Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Slice of Life: In appreciation of writing communities

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

Many of us participate in the Slice of Life Challenge in March when we write every day. It's hard. We all know that. And at the end of the month, we're proud. We all feel that. And so grateful to Stacey for the vision she had to start this ritual over ten years ago. 

I completed my fourth of five 10-day residencies for my MFA in creative writing, and I have that same April 1st feeling but in an exponentially more intense way. For ten days, I shared a space and place with about forty other people who wanted to write, analyze, and critique books, stories, essays, poems, sentences, and words. Days began early, ended late--readings finished around 9 each night. Daily workshops went on for three hours in the morning, and if I took a break from afternoon seminars, I wrote. 

The Solstice MFA Program reflects its name. It changes lives. Meg Kearney is the director, and at the beginning of each residency, she impresses on all of us the importance of shedding any envy we have for other people's writing. "Fall in love with someone else's writing," she tells us in her opening remarks. She reminds us that when given the choice between being smart and compassionate, choose compassionate. "You're all helplessly intelligent, or you wouldn't be here," she says. Intelligence shows up when you're being kind. Our Solstice writing community is a well of energy, a source of intensity and creativity. 

I share this for two reasons. Maybe someone in this SOL community would be interested in the Solstice program--it works well for a teacher's schedule-- and also because I'm winding up for a thank you to this SOL community. Writers need energy--the magnetic spin of people in their world who share passions and understand why (or how) we sit down, sometimes more than once a week, and spin stories. Today as I write, I'm alone in my bedroom, but I'm not really alone since I know that when I hit publish, you'll be there. 

Happy Writing,


  1. Sounds like a beautiful "retreat". I love that advice...to love someone else's writing. It is so much easier to just go to jealousy, or to assume someone else will always be better. Are you nearly finished with your MFA?

  2. Wow. "Intelligence shows up when you're being kind." The world needs this on a ginormous poster. I'll at least put it up somewhere in my classroom.

    What an exciting journey for you! How much longer do you have to go?

  3. Like Lisa, I love the advice to love someone else's writing. It's such a positive, productive stance. Your master's program sounds intense and rewarding. Kudos to you!

  4. This sounds like a fabulous program! I love Meg Kearney's words about compassion. So important, and so lacking, these days!

  5. Sounds like an extraordinary program. What an exciting thing to do with your summer! I really loved this quote, "Fall in love with someone else's writing."

  6. Wonderful! I dream of doing a writing program like yours one day - maybe when my kids are older!

    1. You could do it, Beth. The time that we live there is not a ton and it goes by so fast!

  7. "Intelligence shows up when you're being kind." Such a nice way to be! I have to keep this in mind when unkind thoughts slip in! Your program and retreat sound lovely!

  8. I know how hard you have worked on your MFA. The more you put into the program, the more you get out of it. I am sure others were happy to have you there. I agree about this SOL community. It sustains me, and so many of us.