Sunday, May 4, 2008

Where have all my readers gone?

I like blogging, just wandering through my writing life, flashing a light on whatever thought seems most urgent or interesting as I start my day. But I do seem to be talking to myself. As my friend Ben says, we are in the communication arts, so what am I communicating? To whom?

According to Alison Hawthorne Deming (Writing the Sacred into the Real, Milkweed, 2001), " . . . a struggling writer needs not austere self-reliance but recognition and the companionship of like-minded others" (p. 49). I've copied that idea, like many others, onto an index card and put it in my growing collection of helpful quotes from other writers. If I don't have readers, I can be a reader for others, and keep their best thoughts close. The internet gives us the illusion of contact, but we need face-to-face contact with other writers.

For many years I have dreamed of a writing center where we could work and gather, casually, to talk about books, poems, writing projects, ideas and issues. Many years ago, friends in Shreveport took a good shot at this, creating for a time, McNeil Street Studios, a cavernous, dusty warehouse, in which we created space for writers, musicians, visual artists, and anyone else who needed "a room of one's own" and comradeship. It was backbreaking, frustrating, and wonderful to turn commercial space into artistic space. I wish we had worked harder, had more time and money, had more organization. But I leaned a lot there, and with a little luck (which we now call synchronicity) I can dream this center into reality. Stay tuned.

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