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The year of the writing groups 2015

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A group of writers together are like football players. They sweat together, kicking, balancing the football. Though I am naïve at football but I have witnessed matches at college and have seen the camaraderie, they share. Writers are similar. They don’t play in a field but they dodge their incomplete manuscripts with the others in the group, awaiting critique, sweating it out to write that perfect piece for their audience and though being disappointed at a poor performance, embracing a new day with wide eyes and a cup of tea/coffee/water (writers are getting health conscious, you know!)

In April, I discovered the group: Waukesha Open Poetry where we were to exchange poems. I have never moved out of my home town and writing for a new audience took me time as our culture and ideas are different. I finally decided to present a part of my culture and they loved it. They did dodge with the idea in their head, perhaps but they embraced me and soon, attending more meets, I learnt about pieces of their lives.

In July – August, I discovered: Milwaukee writers group. Oh! I trembled at the idea of being critiqued as I had only been at groups where we read our work and the critique in the brain seldom reached the tongue but here I was going to get slaughtered, I felt. However, I took my work in progress (wip). With Raj by my side, though slightly conscious, I felt a tingling feeling as I read the piece. This is how the critique works: You take six copies of one to two pages of your wip and give it to the members. As the writer reads, they go through it. As I began reading, I discovered a few mistakes myself on the spot but since everyone was having the paper, I couldn’t self correct it right then. But the writers were warm yet firm, critiqued the piece with interest speaking their minds. So whenever I attend the meeting, I ensure that my writing is crisp, yet there are time when I fail to discover things. Phew! Writing to sharpen the skill is a long, rough ride but I am sure the destination would be a felicity of writers.

 I also discovered my passion for nature, politics and the world around us. It reflected in my poems too. It was a euphoric feeling when I found the group: Sec-bad Poetry Club. The founder and I hit it off from the first meeting and we enjoyed speaking a few times. I attend their online meetings.

I realised that writers in India or in the US are almost the same: passionate and are waiting to read more and love variety. They welcome me with honest thoughts. I enjoyed all my sessions with them getting my work critiqued. I joined another group at the close of this year and it was equally wonderful: Just Write It. They write for 40 minutes and speak with each other for 10 minutes. Thus the group is also called 40 – 10. They repeat the activity (40-10) for three hours in a local coffee shop which serves great coffee. You can sit at home and write too but here you meet wonderful people here I met a police officer (woman) from Sweden who is now into playwriting – a 50-55 year old man who is writing a book for his parents’ 70th wedding anniversary(both parents are alive).

As the year progressed, I began understanding myself even more. Our culture and our roots make us and presenting it to others enveloped in stories is a wonderful gift to our native land. You discover so much of you when you are writing. Writing has always helped me in tough times. Overall, 2015 had been a life changing year: meeting new places, travelling to new cities: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Madison, Kansas City, St. Louis.

I would call 2015 – the year of discovering places, people, myself and learning the importance of writing groups.  And I look forward to an equally amazing 2016.

 Happy New Year, everyone!

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