Gathered in an Inhabited Garden

Of all the griefs that mortals share
The one that seems the hardest to bear
Is the grief without community.
— Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg

Community, n.

Common possession or enjoyment; the holding or sharing of interests, possessions, or privileges in common by two or more individuals.

When I started Whiskers On Kittens, I knew I wanted an outlet for the various things I’ve encountered in the reading and research I do for my work. I also knew that I wanted to make a serious commitment to writing something unrelated to my books that would help me grow as a writer and make me stay consistent in my writing. What I did not count on when I started Whiskers was how much I would prize the engagement I have with my readers. In short order, I have come to appreciate the community slowly growing here.

Community is essential. Whether introverted or extroverted, we all need to belong to a community. Belonging is a yearning within each of us. Sometimes finding your right community is hard. You don’t know where you fit precisely. I get that.

Moving teaches that lesson in a very immersive, real way. I had a community niched out for myself when I lived in New York City. I had friends whom I had known all my life. But, when we moved almost a thousand miles away, it was starting from square one. Fast forward a decade, and I am still building my community. Certainly, I have forged lifelong friendships here with people who have become more like family than friends. However, one’s community is always changing. Sometimes it’s growing. Sometimes it’s shrinking. Like life, your community will go through different seasons.

As a writer, I know first hand what it is to feel isolated. Oftentimes, this does not bother me. Isolation is not always loneliness. However, there are times when my isolation has been lonely. It is in such times that my community will provide the connectivity I need.

Writers need it. So do artists. In fact, look at the last century or so. Attached to every art movement was a community of likeminded individuals. The Impressionists all knew each other. As did the Modernists. The Bauhaus is the epitome of community because it was an actual building that knit together the artists of the day so that an exchange of ideas was as easy as tapping the fellow sitting next to you. A comparative look at the Lost Generation will give numerous examples of the crazy exchange of ideas that were making the rounds in Gertrude Stein’s salon.

Even nature offers an eloquent example of how important community is: the Cedars of Lebanon. These trees grow in such a tight knit community that their branches actually intertwine so tightly that if one tree dies, that tree’s branches graft with the branches of the trees around it so that they can continue to live and flourish.

Community will spur you on. Community will facilitate the exchange of ideas. Community will provide support for you. In short, you need to belong to a community as do I.

There’s a reason that the Bible says to forsake not the assembling together. We need togetherness. And when you find someone who laughs at the same quirky things that you do, or whose heart is moved by the same things that move yours, you need to hang on to that person. That’s how communities start. One person at a time.

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.
— Goethe

Here at Whiskers On Kittens, we’re an assortment of characters with interests that range, but who all prize good writing, excellent storytelling, and words of encouragement. We also like good music. We take to heart Keats’ Endymion: A thing of beauty is a joy forever. We are a community and communities care about one another.

Are you a writer like me? An artist? Do you like to take photographs of things that pique your interest? Are you an avid reader? A movie lover? A connoisseur of fine music? Do you love to dance to a good tune? Or laugh at a witty joke? Perhaps you just love reading about things that galvanize your spirit and encourage you to hope. Please, leave a comment and introduce yourself. I know I’d love to meet you and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

And if you find yourself a little nervous at the thought of leaving a comment, remember Abilene’s words in Kathryn Stockard’s The Help:

There’s no one here at Whiskers who offers your special combination of interests and gifts. Just like in a garden, no flower is the same. Each one is entire unique. As Dr. Seuss would say:

Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There’s no one alive who is you-er than you.

So, be bold, dear readers, and share yourself with us. Come join us in the inhabited garden. I can’t wait to hear from you.

The FEARLESS Giveaway is now underway here at Whiskers On Kittens. As I Will Be FEARLESS is the theme of 2019, Whiskers is giving away an audio or digital copy (winner’s preference) of Eric Blehm’s FEARLESS: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown. Adam Brown’s life is an example of how to embrace fearlessness in our own lives and walk out the purpose of our lives. I cannot recommend this book enough. Truly one of the best. The Giveaway (Contest) is up through 11:59 CT January 26th 2019 to all legal U.S., U.K., and Australia residents.

The reason Eric Blehm titled Adam Brown’s biography fearless has little to do with the success that Adam achieved as a Navy SEAL. Rather, those successes are because Adam Brown had already cultivated being fearless. It started when he was a young boy. And even when he went off the deep end, when drugs reeked havoc on his life as well as his family and friends’ lives, that fearlessness is what brought him through to the other side.

Click the link below to see how you can enter for you chance to win this once in a lifetime read.