It's impossible to belong to only one community—one crew, one gang, one clan, one family, one circle, one group. You can't even be part of one horde, one crowd, one circle, one swarm. We exist in multiplicity. "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."— Walt Whitman
Sometimes groups overlap and sometimes their aims are contradictory, but we still adhere to them because within each one of these groups exists some attraction.
I am part of a number of groups—they represent different facets of who I am or who I hope to be—or who I was and who I am becoming.
Once a week I pack up several canvas bags with brushes, mediums, supports, papers, glues, paints, empheria and head to my Mixed-Media class. Eight of us will glue, cut, create transfers, stand back and look at our creations. Our approaches—all different—revolve around the commonality of using a variety of materials to create something different. Our delight is in the art of "morphing" things into something else.
My book group started twenty-five years ago—all women. For years we only read books written by women, but then five or maybe seven years ago we expanded and included books by men. We operate under a cumbersome and arcane way of selecting books. Over the years three women died—two of breast cancer, several married, several relationships ended, people changed jobs and tried their hand at carpentry, personal chef, and inn keeper.
There's my coffee house group—Laura who reads and remembers with a seemingly infinite ability to recall all details, even the ones that only take up two lines of space. Larry & Joanie who walk here every day, three miles round trip, and remove secreted paperbacks from a hidden space. Joanie quilts, Larry recently wrote a non-fiction book. I share golf stories with a scratch golfer who plays in Ireland for several months a year.
Then my Me'ah group—we started out four years ago spending two years studying Judaism—Bible, Rabbinic's, Medieval , Modern period. After that we contracted for teachers and expanded our studies. Our present study is with an eclectic Rabbi who only teaches Torah—and rarely more than a few verses at a time. He manages to draw out verses from his memory with a speed that defies my meager ability to quote—accurately.
Then there's my recent Bible study at church where we're reading Mark.
Do I contradict myself? I contain multitudes.
And the groups go on...