The town I live in is small--in population and actual size. A grocery outing is like the TV show Cheers: everyone knows your name, like it or not. One night each year during the holiday season, the town shuts down its main streets, sets up barricades manned by police cars with cheerfully flashing lights, and a huge tree, decorated by the elementary school children, is hauled in and set up right in the middle of one of the roads. There are lighted displays all up and down the street with pit fires burning brightly in the road so kids can roast marshmallows. The boutiques stay open late and serve hot cocoa and cider while people walk up and down the street, shivering in the chill and greeting each other warmly. It’s a real life Whoville celebration if ever there was one.
In a small town, no one is a stranger, unless, well, you really are a stranger. Whether it be in a church pew, the aisle of a grocery store or PTA involvement, we get to know each other. Once, on his way into school, my son’s car broke down. He putted and stuttered along frontage roads trying to make his way to the college where I worked so he could leave the car, and I could take him to school. By the time I got to work—and it's only about a 15-minute commute—I had three calls waiting for me on my work phone asking if my son was all right. People had seen his limping car and were concerned. One of the calls was from the wife of a local police officer. That evening, I reminded my son this ought to be a lesson for him: never try to get away with anything. I will know.
We are more than just a small town. We are a community--united by proximity, bonded by commonality and a sense of belonging.
The Writing Community
The writing community is a bit like my little town. The first week I wrote an article for She Writes, one of the members, Rebecca Forster, left a comment encouraging, “reach up for your dream but reach down to help someone climb.” That’s really what it’s all about, isn't it? We are a community.
In a profession that is rife with competition and where the economics of the supply and demand curve definitely weigh heavily in favor of supply, I have found writers to be extraordinarily supportive of each other.
After all, only another writer understands…
Sites like She Writes help facilitate the community of support. I can’t imagine having to take the leap without the encouragement of writers like you.
Some of us are farther along the path, published and seasoned in the world of words. Others of us are new, just starting out, with barely enough faith to believe in our own gifts. Let’s remember Rebecca’s words and as we climb for our own dreams, pause to reach a hand out to help someone else along the path.
I will make this commitment to you: if you add me as a friend, jot me a note or leave me a comment, I will personally respond. I will be a venting ground for your insecurities if you need it or a one-gal cheering squad for your triumphs and successes. I will read your posts and respond to your tweets. Let’s make 2013 the best yet at She Writes. Let’s reach beyond competition, jealousy or insecurity and be the community that helps each other along generously and freely. Because together, we can and we will…