For ten years now, I’ve been privileged to belong to a talented, dynamic and diverse writing group. We’ve been a nest of fledglings, each trying to find our writing wings. Until the pandemic, we’d meet in person at our favourite local bookstore, McNally Robinson on Grant Avenue, here in Winnipeg. Now we meet twice a month via zoom. From fledglings to soaring eagles and everything in between we have supported each other as we practice becoming the writers we want to be.
And to carry this bird metaphor a bit farther, if I dare, we’re each turning into unique birds with different strengths, interests and directions. While the early bird might get the worm, we’re not all into eating worms and so we don’t judge or compare. We appreciate how fragile and sensitive birds and writers are to the elements of life and watch out for the sly, bad cat of doubt and defeatism that sometimes likes to stalk us.
Our group fluctuates at eight or nine members—each of us with different backgrounds and writing ambitions. We’ve got a hodgepodge of birds in our nest . . . although we might have all once looked like similar eggs. We’ve hatched, or are still hatching, into bold blue jays, noisy woodpeckers, chipper chickadees, or even shy sparrows.
This February, the month celebrating Canadian books, I’d like to celebrate the birds in my local writing nest. They’ve produced dozens of excellent books . . . from nonfiction to middle grade, YA and picture books, The Anitas have flown high. And we’re still flying. Seems like when one’s down, another is just becoming airborne and so we continue to look out for each other.
During February, this month of hearts, I’d like to share my appreciation to my writing support group. You’ve been there for me through the lows and the highs and I wish every writer the same kind of supporting nest that I’ve been graced to call my writing home.
During I Read Canadian Month, I want to highlight these books by some of my favourite Manitoba authors. Family of Spies, Coop the Great, Lost on the Prairie, Relationships Make the Difference, Enslavement, Hokey Dowa and the Snowflake Girl, Mr. Jacobson’s Window. And a shout-out also to a former member's YA book, Empty Cup.