Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Have you ever found a place where you knew you belonged? Did you ever need to feel that kindred connection with a person or group, a place or a thing?

I moved around a lot as a kid. By the time I was sixteen, my family had moved, on average, every two years -- a total of eight times. (Wow, and she does math too!) That meant that by the time I'd settled into a new place and managed to get over the uncomfortable awkwardness of being the weird new kid, I was packing it all up again to go somewhere else. And we didn't move down the street. Among the many cities I have called home (a lot more than 8 if you count the moves after I left home and went out on my own), I've lived in five different Provinces, three Provincial capitals, three major metropolitan centres and a couple of smallish-sized towns.

That's why it has been so important to me that when I settled down and set out to brave the big wide world of writing, I was able to find a place for myself, not only with other writers here at home, but online as well.

The Quilt of Belonging is a collaborative work of art that recognizes Canada's diversity, celebrates our common humanity and promotes harmony and compassion among people. This quilt is considered to be Canada's most comprehensive textile art project. It is a collaboration of the work of volunteers from Victoria to Newfoundland to the Arctic Circle. All across the country, Canadians contributed their talents and ideas and each piece is a reflection of different cultural backgrounds. The range of materials, from things like sealskin and African mud-cloth, embroidered silk and gossamer wings of butterflies connects the threads of our past to the limitless possibilities of the future.

I visited the CNE a little while ago to see this quilt in Toronto and it struck me how important it is for everyone to feel as if they are a part of something. That's what I've found here in the various online communities, and also in my RWA Chapter group. A sense of belonging. The women (and a few men) in my Chapter have been supportive and crazy fun and I can't remember another time when I've been welcomed so honestly and so completely into a group.

So today, in the spirit of the holiday season, I'm saying thank you. To all of you who have befriended me, who have supported me and who continue to wander by every once in a while to make sure I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Now, speaking of my awesome Chapter members, today I'm also visiting Leah Braemel's blog to chat with her, so come on by and meet one of the fabulous members of the Toronto Romance Writers.


Wylie Kinson said...

I agree, JK. The TRW is such a warm, welcoming, supportive group -- attendence at monthly meetings is like getting my batteries recharged. And I love that members connect in so many ways outside the chapter - on blogs, personal friendships, critique groups, etc.

All we need is a big lodge, roaring fire and one of those talking sticks. What a hug-fest!!

Amy Ruttan said...

Wylie's right. We need a lodge, I love our chapter meetings.

I'm bummed I can't go to January, freaking wedding I totally forgot about. Hubby is best man.

Grrr. I get really drained if I don't have my TRW boost.

Shelley Munro said...

What a great idea for a quilt. I can't imagine what it must have been like moving so much as a child. School is hard enough as it is!

Your chapter meetings sound great, BTW. I'm envious. ;)

Maggie Robinson said...

Now you make me want to be Canadian. My husband's family was from Cape Breton. My stepgrandmother was from Kentsville. I drink King Cole tea. I'm close. :)

You know I wish you the merriest of holidays with your family!

Elyssa Papa said...

Hmmm . . . Canada does sound nice, but books cost so much more up there! I'll have to live vicariously through you and Tiff. *g*

Happy Holidays, J.K.!