Life is Better When Shared With Friends

I’m fortunate to have many valued friends in my life. Some of us get together once a month for our writers critique group, where we help each other improve as writers. Collectively, we write non-fiction, memoir, poetry, and an array of fiction. But regardless of the genre, the important thing is that we encourage one another and share our journey as authors.

Last spring, four of us submitted our work to a national writing competition, with twenty finalists to appear in an anthology. After waiting months, I was elated when I received notice that they selected my poem. But then I wondered about my friends. I was afraid to ask, worrying that my joy may cause them pain if they didn’t make the finals as well.

They must have felt the same way, but eventually we learned that all four of us were finalists. How incredible! Even more amazing was that there were hundreds of submissions, yet our work floated to the top. What a tribute this is to the quality of our writing group and the ability of my friends.

Then we had to wait several more months before finally seeing our work in print.

Peter DeHaan, Jennifer Allen, Sally Stap, and Jerry Barrett
Pictured with me is Jennifer Allen, (a poster of our book), Sally Stap, and Jerry Barrett.

Earlier this month, we attended a reception to celebrate. Finally, we could hold the printed book in our hands. An unexpected thrill came when people asked me to autograph their copy.

It was great to see my friends’ work in print and for my wife to be present, but even more sweet was to share the experience with my three friends.

Life is truly better when you can share it with others.

The book Imagine This! An ArtPrize Anthology is part of the 2013 Grand Rapids ArtPrize, an international art competition, which sees one million visitors each year. The book is on sale at several ArtPrize venues and from its publisher, SchulerBooks.

(Don’t buy the book just to read my poem, a Haiku of seventeen syllables and only twelve words it’s hardly a worthwhile purchase. But Jerry’s poem and Jennifer’s and Sally’s essays are definitely worth it.)

[This is from the September 2013 issue of Peter DeHaan’s newsletter. Sign up to receive the complete newsletter each month via email.]

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