Friday, March 7, 2008

We are family...I got all my writers with me

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a former writing colleague of mine. She had mass e-mailed most former students from the Professional Writing program at the University of Toronto. I learned that another one of our former classmates had just suffered the loss of her home caused by a fire and that her mother and brother were in the hospital.

People responded to that e-mail with such warm words in an effort to show our friend support. That e-mail restored my love for that program and its students. From the first day of my first professional writing class, I felt a strong connection with everyone. Yes, everyone. My favourite professor assured us all that long after graduation, we would always be there for one another. "The writing world is one of community," he would always say. Gone are the days of the "hermit" writer. On the contrary, powerful writers know and value the need for human connection. After all, it is this connection with humanity--all its beauty and flaws--that shines in our writing.

Even after graduation, we care. We care about the milestones in our former classmates' lives: promotions, weddings, babies. And misfortunes. We can all relate to that drastic change--the one that swoops into our comfortable lives and replaces it with temporary turmoil.

And even in the midst of chaos and misfortune, I smile when I think of the writers--that special group of people in my university days that can always offer sincerity and support.

Their words count. A lot.