The Emergent Properties of Writing with Others

Every time you sit down to write, you have an opportunity to play with a different set of possibilities — the weather, your mood, your energy level, whatevesnowflakesr you’ve been ingesting and digesting lately (books, food, scenery). Even if you were to write on the same topic every day for a week, chances are, your writing and what you discover about the topic and yourself in the process of writing would be different every day.

Those possibilities are multiplied exponentially when you write with others. I think this has something to do with the phenomenon of emergence. Here is a nice description about emergence:

“In science (particularly physics), the sum of the parts can be greater than the parts themselves. This is emergence, and emergent qualities are elusive little devils because they aren’t intrinsic to their parts. They only ’emerge’ when the parts are brought together as a whole. For instance, everyday millions of people use the words ‘not,’ ‘be,’ ‘or’ and ‘to.’ Yet when you bring these words together into the combination ‘To be or not to be,’ you’ve created a meaning that not one of those four words actually possess. Suddenly and mysteriously they’ve become worlds of images and meaning.”

When we write together, we each contribute an invisible, undefinable, but palpable something that enriches the field in which we gather. We all benefit from this enriched field — every person I’ve ever written with has commented on how much deeper and further they travel with their writing when writing in a group. With companions, I find the dive into creative spaces even easier. It becomes easier to surrender, to let my writing go where it wants to go, and to be surprised and delighted by where it takes me. Somehow, this private, mysterious journey is influenced and enhanced by the presence of others. People who have meditated with others will know what I mean — the struggles or fears that may be present when alone on the cushion seem to dissipate when we sit with others. The presence of others seems to lift us, leads us more easily to the depth and beauty and truth we seek.

So, come write with us. And see where your writing takes you.

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