Beth Sample serves as Board Treasurer for the Writers’ League of Texas. In her spare time she keeps BlogathonATX running as captain of logistics. The Writers’ League of Texas is proud to return for a third time as a BlogathonATX sponsor.
People often question the latter – community? Writing is a solitary art. We get lost in our laptops. We drain dozens of pens painting impressions on blank journal pages. We write and revise…and revise, and revise and revise.
We get to our best writing by peeling back the outer layers and getting down to the heart of the onion – or in my case, the center of the almond croissant – the juicy, yummy guts. Building a community of professional peers introduces us to new possibilities. We push one another to higher standards, expect more of our writing and share resources that elevate our craft to the next level.
I first attended a series of author talks at the Writers’ League in 1988. In this welcoming community I met writers of all genres – technical writers, screenwriters, novelists, travel writers, journalists, and textbook authors. Soon I was volunteering at events, later leading committees, and ultimately serving as president of the board of directors. What fueled all of these hours of volunteerism? My joy-filled love affair with the writer.
Years ago at a Kurt Vonnegut book signing, I stood third from the end in a slow moving line that wrapped outside the Harry Ransom Center. As we moved closer I had a reality fade-in: I was standing outside the building where Kurt Vonnegut was greeting fans. Then, I was losing my stomach in the elevator riding up to meet Kurt Vonnegut. Soon, I was perspiring outside the room where Kurt Vonnegut sat. I don’t recall my feet touching the floor as I walked into the room for my turn with Kurt Vonnegut.
He took my book and scratched something in black across the title page and held it up with a knotted swollen hand. Here, in the presence of this amazing writer, I couldn’t form a sentence. All I could do is grasp the book with both hands and squeak, “OH, THANK YOU!”
He looked up, studied me with a squint and a tilted head and smiled at me – an amazing bright grin. His eyes sparkled in delight. I felt bathed in sunshine. Then I shuffled on, letting the second from the last fan enjoy their moment with him.
I’ve always said that this was the day that I understood Beatlemania. I didn’t cry or scream. I did walk off in a trance. His stories had peeled back layers of humanity – exposing new ideas and depths of thought that I could never have experienced in the small community where I grew up.
It’s an honor to serve on the BlogathonATX steering committee and support our bloggers just as I continue to support the Writers’ League – the participants bring a delicious diversity of passions to the table. I look forward to following new bloggers who generate ideas that peel back the layers.
Of course, I’m always on the lookout for my next Vonnegut.
Check out the Writers’ League Third Thursday panels, classes and offerings at www.writersleague.org. Read our Scribe blog at http://writersleagueoftexas.wordpress.com. Follow @writersleague on Twitter.