Virginia Woolf talked about a room of one’s own. Every writer, I think, needs a group they can call their own.
I’ve been absent (for nearly six weeks!) from the writing group which has become like a circle. It’s a circle around what I write, around my thought processes, around that which I categorise as my writing world. It’s odd to realise the length of my absence as I drive the forty five minutes into Dublin city centre trying to figure out what I will actually write. I have no idea as even since my week of wonderful intense writing at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig in early July I’ve been jumping from thing to thing – or put more precisely from story to story and back to novel.
So when I arrive and we’ve said our hellos and I keep on talking about the summer as if it’s a thing of the past and I’m reminded that it’s not over yet – of course it’s not! – I sit and flick through files. The mouse moving at speed, words spinning by me.
I’ve come back for the chips, a fellow writer commented. And I laugh thinking that he’s not wrong. I had a little ritual of my greasy, salty chips (memories from my teenage years wandering around Dublin) from the fast food place on the corner. I had the habit of thinking as I ate them, blowing them even when they weren’t hot, the salt nearly killing me but loving it all the same.
I made a decision today which revolved around a verbal recognition of what constituted the core of not only what I do but who I am. It was something that had been nagging at me for weeks. A decision which, on the surface, had nothing to do with me whatsoever and involved performing a particular role. The deeper I dug, the clearer it became that what we do in our lives – whether we want to acknowledge this or not – constitutes a large part of who we are. And to be happy we need to have the core of ourselves centred in this.
So I have come back for the chips.
And the bits. And a space where the silence of writing is free save for the tapping of keyboards, the flick of a page, the sigh of either desperation or excitement. (but it doesn’t matter which!)
And the knowledge that you can share – if you want to – and where give and take are part and parcel. And I think that the name on this group Circle is so acurate that I can’t ever imagine not keeping this going in my life: the movment, the chips, the drive, the thoughts, the space which is nothing other than about writing.
And of course the encouragement.
Many of us may have a room of our own but being part of a group or a circle of people who have writing at their core keeps the clock, the pen, the keyboard and the heart ticking over.