Many moons ago when I first seriously gave thought to writing, I trawled the internet looking for other writerly folk to connect with. I also looked for publishers and agents, convinced that by leaving bright witty comments on their posts I would ensure my rise to everlasting fame. The truth is I have made some very good friends within the writing community but conversely, over time, it has become less important to impress and more important to maintain relationships on a genuine, meaningful level.
One of the most fortuitous meetings I've encountered has been through Women Writers on Facebook and a splinter group which developed from there. The splinter group, which is smaller and far more intimate is worth it's weight in gold for the knowledge, humour, wisdom - and above all - trust, that has evolved between us. None of this happened overnight of course but through a culmination of time, patience, tolerance and respect. True friendship, like metaphor, cannot be forced. We share snippets of our work. We also share problems and stories of our lives. Intimate, precious gems unearthed and shaken out for the greater good so we might grow as people and as writers.
We herald from far flung corners trailing a rich, diverse history and cultural background. Each one a jewel forged by her life experience. There is strength and honour in being part of such noble company which does not impeach upon autonomy but rather welcomes that very quality with open arms. Above all, we come together to learn and exchange ideas and have become a fellowship of sorts. A tradition normally confined to the romance associated with smoking jackets and secret gatherings in upper rooms.
Our room is not upstairs, nor is it down but exists in a virtual form which is again fortuitous because this room can shape-shift between the solid and the imagined to become anything we want it to be. For me it takes the form of a Bedouin tent filled with sumptuously soft cushions, drapes and a scattering of opulent rugs.
Not all of us share the tent space at the same time. Like the room of requirement it's there when... well, required, at any time of the day or night. If one of us calls for assistance someone always emerges like a travelling Muse from the desert storm. For there is magic at work within this place. Magic and empowerment.