Short Story Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Groups

Taking a Page from the Past

Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Thornton Wilder & friends
Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Thornton Wilder & friends

I’ve always loved reading about the writers of the past, especially the relationships they had. It seemed that gender and age was of little importance in these bonds. And often times, Gertrude Stein’s salon played a major role in introductions. When Stein met Thornton Wilder, she had just returned to America after living in Paris for 30 years. She was 60 – he was 37. There was the friendship between Hemingway and Fitzgerald; Stein and Hemingway corresponded…

Of course, they were also rivals in many cases – but the fact that they still tended these relationships so carefully goes to show the importance that support and feedback from fellow writers offers. After all, who else can understand the dark moments of doubt and even the smallest successes better than another writer?

Click here for a cool little article about 11 other writer friendships

So, it’s always been a thought in the back of my mind how I wish I could experience something similar. I’ve started my own writing groups, joined existing groups and recently joined a few online at Facebook. But I never have found what I’m looking for, and I started considering cultivating a digital writing salon of sorts. Instead of just being a part of some huge FB group where people end up straying from topics to judge or ridicule each other, or local groups where sometimes only a few participate, I wondered if I could find two or three talented writers in different parts of the country, of the world really, and build a tiny community.

I threw an invitation out on one of my FB groups and soon had two responses that I felt good about. And just like that, I’m in Florida and have found two very talented writers – one in Wisconsin and the other in New Zealand! We’ve been communicating and sharing some of our work already, and both are open to turning the single communications I’ve been having with them each into a group forum.

I am so excited with the emails we’ve been exchanging already, and the stories I’ve read by these two women. Who knows what will come of this, but I’m definitely encouraged by the possibilities.

It’s important to get what you need as a writer, and if you can’t find it – go out and create it. Find the people who will be there for you, the people who will tell you when your writing is good and when it needs more work. Find people who are willing to share not only their writing, but also their lives – because after all, it’s the fabric of our lives that ultimately guides the pen one way or another.

write on…


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