Writing Takes a Supportive Community
“The places where we are seen and heard are holy places. They remind us of our value as human beings. They give us the strength to go on.”
Rachel Naomi Remen
Living with our friends on Butterstone Farm was comfortable.
So comfortable that there was no sense of urgency to purchse our own place. Then, our friends decided to sell. With the sudden rise in the boomer/pandemic-puffed-up market, and lacking the resources to buy, my husband Gregory, a house designer and carpenter, decided to build us a tiny house.
Just as he was starting to frame heart house (our name for the tiny cabin on wheels), he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The symptoms—tremoring arm, stiffening fingers, uneven walking—had shown up a few months before, coinciding with the onset of the pandemic.
Try to hold onto a hammer when your arm is wobbling uncontrollably
and your fingers aren’t able to grip the nails or the handle.
No matter how hard Gregory worked, there was still so much more to do.
His long summer days labouring were only yielding minimal visible results.
Realizing there was no way heart house would be ready to move into
after leaving the farm, we had to make some difficult and quick decisions:
First, find a place to park heart house where Gregory could work at it slowly in his own time.
Second, find a place to park our bodies and souls in the meantime.
After yet another stress-full, sleep-less night, I sent out two SOS emails.
Within a few hours, we had strong possibilities for both…
As human beings, we are sometimes given what feels like way more than we can handle.
Fortunately, as the saying goes: what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
As you all know by now, we have landed in a great place and are thriving.
So how did we do it?
With the help of a supportive community
of friends, family, folks we’d known for decades
and those we’d only recently met.
And what have we learned?
We need each other to flourish.
This is what I have also learned as a writer and writing mentor.
It takes a community to support a writer.
But not just any community.
It takes a community that is open, welcoming and non-judgmental,
a community that values authenticity and uniqueness
and celebrates diversity and inclusiveness.