With all the bad news in the world today, it’s great to come together and be with friends. Last Saturday, I got to spend four hours with members of the Round Hill Writers, at our first annual holiday book sale.
What I like about writing groups is the diversity of beliefs and experiences of its members. We’ve got writers working in IT, teaching, enjoying life in quiet Virginia after a life of globe-trotting, running businesses. When readers stop by to chat, we hear all about their experiences as they relate in tangents to our writings. Looking at a copy of Freedom Forge Press’s Forging Freedom Anthology, a reader discussed the importance of freedom to her.
Another author, Dixiane Hallaj, has a series of books featuring Palestinian refugees–a timely topic. Maybe it was just the clement November weather, but somehow, being in a historic train station made the conversations that much more magical.
Writers come from all walks of life, with the sole uniting factor being our love of using the written word to communicate. But our different ages, different livelihoods (in addition to writing), and unique backgrounds make for interesting conversations. What I especially appreciated–in light of the troubles in Paris and elsewhere–is the way we can be civil even if we disagree on many things.
I truly believe we are not as different as we believe we are. It seems that our media and politics in general are meant to make issues so divisive as to place us into “camps” of “us versus them,” which is just the opposite of what we need. We don’t need black-and-white issues forcing us to rally behind one political leader or agenda: we need the ability to think critically and discuss issues, examining the complicated and nuanced elements of each and realizing, often enough, that points on both sides of the table are valid. It is only by coming together as individuals–rather than rallying blindly behind a politician or a rigid set of beliefs–that we can truly start to improve the world.
Pictures courtesy of author Sandra Stein. Check out her books on her Amazon page!