Saturday, July 19, 2008

Get a gang

I was listening to an old interview of one of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut. His advice for a happy life was to "Get a gang." By that, he meant family or friends. A family of origin or one that you make up, gathering people as you go through life. People that loved you, supported you, shared your interests, he said, was all you needed to go through life.

I so agree with that. When Annie Smith interviewed me on her Quilting Stash podcast, (here if you haven't listened yet:
she asked me for advice for the beginning writer and quilter. The answer was the same: get a community. Vonnegut and I were on the same track but I like Vonnegut's Get a Gang so much better.

Besides the family I was born into (The GSI gang), I've been lucky enough to get at least two other gangs. The quilting gang and the writing gang. I'd be a much unhappier person without one or the other.

The best part about having a gang based on your passions is that you can usually find like-minded people to share it with. This is especially true now that we have the internet. When I lived in rural Pennsylvania in the 1980s and wanted to write a romance, there were jolly few people I could share that idea with. And finding the local quilt guild, located 40 miles away, without even so much as a phone book listing, took all of my research skills. Now a google search will find you an online quilting group or writing group in two clicks of the mouse.Killer Hobbies is a great example of an online gang. (If you misspell Killer Hobbies, you get KillHer Hobbies, which might just be the husband gang equivalent.)

A gang comes in handy. I can always find someone to visit a quilt shop, offer an opinion or solution, or just sew with. My quilting gang has taught me me how to quilt better, opened my eyes to art and sends the coolest links around. Like Pete's Pond in Botswana.

My writing gang is responsible for the career I have now. Without them, I'd still be composing the perfect first paragraph in my head. (I was trying to find the best possible way to describe the way the wind blew the curtains into the bedroom.)

My mystery writers gang (a subset)is very important to me. Who else will talk about blood spatter and poisons over lunch?

Needless to say, I agree with Vonnegut. A gang is important thing to have. We don't necessarily wear colors and or have hand signals, but we're bound by our interests, our love of craft, and our love of each other.


Camille Minichino said...

Well said, Terri. And this morning, in spite of a looming deadline, I'm off to a dollhouse/miniatures show with a friend, to meet one of my Gangs.

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm happy to be part of your blog sister gang. Well done post!

Kathryn Lilley said...

I agree with you, Terri. I get so much value out of having a "gang" that I know and share things with, even if I haven't met everyone in person! It's easy to feel very alone as a writer, and a sense of community and camaraderie is incredibly helful! Best, Kathryn

beckylevine said...

Your writing gang is one I feel lucky and happy to be part of!