People usually start messages like this with something like, “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to shut down the Ottawa Writer's Circle.” However, as I sit to write this message, I find my heart is not so heavy. It is full.
The OWC has been going since 2013 and since then, we’ve evolved from a simple Meetup group to one of the largest and most active writing organizations in Ottawa. Over the years, we’ve seen hundreds of people attend events, share their works, and find a community. We’ve even seen several folks publish books, traditionally, with indies, and using self-publishing. Within its ranks, I have found some of my dearest friends and closest writing partners. I've heard stories from many of you who have found similar communities yourselves. I can't quite put into words what that has meant to me, and I'm not planning on getting particularly sentimental in this note. Maybe later.
So it is with this full heart, this racing heart, that I have decided to start a new chapter. Unfortunately, this chapter does not include running the Ottawa Writer's Circle, and I think many people can understand why I have chosen not to pass the torch onto another. I’m not quite sure what this next chapter contains, but I know writing will remain a large part of it. Because of who I am as a person, I know I will not be able to put down my love of teaching, mentoring, and creating community forever, so if you’d like to be informed about what’s next for me in that arena, you can sign up for that mailing list here.
We’re planning to continue running events throughout the summer in order to give everyone the best opportunity to connect with friends and writing folks you may have met along the way. We’ve also set up a So Long page on the website where people can leave their contact information or connect with folks who may not be attending events as much, as well as a section to leave any messages or stories about your time in the OWC you’d like to share. I’m sure everyone would love to hear them! There will be a similar area set up on the Discord for those who spend most of their time there.
Ultimately, the Ottawa Writer’s Circle will officially take down our shingle on August 31, 2023, ten years since we first launched this crazy endeavour that became so much more than anyone could’ve guessed. The Discord will also close at that point. The website will remain up until December 31, 2023 since we’ve already paid our hosting until then, but none of the events and member pages will be active. You will, however, still be able to view the blog and post on the So Long page.
There are altogether too many people who deserve thanks to name them all individually. I will surely forget someone and regret it. However, I hope you know who you are, and that this community could not have thrived like it did without so much love from so many people. Thank you for all you have done for this community and for me.
While my heart is full, there is always a little sadness when departing from certain eras of your life and this is no different. I'm still around, and I'm always happy to hear from anyone. Stay in touch with me, if you'd like, but definitely with each other. And, most of all, keep writing!
Thank you all for the last ten years. They've changed my life.