I live in a small town.
It’s not the kind of small where everybody knows each other, but everybody knows everybody’s families. It’s the kind of small where they once paid to re-do a census, because they just couldn’t believe the town hadn’t grown. (It hadn’t.) The kind of small town where people are quick to inform you we are not a small town.
We’re a small town.
And, as small town goes, this is one of the good ones. Nice to look at. Low crime rate. Good employment figures.
I’m not really a small town person. I happen to like the city stuff. University lectures, and art galleries, and bookstores. And writers’ groups.
I left my writers’ group behind (in an art gallery, btw) when I came here. And that was the last time I sat down with other writers in real, share a plate of brownies, real life.
Don’t get me wrong. There are writers, here. Probably more than I know about, and there are a lot that I know about. I’ve met one or two through work, and another one through Nanowrimo, and even my own next-door-neighbor (the one with the German Shepherd, not the one with the trampoline) is a writer. Not that it’s something we talk about.
There is not enough cohesion. Plenty of writers, but not enough to hold them all together in a regularly-scheduled, group-holding, critique-partnering community.
Some of us work odd hours. That’s me. Some of us work the opposite odd hours. One of us is a shut-in, or very nearly so. And then, there’s the genre issue. You know. The ever-present Christian/Erotica rift.
It’s interesting that in my previous writers’ group, somehow, all of that seemed to matter less. I think it’s because there were enough more people that there wasn’t a cliff to fall over. There were people to fill in the awkward silences, and sorta bridge the personality differences. And enough that one or two people not showing up didn’t result in somebody alone at the library.
I don’t know just where the “writing” end of things leaves off and the “social” end begins, but the less you have in common, professionally, the more “social” has to take over. And that’s pretty much where things break down.
Clearly, we need more brownies.