This has made me think about whether, to write in a particular field, one needs to be a member, however loosely, of the 'scene' that gathers writers from that field. If you are a crime writer, do you need to mix with other crime writers? Can I be a poet, a serious poet, without being part of the poetry
|A literary pub?|
It's a live issue, of course, for our ACW local groups, where one is often thrown together with people doing entirely different types of writing: anything from parish magazines through scientific textbooks to historical novels. How well can we understand what our fellow writers are doing, let alone offer informed critique, if we have never written, or maybe even read, the sort of material they are writing?
|A poet one has never heard of...|
leaves us the various secular 'writing scenes', and inevitably in them we will encounter competition, envy and cronyism (not that these things are entirely absent amongst Christians!). We will have to learn what or whom to stick with and what or whom to avoid like a dairy herd with BSE, because they are bad for our a) self-esteem, b) writing career or c) spiritual life.
So can I be a poet without spending half my life in the poetry scene? Probably not, but as with everything in life, perhaps I have to pick and choose my circles and especially my battles. First of all, though, I have to learn to write better poetry; and in this, hearing or reading the work of others, Christian or not, can only be an inspiration (unless it's a dire warning...!).