathy poems a few poignant images, another read fan fiction, and one older man read a powerful modern fable.
As for myself, I read a few poems, some old and some new. Afterward, we stood around, doling out compliments and discussing our writing. And I came away utterly refreshed and invigorated. It hadn’t mattered that the writing I read went uncritiqued. I had been a part of something connective, something important.
That night, before I went to bed, a story began in my head. But as I lay in bed, seeking the solace of sleep, the story wrote itself in my head, insisting, insisting. For the next five hours, I tossed in my bed, as this story refused to leave me alone. Specific prose played over and over in my thoughts. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, I got out of bed, realizing if I didn’t write it down, it wouldn’t leave me alone. And so I did.
Being a writer is not always by choice, but it is often an immensely satisfying calling. And sharing that experience with others, when you’ve spent so many years in the cave, is nothing short of revitalizing.