It’s election season. And you know what that means. Lot’s of people talking smack about candidates, and trying to persuade me to vote, give money, participate, belong, think about the future, just doooooooo something. And it’s true. I should do one or all of those things. After all, isn’t the entry fee to any society the participation in their events?
As I was pondering this deep, philosophical point, I got distracted by an idea on how to create a light saber for my daughters Halloween costume (she’s going to be Yoda) and then I pondered lunch, then work, then I wondered who was in charge of Princess Leia’s hair on set. Was there a hair wrangler? By the time I made it back to democracy, I had clearly demonstrated how easy it is to NOT perform my civic duty – simply get distracted by life. Which led me to wonder, is connecting with the writing community difficult for the same reasons? Do writers miss out on connecting in person, on being a literary citizen, because… Star Wars?
Probably not. My reasons for occasionally not participating in the greater writer community, aren’t generally because I’m building a death star. (Although, really, death star’s take a lot of time, so jeez, get off my back Emperor.) My reasons for not participating usually looks more like this comic from The Oatmeal.
The original entry fee to the writing community, the one I paid when I was quite small, was to read, quietly in the privacy of my own home and then write something, usually a bad something. I have paid that fee about 16million times over. But progressing in one’s writing career means paying a different kind of fee. You must talk to people – actual people – as opposed to the fictional people I usually talk to.
I recently participated in my local Lit Night, put on by Creative Colloquy. Each literary night, allows time for a roster of readers, and then some open mic time. The Colloquy group is incredibly supportive of writers and encourages an atmosphere of positive support. Participating reminded me that actual people aren’t that bad, and that listening to others works gives perspective on my own. My political party of choice, might Introverts Unite!, but being with other writer’s does give me the warm glow of community that is hard to achieve from my couch. So, if you have the urge to be a literary citizen, I recommend paying the fee – go, interact, don’t build a death star. You’ll have a good time, I promise.