Not so long ago, I wrote about community, about gathering together to shine a little light. Like families, some communities exist because of proximity, or a specific current urgency (an election, for example), or because of existing relationships, or because you fall in and they love you and keep you and why would you want to leave?
And then there are the families–and communities–that you build yourself, little by little, taking some risks, extending your hand and your heart-stained sleeve to other people you admire or want to know better, or who share your love of something essential, like words or art or music.
So this is how I find myself happily part of a new community, one that I am helping to build, along with my friend Shari, and our families and friends. We’ve called this community Literary North, and last Friday was its debut into society: a gathering with the purpose of sharing words and thoughts about community, resistance, persistence, creativity, and hope.
We put a lot of energy into this event. A few things didn’t go as planned (see also, freak snow storm that night, one presenter not showing up), but most of it went better than I could have imagined.
We filled the (beautiful) room with attendees. One talented musician played his own compositions while we gathered. Three brilliant, passionate, and generous authors shared their time, their words, and their thoughts with us all. There were slices of freshly toasted homemade bread, chocolate-maple-nut butter, blood orange marmalade, pastrami, hot herbal tea, and red dragon iced tea. There were hand-printed chapbooks and broadsides, handmade CDs, and hand-folded paper cranes. There were writers and readers, poets and storytellers, film makers and students, musicians and neighbors. And we were all there together, in the moment of creation, our own small community, warm against the bitter cold storm outside the door.
There were two happy little stars who had somehow constructed this beautiful constellation, star by star, around themselves. And who are, even now, tired but sparkling and dreaming about what happens next.