This first week of July is bringing some excitement into my life. About a month ago the local library teamed up with a local author, Julie Rowe, to start a writer's group. After the first meeting, Sunday Prose was born and it consists of a diverse group of men and women from Fort McMurray who are interested in many forms of writing, but they are all passionate about one thing, the written word. I had been spoiled back home, in Nova Scotia, as I had a strong group of women who loved sharing their work, their passion, and their friendship in a group that met upstairs in a grocery store. Even though we came from small rural communities, we came together in a central location and shared our ideas, did writing exercises and went to workshops together. Even though our ages ranged from 24 to 76 we were all connected by our love of writing. So when I moved to Fort McMurray five years ago, I knew that I would miss my group, and the friendships that I had formed back in Nova Scotia. I immediately signed up for a workshop with Julie Rowe, and inquired about a local group. Unfortunately over the years, it seemed that there was lots of interest, but it just never came together until just a month ago.
I was nervous the first day walking into the library. Would there be enough people there to form a group that would endure over time? Would I fit in, or would my writing fall way short of the expectations of the group? Would I have something in common with anyone there, or would I be the "outsider" who just never fit? But most of all, would I feel confident enough to eventually share my writing? Even though I have now been a paid writer for about eight years, I still have trouble sharing my work. People always laugh at me and think that I am joking when I say that, but it's true. Even though I have shared some of the more intimate details of my life in my column, somehow sharing my fictional work seems more revealing. And it is something that I continue to work on.
My fears were unfounded, and I felt an immediate connection with a few of the women in the group. I went home from the first meeting energized, and excited to be part of a group again that had this strange urge to put words on paper, or on page. I felt immediately like I once again was understood, I had the support of people who got why I sometimes get up in the middle of the night to scribble my thoughts furiously on paper. This week will see us challenging each other to write, polish and submit something to a publication. We will meet a few times and write, share and polish a piece that we have to submit or put out to the world in one shape or another. It will be exciting to see what everyone will come up with, whether it is a work of fiction, poetry or just a short story about their life.
And then the municipality added to my excitement when they announced that there were be a series of writing workshops over the summer entitled Writers Block. The program will run on Wednesday evenings, at the Haxton Centre, and will feature writers giving talks about everything from an introduction to the craft of writing, to a talk about blogging. For me, it feels like I am a kid in the proverbial candy store, and I can't wait to see what all this encouragement, critiquing and support will produce in the coming weeks. There are so many wonderful writers in Fort McMurray, and lately it feels like it is their time to emerge in the cultural landscape of this wondeful northern city.
For information on either of the programs you can contact the library regarding Sunday Prose, and for information about Writers Block, you can email the municipality at: firstname.lastname@example.org.