As a writer, I often relate to the flower that grows through concrete. Alone, abandoned, surrounded by foreign objects not related to my meager attempts.
When I use this analogy to describe the life of a writer, only a few will vigorously nod their heads. To no one’s surprise, they, too, are writers.
In December of 2013, my darling wife came across an article in the NWI Times newspaper that highlighted one of our local writing communities. I learned about the history, present, and future plans of that group and its members.
More importantly, I learned there actually was a local writing community. I must confess—I was a journalist for the Times for 15+ years and never knew there was a local creative writing community.
Therefore, I put my journalist hat on and conducted research. Here is what I discovered on my journey:
1) There are at least 10 active writing communities in Northwest Indiana and South Suburban Illinois.
2) Some of these writing communities are genre specific, some are great for beginners, and some are more detailed for experienced writers.
3) There is a community called the Indiana Writers Consortium that serves as an umbrella organization to help coordinate many of the other writing communities.
4) The Indiana Writers Consortium conducts classes, workshops, tutoring, and various other events.
During the past 18 months, I have become involved with many of these writing communities. They have been a tremendous help in guiding my creative writing career down the right path.
1) They have helped prompt me to write about specific genres and specific themes that I otherwise would not have attempted.
2) They have offered me the opportunity to share my work with other writers and receive quality critiques.
3) They have allowed me to participate in public readings at several venues in the area.
4) They have allowed me the opportunity to network with writers, publishers, and editors.
None of this would have been possible if I had not gotten involved with local writing communities.
“It’s like going to a shoe store,” one member told me. “You have to try on several styles and sizes to learn which one is right for you.”
Let’s face it; “Da Region” is not considered an artisan alley. Smokestacks and brown fields do not an inspiration make.
Yet, amidst our industrial existence, we can find sanctuary in pockets of poetry and prose. Just like the flower sprouting through the concrete.
Maybe the flower doesn’t really represent loneliness and abandonment. Maybe it’s a sign of the artistic beauty that one can find if they search hard enough for it. Perhaps the various writing communities are the flowers among the concrete of everyday life.
Enjoy the journey.