October 31, 2011. 11:30 PM
A girl, alone, in a polka dot dress, with brownies, sitting in the library’s cafe. Another girl approaches, and then a boy, and then several more people. Slowly the group builds to over half a dozen and they migrate to the periodicals room to sit in a big circle on the floor, eat brownies, talk about their hopes for the coming month, and then, as the clock turns to midnight, they write. They type frantically and they write until their wrists are sore but they all have over 1600 words. Some over 2000. This small group is beginning, or in some cases continuing, to write novels. They are future authors, current writers. How do you become a writer? You write.
This was the scene this past few hours in the cafe in the library basement on my campus. I baked us brownies. We sat together first at a table, making awkward small talk and eying other people who would join our group, then on the floor in a circle, which widened later to accommodate more. We had snacks, we talked about our plots, we began friendships that I hope will last past this stressful, tearing your hair out, month. We ate brownies. We wrote.
Writing is a deeply personal, and often lonely, process. Writers spend a lot of time in our heads. We live in our own little worlds, so having other people who are doing the same thing, and not just through the internet far away but right there, tangibly next to you, is an amazing experience. It’s validation, it’s cheerleading, it’s peer pressure. And being there, watching someone’s brain crank out ideas while yours does the same, is an emotionally intimate experience. Writing is lonely and deeply personal but by sitting on that floor and writing with others, I shared that writing experience. That experience and that connection is beautiful.