What JRW Means to Me
Lee Gimpel is a freelance writer and past treasurer, vice chair, and chair of James River Writers’ board of directors. He has covered business, technology and the intersection thereof for such publications as Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc., Worth and BusinessWeek SmallBiz. In addition, his articles about culture, lifestyle, travel and history have appeared in Budget Travel, Executive Traveler, Men’s Journal and the Washington Post. His first book, Fighting Wars, Planning for Peace, recounts the life of Gen. George C. Marshall and the Marshall Plan.
A few years ago, the JRW board revisited our mission statement. It turns out that it’s hard to get a group of writers to agree on the “right” wording.
In the end, what we settled on was very simple. But I think it captures a lot of what JRW means to me: “James River Writers builds community by connecting and inspiring writers and readers in central Virginia.”
It is this community aspect that I come back to when I think about James River Writers. JRW is where I found people who were doing what I was doing. I had colleagues nearby when so much of the work I was doing was for editors in New York whom I’d never met. And, not only were these people writers, but they were also smart, interesting and, yes, inspiring.
As I’ve stayed with the organization and seen others join over the years, I think this gathering and sharing is what makes JRW vibrant and important. After all, writing is often a rather solitary pursuit and one often undertaken by those with a more introverted inclination. To find an organization that brings people together and gets a diversity of writers and readers to mix is very invigorating.