If you read this post’s title and automatically imagined a red-haired girl holding hands with her raven-haired best friend, you are my kind of people.
Bonus points if you read the words and immediately started to sing the song from the famous Charlottetown musical …
Anne Shirley (of Green Gables fame) cherished kindred spirits. For her, they were the only true kind of friend, and the only relationship that really mattered.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines a kindred spirit as “a person who has the same opinions, feelings, and interests as you.” In a particularly charming move, they also describe the phrase as “old-fashioned.”
The Anne of Green Gables Fandom website describes a kindred spirit as “someone who understands Anne Shirley very well, well enough to know what she is thinking.”
For those of us who grew up reading (and singing) about kindred spirits, this definition hits closer to home. It’s not that hard to find someone who shares your opinions and interests. There are entire clubs, websites, and movements devoted to such communities.
But finding someone who understands you so well that they might even know what you’re thinking, well, that’s at the heart of finding a kindred connection.
It’s about a similarity of the soul, a shared passion for living. It’s the kind of thing that can be felt more than explained.
In our own kind of way, writers are kindred spirits.
We meet the basic description. In addition to our obvious common interest - writing - we probably also love reading, bookstores, libraries, and a host of other bookworm pursuits.
But just like Anne’s definition, our connection is deeper than just a common interest.
Now, not all writers will be your particular kindred. Genre, lifestyle, age, and worldview are things that naturally separate us. We tend to feel more in tune with people who look, act, and think like us.
On our more negative days, we can find even more division. We allow envy, ego, and imposter syndrome to blind us to any potential connections around us.
Anne Shirley thought that way sometimes, too. Anne is an open heart and yet, along the way, she dismisses people based on the way they act, the things they say, or worst of all, the way they make fun of her hair. But as she learns patience and grace, she makes a life-changing discovery:
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
(L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)
My writing friends, we are so much more connected than we sometimes think.
When we start to see other creators as kindred spirits, and not as competition, we find freedom from the shackles of jealousy and bitterness. We discover that encouragement is as beneficial to the recipient as to the giver. We’re reminded that there is space for all voices and all stories.
We discover that we’re all committed to the same wild idea: using letters, words, and sentences to inspire, educate, influence, and heal.
In finding our kindred connection, we are filled with even more love, even more grace, even more compassion, and even more hope.
And in that moment, our writing can’t help but transform for the better …
Who are the kindred spirits in your writing life?
Singer, songwriter, and worship leader, Allison Lynn, is drawn to the power of story to grow hearts and communities. Allison and her husband, Gerald Flemming, just released their 9th Infinitely More album - The Sum of All Love. Publications include The Anglican Journal (national newspaper), Taste and See (journal), Love STC (Niagara Tourism Blog), and four stories with Chicken Soup for the Soul. www.InfinitelyMore.ca