…the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which
the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. Kurt Vonnegut
This is the second in my series on creating community. In this post, I’m featuring the Cincinnati Writing Group I was invited to join in 2010. Writing is such a solitary activity, it’s important to get together sometimes to break our isolation.
Back row: Jennie, Kate, Lynn, Jean
Front row: Linda, Gary, Isabelle
Two years after semi-retirement, I had a cancer experience. The year before had been a tough one. Three members of my family died within seven months of each other. I read in O. Carl Simonton’s book, Getting Well Again, it’s not unusual to develop cancer after suffering a significant loss. Fortunately for me, I had a highly treatable form, lymphoma, and have been in remission for over five years. During the time of treatment, I kept my friends up-to-date on my progress through the Caring Bridge site.
Two of my friends were in a writing group that had been meeting for several years. A couple of their members had moved away and they were looking for a couple more. One day I received an e-mail from Jean, “You’re a good writer. We’d like to invite you to join our writer’s group.”
They knew my friend, Kate, also a writer. When Kate heard about my invitation, she wanted to join, too. So, once a month, Kate and I head for Cincinnati, join the group, and usually have a bite to eat afterwards before heading back home to Dayton.
We are not a critique group. We choose a topic and the seven of us write a couple of pages and bring it to read to the group at our next meeting. It is amazing the diversity of approaches to our topics, ranging from humor to philosophy to poetry. We all write with a self-reflective component focusing on our spiritual growth. Some of our topics include:
Reflections on Aging
What my Soul Tells Me
What is my Element?
What’s Right about Me?
What Surprises Me about Myself?
Where am I Headed?
What Stops Me?
Since I’ve been nearing the end of writing my memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, I’ve expressed a need for more feedback about my writing.
Our Cincinnati group met last week Friday and I read my piece on our topic: What Christmas Means to Me in 2014. Immediately after I finished reading, the positive feedback began. What I heard is…
Your writing is really improving.
Your piece is coherent.
You took us on a journey with you.
Your theme is clear throughout.
You are really honest with yourself.
And when I mentioned not being able to write in the poetic way some authors do, Jean, who teaches memoir added, “I think your piece is poetic.”
Wow!! As you can imagine, this feedback brought a smile to my face. It gives me hope that my story, which I know is a compelling one, is written well. The workshops and classes I’ve been taking are reaping rewards.
It gives me great pleasure to be learning new skills in retirement and to consider myself a life-long learner.