Building community

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This is the Art Creative Space on Thursdays. Libby makes the room look better than I do.

Today’s blog is a bit late because I had a coffee with the amazing author, Katherine Scholes. She writes beautiful novels, many set in the African continent. I just read one called The Perfect Wife, and if you read it and you get as angry with the husband as I did, just hang in there (no spoilers).

While we were chatting, (and I tell you, I’m so grateful to her for giving me the time) we also said hello to the editor of a magazine, and had a chat to another author I know. I felt like I was so much a part of the writer community.

Being part of community is one of the things I love about living in Tasmania. Katherine and I were meeting for the first time today, but I know her parents and her sister, and she knows my parents too and can remember seeing Mum sing at St David’s Cathedral when she was a child.

Being married to a teacher in such a small community means that as we go to the shops, the beach, or the gym, we are constantly interrupted by calls of, ‘Hello Mr A’. And having worked at a university, I have friends in almost every restaurant and café in town working their way through uni in the hospitality industry.

Sometimes, I admit, I would like to be invisible. To be able to have a bad hair day without seeing someone I know. But most of the time I’m grateful for the people that know me. For those who know me well enough to give me a smile, for those I stop and have a quick chat to, and for those who are closer friends who I can meet with for coffee, dump on, and be a shoulder for them to cry on in return. I love being part of a community.

I got a little hooked on the Lego Masters TV show recently. I thought again that it was a wonderful example of a community. The different participants encouraged each other, and rejoiced in each other’s creativity and accomplishments at the end of each challenge. Yes, there had to be one winning team, but each person who left the show (that I saw) was just so happy to have been a part of that community. To have spent time with like-minded people.

Actually, I’m sitting and writing this as part of another creative community. I have started a little project called Creative Spaces in a local church near me. We provide the space, the tea and coffee, and the nibbles, and the people who come along bring their own writing or art pursuit and we all get creative together.

I am part of the writing space, and another friend, Libby, is taking the art space. We’re hoping that this place can become a hub where people are able to come, do their own project, but have conversation and make community with like-minded people.

Writing is a weird thing to share. At the moment we are all sitting quietly in the hall, typing or scribbling away. But in a few moments my timer will go off and we’ll make drinks and chat about what we’re doing. Then we’ll all sit quietly and write again.

Yes, it seems strange for an introvert like me to be harping on so much about getting together with people in real life and making community. But I’m starting to think that this is one of the most important things we can do to combat the loneliness and isolation that is all around us. I am trying to build community online using this blog and my podcast. But I am also prepared to get out of my own comfortable study and meet with people to make real life community happen.

I wonder if there is a community that you could start to build around you? It doesn’t need to be an official thing, but maybe you could find others that enjoy cooking and have a shared dinner party once a month. Or find others whose kids are totally into Lego like yours and start your own informal building parties. Or just say hello to your neighbours and maybe take the time to find out a little bit about them.

It will be a bit of a stretch, but I’m thinking it’s worth it. You might change the world for one other person, and isn’t that enough?

If you’re interested in hearing more about the Creative Space, feel free to drop me a line, I’d love to share it with you.

Are you missing some of my blog posts? They come out every Monday. Sign up to follow the A Quiet Life blog on WordPress, or you can sign up to my newsletter on www.ruthamos.com.au  and you will receive every post straight to your email inbox. You will also find my podcast, my book ‘My Year of Saying No’, and any short stories or other books will be up there as they come along.

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Book Launches (plural)

It’s been a big week. But so much fun.

A week ago today I launched Deadly Misconduct to a horde of fans, well, a horde of friends and family who are so super supportive. It was a humbling and exciting and joyous night and I thank everyone who came and everyone who has bought the book.

I know that I have one reader in Tennessee, one in (the dark night of) Vanuatu, and one who was reading somewhere in the ocean near Fiji. It was so cool to have people post photos on Facebook of my book ‘in the wild’.

But that’s not the big news.

I’ve been keeping a secret.

A secret project.

Well, what I’ve really been doing is attempting not to confuse people by launching two books at once.

Yes, the big news for you, my wonderful blog readers, is that yesterday I launched a second book. A book written for you.

My year of saying no

My Year of Saying No, the book based on the blog series from the second half of last year, has now hit the stores.

To put this book together I combined the blogs that I wrote last year, and then I wrote a bit more about saying no and put it all into the book. Caleb, my illustrator, digitised his comics to make them pop and then drew four more for your viewing pleasure. And I also added some memoir, and some excerpts from my own journal to show people what the journey of saying no really was like for me over 2017.

Book 2 Launch
This is the awesome Jenny introducing me as I launched The Year of Saying No last night.

So there you go, my career as an author has truly begun.

Everything is available on Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo.

And I also have a new website for my non-fiction: www.ruthamos.com.au as well as the website I already had for my fiction www.rjamos.com. And if you’re a Twitter person, then I’m on Twitter now as well @aquietlifeblog.

Are you confused yet? I tell you, it’s getting a bit confusing for me as I try to launch two different author brands plus an editing business. I’m hoping that at some stage I will have the chance to sit down and just sort through everything I’ve done and make sure it works. In the meantime I hope that all my links work for you and that you can purchase and read the books if you would like to.

If you wish you can also send me a message at Ruth@ruthamos.com.au and I can get a signed copy to you for $10 plus postage. This offer will only be open for a short time.

So that’s my news for the last week. I want to say thank you so much for all your support and love. And I’m looking forward to sharing more blog posts and books with you in the future.