The Nature of Us

O Son of Man! Write all that We have revealed unto thee with the ink of light upon the tablet of thy spirit.

About us

The pieces on this blog are rooted in the work of a weekly gathering among friends. The purpose of the group is to improve in the craft of writing and to share pieces, both fiction and non-fiction, that explore the fundamentally spiritual nature of individuals, relationships and communities.

We long to write about humans in a way that does justice to them. We want to get better at describing the negative forces—the barriers, like greed and materialism—that keep us from fulfilling our potential, but we are also learning how to write about hope, about love and about the transcendental qualities of human nature with the same precision. A few of us meet every Friday in a Toronto apartment building, but we anticipate that those from distant places will be inspired to contribute as well.

A great story can edify the mind and the heart the way a great sculpture, song or painting can. Words so perfectly placed together evoke feelings, stimulate thoughts and stir the imagination. This is the power of writing. What we write about, what we choose to give voice to, shapes the way we think, which in turn shapes the way we act in the world. Art is created and shared in the context of culture and, as such has a hand in shaping the culture we live in.

As a group of writers, we explore these themes as we write pieces that speak creatively to the questions facing humanity. Questions such as, what is human nature? What is community? What is friendship? What is rational thought? How do we grow spiritually? How do we write about reality? How do we convey what is possible?

Much of our writing so far has been produced at home, on the subway and in our other spare moments. This work is read out loud, often with hesitation, at our Friday meetings. The group’s members offer advice and use their strengths to help each author improve their pieces. New ideas and possibilities come to us as we hear the writing of others.

Very little of what is posted is considered to be complete by the authors. Our pieces are often influenced by weekly discussions on particular topics and incidents, and you will notice themes of a spiritual nature woven, sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly, through each work.

Nature of Us group in a writing session

Certain pieces on this blog were written by several contributors after discussions on any one of a number of topics (such as love, children, community) and are presented as single entries. These pieces are like a choir: the individual voices of the writers come together to sing about a common theme. The individual voices are maintained but find their place within the whole.

The collective pieces reflect an attempt to explore the relationship between the individual and the collective. We make an effort to avoid two extremes: an environment that nurtures unfettered individualism and an environment of suffocating collectivism. To this end, we ask ourselves relevant questions. What happens when a group of writers lend their voice to a common theme? How do our relationships with one another influence our work? How can we explore, meaningfully, the spectrum of individual and collective authorship?

Our reality is that we are one, and so, to progress in any endeavour, it helps to work together. The exploration and application of this principle in our lives and the life of the community will have far-reaching implications and ultimately affect every field of endeavour. This necessarily includes the arts.

We have decided not to attach names to the pieces here. Our intent is to encourage readers to engage with the work itself and the themes being discussed and not fall into habits of conversation with the given author. This will hopefully elicit more comments on the pieces and begin a conversation that helps the group learn more and more about how to write the kinds of pieces that our world needs.

Also, we hope that anonymity will encourage us to be freer and more audacious in our musings. William Wordsworth once instructed writers to “fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” and we all know the delicacy of the heart from one experience to another.

The names of some people who attend the weekly gathering are: