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Writers across the wires

I was pretty intrigued by this post from Mary Robinette Kowal’s re. using Google+ as a writers’ hangout. I love this idea. Plus, it’s the only interesting thing I’ve heard about Google+ so far.

It also reminded me of two other stories I’ve heard recently of writers connecting, despite geography or other conflicting needs:

1. Maxine Hong Kingston would rent a holiday house with fellow writers (veterans of war, in this case) in a partly-silent retreat:

Unlike academic settings where instructors critique students’ work, the veterans’ writing workshop is part Buddhist gathering, part silent retreat. About 30 members meet four times a year in Sebastopol, and spend the morning eating vegan meals, taking long walks and, as Kingston puts it, “just listening to what is there.”

After writing during the afternoon, some gather in the evening to read, others just to listen to the stories.

[snip] Since the Veterans Writing Group began, Kingston said she’s tried to disband it at least three times. [snip again] But each time she raised the issue, the veterans simply refused to stop meeting, and the wars kept coming.

“Finally,” Kingston said, “I told them, ‘Looks like we’re going to keep meeting for the rest of our lives.’ “

2. Anne Sexton would phone a friend, chat briefly, then leave the phone off the hook on her desk while she & the friend wrote in separate states. If they needed to talk or to be acknowledged or to hear a human voice, they’d shout into the phone. Apart from that, they wrote.

Got any others for me? I’d love to hear ’em.


“As Odysseus, the archetypical warrior, made his way home, he narrated his journey—setting off to war, waging the long war, coming home—to listener after listener. The story grew until, finally home, he could tell the whole tale and become whole. We tell stories and we listen to stories in order to live. To stay conscious. To connect one with another. To understand consequences. To keep history. To rebuild civilization.”

— Maxine Hong Kingston, introduction to the Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace website.