This post is where the “Welcome to our fresh, new, fair-trade, organic website!” message normally would be. Instead, though, I’d like to offer what I hope will be a little more useful, and perhaps at least marginally less self-congratulatory: I’d like to offer to you some sense of what this website might do, which is really to say, I’d like to offer my own idiosyncratic, not-speaking-for-anybody-else view of what Michigan Writers is and might become.

I was invited to join the board of Michigan Writers last spring over a quesadilla at the Dish Café. The reasons for this are still not entirely clear, but I did mention to Teresa Scollon, poet and MW’s president, that I’d put up a website for another organization, which may have given the not really accurate impression that I know website-y things. Still, I guess I know enough, because I put up the website you’re visiting now. It’s still a little skeletal, but I hope it will grow into something we can all find useful.

I’m not a paid consultant, you see, but a volunteer, like all the other board members. And like them, I’m engaged in the rather quixotic quest that is Michigan Writers. After all, if you imagine an assemblage of introverted loners, it’s not immediately obvious that it’s a good idea to create a group to bring them all together. It would be like throwing a bunch of bar magnets into a box just to listen to the rattle as they lurch furiously from positive to negative poles and back.

But MW is founded on the notion that solitude has a limit, both emotionally and productively. Writing is a lonely affair, and mostly that’s necessary. But for those of us who either live or aspire to live “the writing life,” writing is the adjective; life is the noun. Writing is ultimately about sharing, in the product of our writing and in the process, too. We write to be able to reach others, and we don’t know if we’ve done that if we aren’t asking. We write alone, and probably most of us have some image in our heads of a writer alone in a Paris garret with her Underwood. We write alone, sure, but each step beyond that initial draft really does work better if we do some sort of collaboration—whether with a friend, with a writing group or with an editor.

To me, then, Michigan Writers is about bringing together people who love and practice the literary life, so that we can find and give help to one another. Michigan Writers is about the sharing part. That’s why I’m on the board; that’s why I’m a member.

So what is this website about? Well, it’s about circulating information with you, and for you, too. We’re a pretty small group, after all, and we ought to share what we can. So if you have some good news, let us know. If you’re in a writing group open to new members, let us know. If you have anything you’d like other writers in this area to know, let us know and we’ll try to get the word out. We have this website, our monthly email newsletter, our Facebook page, and word of mouth at dozens of events. We can help you.

And we’d love to hear from you. Seriously, send us messages. We’re your peers: writers (and aspiring writers) living up here and hoping to find our own literary lives. Feel free to start with me, if you’d like. Send me a note at [email protected]. I’ll write back.

Daniel Stewart is an historian, print and book designer, radio producer, and memoirist. He has lived in Leelanau County, Michigan, since 2004, and most of what he does is related to the telling of good and true stories. He joined the board of Michigan Writers in 2012 as part of that mission. Dan would love to hear from you; you can send him a note at [email protected].

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