Returning on Wednesday night from another Open Mic reading, I was musing about how much my life as a fiction writer has changed in the last few months. I can pinpoint the moment it began: when I attended my first meeting of the SF/Peninsula Writer’s Club on May 21, 2011.
What changed? At that moment, I allowed myself to become part of a community. I find it odd that for all the years I have been writing fiction and poetry, I forget–again and again–the value of community. I was aware of it during college, when I craved the feedback (even the red marks) of my professors and the reactions of my classmates. I even sought it out many years ago when I first moved to San Diego, joining a fiction writing group there.
But since that brief stint in San Diego 20 years ago, I have toiled alone. Perhaps it was because other communities consumed me–the community of Silicon Valley marketers, the community of new parents, the community of birth workers–or perhaps something was holding me back.
Whatever the case, I am grateful to have rediscovered the community of writers. At the Open Mic, I heard wonderful pieces by poet Ethel Mays, Dianne Moomey, Wendy Walter, Keith DeFolo, and Open Mic organizer James Hanna, among many others. All so different from my own writing, and yet connected by a common love of story and language.
It’s nice not to walk this road alone.