I feel like a failure when I recall the demise of at least five of my groups: two Libertarian Societies (one high school, one college), “Among Friends” (a correspondence group of mutual support for women), a Townhall Meetup, and ALEEC or the Adult Learning and Extended Education Council I got established as dean at my university.
I’ve started another group, though! On July 6, we’ll have the fourth meeting of the Fort Valley Writers Meetup @ St. Luke’s. Our reason for being is to make ourselves write and write more often. I enjoy being able to share some of my skills as a creative writing instructor, but the group is informal, not a class. And this Meetup is my way of contributing through my church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, to the community.
The best group I’ve ever belonged to was the Poetry Group in Macon, started by my good friend, Adrienne Bond, who no longer is with us. The other members have moved on in their careers--like Jud Mitcham and Bob Kelly, moved out of town--like Mike Cass, or passed away--like Seaborn Jones. I learned from all of them—things like writing concisely, writing sturdy lines with enough beats to the line, using precise images and word choice, and striving for subtle humor. If Adrienne had not made the move to start the Poetry Group, our lives would not have been as rich.
I hope our new Meetup group lasts a long time. I’m not going to let myself feel like a failure if it doesn’t though. We realize, in 2016, that change is constant. If your heart tells you to start a group, the risk is insignificant, and there will be rewards.