Why We Exist
The following story came across my desk last year and sums up a big part of why AWCS does what it does.
“Three years ago, the idea that I could be surrounded by a caring, supportive group of like-minded people seemed like some utopian dream. It might as well be set on a cloud, where we all sprout wings and float around like butterflies. Yes, it seemed that far-fetched and impossible. I was experiencing the worst depression of my life. I withdrew from friendships. I suffered from low self-worth. I was told I had a cognitive thinking disorder, and that the negative stories my mind conjured on a daily basis perpetuated my feelings of low self esteem. I isolated myself to cope. I was not accustomed to these long bouts of doldrums that I couldn’t just snap out of, so I was growing more hopeless. Thoughts of harming myself were increasingly more common. I hated the man I was.
One day I was asked about my job. I dismissed it, not being the most career-oriented. When asked what I would rather do, I talked about my love of writing. I had always been drawn to writing, but rarely practiced it. I didn’t think myself a good writer at the time but believed maybe with the right guidance I could be. All that said, the idea of putting my own writing into the public sphere was terrifying. I focused on all the reasons not to pursue it: I didn’t have the time. I thought I should write more before joining. I had looked up the Alexandra Writing School and it sounded too professional, or too advanced in skill level for a newbie like me. But, with the coaxing of a close friend, I signed up for my first AWCS short story class. I was petrified.
I’ve now been a member of AWCS for three years, having enrolled in multiple classes – both novel and short story – and am supremely grateful for their persistence in fostering an open, caring community dedicated to the pursuit of writing. There is such a mutually shared desire for writing, and not even to be the best but just to see it through – to develop confidence in your literary voice. Even without writing, just having a collective of amiable souls under a single literary umbrella gave someone like me ambition – an attainable goal I could work toward on my own volition – something I hadn’t had in a long time. I’ve since developed my own group of nerdy, literary friends from various AWCS classes, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re my anchor and have become some of my closest companions. The biggest change in my life brought on by AWCS was that I began to identify as a writer. We all battle through the same author struggles, and there’s solace in that sort of shared perseverance.
AWCS has, without any doubt, bettered my life. I would recommend them to any person who may even have the inkling of an urge to write. At worst, you may just fall into a great group of friends.”