Imagine how rewarding it could be to have a tradition of sharing the day’s pages with a few fellow writers around the fire as Jack London did early last century at Wolf’s Lair.
He’d read aloud what he had written that day and get real-time reactions from friends. If Buck’s howl resonated in the imaginations of his listeners, then the passage succeeded. Buck’s extraordinary connection with his canine ancestors as he dreamt of freer days in the pages of the manuscript that would become Call of the Wild (published 1903) came alive in the flickering darkness and Jack knew that what compelled him had found its voice; his pen had touched truth that morning. When that happened, imagine his excitement. He had penetrated the universal heart and borrowed a pulse or two of Life.
That arrangement among fellow writers was unusual back then. In today’s publishing market where only ‘finished’ manuscripts are read by agents or editors, much less published, it may be vital to a writer’s survival.