In Books, Family Fun, Friends, Life, Writing on October 22, 2012 at 11:36 am

When you hear the word “community,” what images/words come to mind? Yes, the community or neighborhood you live in may pop into your head first. But community is so much more than a place.

I have many different communities. My children go to different schools, and each one of those schools is a different community for our family; a different circle of friends (kids and parents) for each one.

I’m a member of a fabulous writing critique group called Writers in the Rain. (Shout out to Fabio Bueno, Angela Orlowski-Peart, Eileen Riccio, Suma Subramanium, and Brenda Beem.) In our own little writing community, we help to keep each other sane. We meet every week, read and critique each other’s pages, and give helpful suggestions or sometimes, a reality check. We are a family… a community unto ourselves. Who else gets as excited about our characters and plot lines as we do for each other’s stories? I am grateful for my writing community every day.

Even our kids’ after school activities are a community; from my son’s T-Ball team and Taekwondo studio, to the dance studio where both my kids dance, to the youth theatre where both my kids act. All community.

I could list all the communities that enrich my life, but I’d rather hear from you. Think about the communities in your life, and how they add value to it. How do you lean on your communities when you need their support? In turn, how do they lean on you? Isn’t it nice to know how much support we all have?

Tell me about your communities. Maybe it’s a group of college friends, a yoga group, or perhaps an organization in which you volunteer. Which ones have the most impact or are the most meaningful to you? I’d love to hear your stories of community and how they’ve shaped your lives.

  1. The aspect of community that has always fascinated me is the way communities are embedded in larger communities, especially how being a member of one small group of local people gives you entrée into the wider community, wherever it may be. For me, there are two communities that are examples of this: music and writing, but it’s music that is (for me) the coolest. As part of a musical community (one that actively makes music), you can then go literally ANYWHERE in the world and immediately be a part of that same community, even if (especially if) you don’t speak the language. A good example of this is the documentary “Throw Down Your Heart,” in which banjo virtuoso (yes, those words do go together) Bela Fleck travels to Africa (the birthplace of the banjo) to play and share music with strangers, many of whom do not speak English.

  2. Jon, you are so right! Music transcends language. What a wonderful way to create community. Now if only we could get politicians together in a jam session. The world would be a better place. 🙂

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