Saturday, August 20, 2011

Augie Marches On

I'd been looking forward to finding out the One Book, One Chicago fall selection, especially after @1book1chicago has been playing a guessing game on their Twitter feed and Facebook page. They chose The Adventures of Augie March, and I was a little bit bummed because I've already read it. I really like participating in 1B1C. There's something comforting about knowing you're reading the same book as a lot of other people. In a city this big, a giant book club makes us all feel less like strangers because of a common, shared experience.
Augie March is a big book, in many ways, and this is the 10th anniversary of the program. So the Chicago Public Library is going all out with a huge line-up of programs and events, which I was thrilled to read about because I'll be able to do plenty of participating, after all. There will be a reading of the first chapter at Millennium Park. (Who doesn't love to be read to?) Twitter madness, of course (10 pages a day). And a flash fiction contest, which is definitely cheeky considering Bellow's writing amplitude.
Chicago is a city where great literature is not only created but also appreciated.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

WA (Writers Anonymous)

I'm starting to think of my writing group as a bizarro Anonymous-type support group. Yes, I have a habit, and my writing group supports my habit. I have no problem sharing details about my habit, and I don't apologize for it. Also, wine is by no means frowned upon. In fact, it is encouraged.
I met with my writing group recently for the first time in a long time. It's been a long time because life happens. We have jobs. And families. And we're just busy living life. Even during unproductive times, checking in with a writing group helps keep goals in sight. Sometimes that's all we accomplish, talking about projects or what's coming up next or just how we haven't had time to write anything. Sharing can be cathartic and prods us to go home and write, encouraged anew. And when we do have pages to read, the feedback and criticism we give each other is vital to improving each other's work. But even if I'm not writing, the support I get from my writing group helps my habit.
A writing group can be so good for your writing habit that some might advise against it. Over at Bill and Dave's Cocktail Hour, starting a writing group is their bad advice for the week.