Happy New Year! To put my best foot forward in 2023 and maybe throw a little positive karma out into the universe, I wanted my first post in this new year to be a sincere “thank you” to all of the creative people who supported my writing practice and made up my writing community in 2022.
- The Canty Collective of Writerly Women was born out of a virtual Sage Hill emerging writers cohort guided by Micheline Maylor and Tariq Hussain in a peak of the pandemic in July 2020. A portion of the class met before a public reading to practice reading our pieces for feedback, and that organically snowballed into a small group of six spanning from the rural Yukon across the western prairies to Ontario that meets virtually monthly to workshop our poetry, fiction, and memoir projects.
I am grateful to this group of women for providing accountability for my writing practice, inspiring me to try out different genres and forms, being understanding when my chronic migraines cause me to bail on meetings last minute, and being supportive of my writing grievances and accomplishments. To boot, their work is all so varied and interesting, and I can’t recommend that you read it enough.
Melanie Trickers.j. Shalgaire
- Rachel Thompson’s Writerly Love Community is a subscription-based membership I’ve had since this past summer, and I highly recommend it! Rachel Thompson and Meli Walker work so hard to engage the community on Slack, and hold themselves accountable to make it a safe space for everyone. The programming has included everything from platform-building to generating new work, a virtual book club, quarterly writing workshops, and a plethora of other tools I’m probably missing. The community appears to be primarily made up of women and non-binary writers, with solid representation from poets and memoirists in particular!
I am grateful to Rachel and Meli for their extra support these past few months, and to all of the wonderful writers who’ve offered me feedback on my work, offered helpful advice in the Slack community, and have commiserated and celebrated along with me throughout the year.
- The Two Peas Writing Pod is a teeny writing group comprised of myself and my good friend from university, Tanisha Khan. Our coffeeshop dessert-devouring writing and venting sessions are so cathartic and I look forward to them each month!
I am grateful for this supportive friendship with gentle accountability, aggressive support and hype of each other, and a shared love of our human and feline children.
- The Saskatchewan Festival of Words is a writing and reading festival hosted each July in my hometown of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan since I was one year old. I’ve attended since I was a tiny teenager, and since moving away from Moose Jaw, it’s become this lovely summer homecoming to return to the historic downtown area where I worked for many summers, soak in some great readings and workshops, visit with family, and visit my favourite haunts (aka Bobby’s on High Street for Salt N Malts and Poppers, and our beautiful public library).
I am grateful for the work Sarah, Amanda, their team, and their board of directors do. This event is always a highlight of my writing year.
- The League of Canadian Poets’ Parent Poets Committee is a new volunteer commitment this year, and it is such a remarkable group. Despite all being busy parents juggling work, writing, parenthood, and too many other responsibilities to name, they all have so many great ideas to provide support to other parent poets. I am looking forward to getting to know this group more in 2023!
- Having finished up my first full calendar year as a board member for the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, it played a big part in my writing year! The staff are so efficient and passionate about what they do, and pivoted swiftly to continue to provide quality programming throughout the pandemic. The board is made up of so many different writers and professionals, and as a rookie board member and emerging writer and professional, I have selfishly benefitted from volunteering alongside them and soaking up their experience. I am grateful to all of these folks, plus the members and instructors I’ve met in workshops and at conferences, who’ve taught me new things throughout 2022.
The guild unfortunately lost a valuable team member at the end of 2022, as Financial Manager Jacqueline Fry passed away quite suddenly. I only met Jacquie a handful of times in virtual meetings, but I am grateful for the reliable and quality work she did for the organization, and for the positive impact she had on those who knew her much better than I. My sincere condolences to the SWG Team and all of Jacquie’s loved ones for this loss.
- Finally, and most importantly, I am grateful to my parents and to my fiancé for their support of me and my writing! They give me more hype than I could have ever earned, and are always willing to expand their comfort zone to accompany me at odd writing events.
Thank you to you as well, dear reader. Whether you’re reading this out of boredom, interest, spite, or intrigue, I’m happy to have a reader at all. Wishing you the absolute best year, and if 2023 turns out to be more challenging than expected, I wish you all the resiliency and strength you need to see things through for another year.