Last weekend I celebrated the formation of The Penheads—25 years of writing in our group. Over dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Greenwich Village, we discussed our current writing projects and looked back at our past.
As I’ve said elsewhere, we didn’t immediately form into a perfect group like some mystical key-in-a-lock connection or love at first sight. We met when we all worked in the same office, the publishing division of a financial organization. It made sense: we gravitated toward fiction and it was a natural progression to form a writers’ group.
We’ve had only a few rules, but they’ve stood the test of time:
Keep the group number limited to five people. Sometimes it’s difficult finding time to meet, and a larger number would increase the difficulty.
All of us meet or none of us do. We each have different viewpoints and are necessary to provide well-rounded critiques. (There have been rare times when we didn’t adhere to this rule, but the lack in our dynamic was obvious. We’re all needed.)
As with any group, there have been ebbs and flows in the work we’ve done, but we’ve persevered. Writing is life.
May all writers be as fortunate to find a group that tells the truth when something sucks and gives suggestions on how to fix it.
Here’s to at least 25 more years!
J. M. Levinton
Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin
Anne E. Wagenbrenner
* Photo by Nickgesell (Pixabay)