Poets & Writers

You Are Not Alone

IT IS often said that writing is a lonely profession, but the truth is, I’ve never felt especially isolated. I used to think this had to do with my introverted personality, but that overlooks how for the past decade I’ve been in a writing group with two other women. I think I sometimes take for granted their impact on my writing life because they’ve been such a reliable source of support and encouragement. We meet twice a month, usually for two to three hours, and we discuss one another’s writing, at whatever stage it’s in. Whenever I mention this arrangement to other writers, they want to know what our secret is: How have we managed to stay together for so long? Sometimes I think it’s my most impressive literary accomplishment, although it feels more like dumb luck than a goal studiously achieved. Then again, maybe all literary accomplishments are mostly dumb luck—or, at the very least, good timing.

Originally there were five of us. We met in a Manhattan novel-writing class at the 92nd Street Y led by Joseph Caldwell. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Joe because it was his taste that brought our group together. I also feel grateful to the woman who called our first meeting, suggesting that we continue to get together after the course was over. To our surprise, she was the first to leave the group, but without her leadership, I doubt we would it unless forced to in a classroom setting.

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