The Challenge for Writers–Solitude Versus Community

The Challenge for Writers–Solitude Versus Community

It happened again; the magic of creative people gathering together to do what they’re driven to do, spending their days in concentrated work and gathering at the end of the day to share, give feedback, and be their authentic selves. It truly is magic.

I met three women while I was at my writer’s residency at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony last November; Heather, Trissy, and Holly – two writers and a musician. Holly was writing a score for a film and also working on her first album of original compositions for piano. Trissy, a teacher, was working on a novel with a truly exciting plot tied up with nature, and adventure, and whales. Heather, also a teacher, was working on a collection of poems. Her first poetry collection has already been published in Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems.

The three of us texted each other in the afternoons from the creative solitude of our cottages to arrange meetings at the end of the day at Sunset Point; a small clearing at the end of a short path, where we sat on our carry-chairs, wine and snacks in hand, and discussed our lives and work while the sun sank behind the mountains and the wineries faded in the dusk.

On our last night, we put together a communal meal on Holly’s porch; Holly went inside to the grand piano and played bits of the film score and her solo piano compositions for us through the open window; an offering of pieces ranging from dreamy to jazz. Trissy, Heather, and I read from our writings. Heather did an improvisational scat session based on one of her poems while Holly noodled on the piano. We broke away laughing into the night, our flashlights dispersing in the dark.

A few weeks after our time together, Heather shared this poem she wrote while at Dorland; such a beautiful expression of what it is to be a writer, who, despite her craving for solitude, needs the community of other writers. She gave me permission to share her poem with you: 


A flash of blue jay out my writing
window, my eating window, and two
blue jay flashes out the bedroom
as though a lover had been sleeping
had been in my bed all along
or are the jays reading my dreams
so they place two of us in the bedroom
and just me everywhere else? Balance
of bonding with another and with the self
appears to be a prominent puzzle in the lives
of everyone I know. Too much solitude
and lonelines consumes us. Too much
shared time and we drown
like overstuffed birds. Spoil
like quiche leaking excess cream.
And then there’s the matter of blue
jay community we might forget we need.
A jay mates for life but also belongs
to a flock. I forget the value of the flock
and my place in it until the joy of friends
reminds me, until the oak grove reminds me
the beauty of the collective, the offering of acorns,
and the blue jays that spread these seeds.

~ Heather Eudy

P.S. If you’re a writer, or want to be a writer, and you’re looking for inspiration, support, and community, we have a few spots left in our virtual writer’s groups in 2022. Click here to learn about the three different writer’s groups we’re hosting.

Click here to read about the Writer’s Colony,
the Writer’s Craft Workshop, and the Writer’s Beehive

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