Imagine a group of literary giants such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien gathering every Thursday. Who read the unfinished manuscript, Lord of the Rings? What was discussed? Who would dare critique and edit Mr.
Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet? What was it like to edit these works? Could anyone of them have predicted the success of these writers?
This cluster of friends, known as the Inklings, also included Charles Williams (All Hallows' Eve) and Owen Barfield who was considered the first of the Inklings. Faithfully the twenty or so friends attended their meetings at a pub called The Eagle and Child. I wonder if all members were present at all gatherings.
The one thing I'm sure of is the fact they thought it important to meet. The classroom, no doubt, was necessary but gathering with others who thought and worked like you was invaluable. Did their story telling improve? One would think so.
Like the Inklings, writers around the world know the value of gathering together. For over 15 years now one such group, the one I belong to, has met faithfully on the first Friday of each month. Its success can best be summed up by one of its members, the poet of the group who said: "We have mutual respect and care for each person and their work. All get full-on encouragement and helpful suggestions."
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