I consider myself a rather solitary person. I enjoy my own company, and that of my dogs. It was interesting to me to realize then, how many communities in which I am in fact a participant.
I recently read Michael Crummey’s novel Sweetland – a wonderful book set in Newfoundland – and it made me think about the notion and the importance of community in my life. I belong to my family of course, then there is the neighbourhood (which includes a ‘Corner Gas’ kind of place where one goes for all the local gossip and news), a few different circles of friends (childhood, school, work, military) and affinity groups. In my case this includes a Writer’s Guild.
If asked, I would say that writing is a self-contained pursuit. When I immerse myself into a world of imagination, populated by characters I create, I have no room or patience for the interruption of living, breathing people. It was therefore a discovery for me as I participated in NaNoWriMo (a global challenge to write a novel in 30 days) to find how important my ‘writing buddies’ were to me. To receive their words of encouragement, to be able to sneak a peek at their progress as compared to mine and to get the writing tips and pushes from the ‘NaNo’ writing coaches – well, it all gave me a boost that I didn’t expect. And now that NaNo is done, I miss it. I had to send a note to one of my buddies yesterday to complain of my feeling of withdrawal.
As with Michael Crummey’s exploration of the idea that ‘no man is an island’, I have discovered something new about myself and, although perhaps it was already obvious to others (one of my book club friends recently said to me ‘oh, but you’re so sociable’) for me it’s somewhat of a surprise. My communities come with responsibilities, but the rewards are worth it, so to all my various circles – thank you for being in my life, and I treasure you all.
Speaking of the Writer’s Guild, one of my fellow authors is pursuing her dream of publishing a family memoir centered on her Finnish father’s war-time experiences. Check out her blog to read the interview with me about the journey of publishing, and to see more about Liisa Kovola’s writing:
Don’t forget that you can still order my novel in time for Christmas gift giving, either through amazon.com (avoid the shopping malls and bundle the purchase of my book with some other items for free shipping!):
Or through the website: http://rennydegroot.com/family-business/