The passion here is writing, of course, and the topic of the evening is writing groups. Or, more specifically Mythical Writing Groups That Don’t Actually Suck.
This post on Miss Snark brought back some unpleasant memories, you see.
When I was a delicious little bebe, I kept trying to join a writing group. The first one, in high school, fell apart due to apathy and gossip.
The second one, a local community thingie, was populated by horrible, horrible people. One was a convicted felon, very boastful of his past, who had a habit of trying to pet my knee when he talked. I was fifteen, and very frightened, as was the friend who came with me. Another guy in that group wrote long soliloquies about wanting to pop Viagra and get laid. A third one fell asleep and snored.
The women were generally better, but we were all essentially drowning in the mis-placed testosterone of a bunch of guys that thought that if they joined a writing groupd, they would get to meet all these buttoned-down, secretly shameless sexy librarian types who are all dying to read a few quick lines of Shakespeare by the moonlight before getting down and dirty. I stopped going after a handful of meetings.
I joined a writing forum for a while, but things there became ridiculously politically correct and frighteningly structured. If you were a woman, writing about a female character, and happened to mention something about “breasts” or “underwear,” you were taken to task for being “perverse” or “romance-novel-ish.” Right. Bugger that idea.
Last fall, I took a very helpful writing class in creative nonfiction. For the first time, I saw the way in which a proper writing group ought to operate. But now that I live outside the confines of the university, I am frightened to venture out to the bookstores and community centers in search of a writing group I can call my own.
Are there any normal ones out there? Hello?