Community and Fellowship: What else do we need?
I was reminded of this phrase during my community writing project when one of the group members used this quote to describe what community means. Honestly, there is not much I can say about my community writing project that will match the power of this Ram Dass quote but I will forge ahead.
When we use the words community writing project, what exactly do we mean? According to Oxford Languages we mean a collaborative enterprise to achieve a goal that will be reached through the medium of human connection by a feeling of fellowship with others who share similar interests.
A medium of human connection, a much more beautiful phrase than being told, “you” have to write something. Imagine introducing the world of writing as a human connection, possibilities seem endless.
For my community writing project (part of my UNLV/SNWP class) I reached out to teachers I have worked with over the years from Buffalo, NY, to Richmond, VA, to here in Las Vegas. I will say most responded, sadly in the negative – too overwhelmed this year to take on one more commitment. Five teachers said yes, but within a week, the five whittled down to three plus me. We are small but mighty.
Living in different cities and time zones, last year’s trial by fire when learning of google meets and ZOOM came in quite handy. We started with the writing equivalent of an ice breaker, sharing an artifact that spoke to us. We wrote about our response to the shared artifacts, which in turn became a group poem. Within this first meeting it was clear that we were a community and writing is the medium of human connection. My community writing project is not yet done. With two meeting remaining, I am already feeling sad that this project is winding down.
I created this project to be a safe place for teachers to write for themselves but the camaraderie made it so much more. Our last meeting will include sharing thank you notes we have written to each other. I hope everyone has gotten as much joy from this project as I have.
Ever since the Ram Dass quote reentered my consciousness, it continues to stay with me. Seriously, if that was all I took away from my community writing project, that would be enough. Stuck in a line at the grocery store behind the customer who waits until after their groceries are rung up to locate payment, I mutter the quote to myself. Asking students to adjust their mask one more time, I mutter to myself again and again, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Staff meetings, it is a non-stop mantra. It would be easy to say the quote has made me a better person; but I don’t think that is true. What this quote has done has made me slow down and fully recognize the need for community and fellowship.