Writers are everywhere. You meet them in the most interesting and unexpected places.
Case in point: I met published author Tracy E. Banghart during my vacation on
Lake Temagami. Now, this is more or less the Canadian Outback. Not quite, but
close. The main town by the lake is one of those you-sneeze-you-miss-it towns
in which not a lot of people live year-round. Most are only there for the
summer. On the lake itself, only the myriad of small islands spread out over the
lake are inhabited. People spend their summers living in log cabins, most of
them without electricity. Showers are a luxury. The over 3000 miles of
shoreline are off-limits for building, mining or lumbering, which means the
main land surrounding the lake and town consists of forest, a paradise for
wildlife. It does get wilder and more remote in some areas, but this is like
the frontier to such places.
What I'm trying to show is that meeting another writer there by accident is a
bit like stumbling upon an elf in Moria, yet I did it. Someone on a neighboring
island knew of another islander whose author-daughter was currently vacationing
on the lake for not even two weeks. Two phone calls and a day later, I ended up
spending several hours with Tracy and her family. I had a great time. Our main
topic, of course, was writing and publishing.
It's so much fun to talk about writing with other writers. Non-writers get this
glazed look in their eyes after five minutes of listening to a writer yak about
her craft - which I understand, because unless you're involved in it yourself
in some way, it's rather boring. But when writers get together, we could gab
for days about this one topic that connects us. It's almost magical.
That's why writers groups are the coolest thing since the first word was ever
scratched onto a slab of rock. Writing in itself is a solitary experience, and
many - myself included - are terrified of others actually reading their
stories, because you always bare a piece of your soul in those words you
eternalize. Which deep down you actually do (you really desperately do) want
people to read - but only if they will like it. For which of course, there is
Only other writers can fully understand this terror. Or the fascination of the
written word in any way, shape or form. Or the sheer need to write, as vital as
the need to breathe. Or the frustration, the toil, the continual mental
flogging and tremendous exertion of will it takes to keep going after that
initial breeze of creativity and the wonder of the idea have passed. The small
triumphs that arise from persevering when motivation is scarce; the joy of
finishing anything, be it a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a book. Only
other writers can fully appreciate and share these feelings.
This, to me, is a miracle. It's something I couldn't even imagine until about
five years ago, when I joined my first online writing group, and then taking it
to a deeper level only eight months ago, when I joined my first local one. As a
direct consequence, I have begun actively seeking out the company of other
writers, something I simply never considered doing before. Meeting others who
go through the same trials, emotions, love is motivating, inspiring and has
given me a whole new focus.
It's such a simple thing, really, yet it has had an invaluable impact on my
life as a writer. That, to me, is the magic of meeting fellow writers.
By the way: if you enjoy Young Adult novels with sassy heroines and a touch of
magic, check out Tracy's book "By Blood". I devoured it in three
hours on the plane-ride home from Canada. Great read.