Whew, this is a hard thread, friends. Here goes. I have been a member of the Chunky Monkeys writing group, as featured in the now-famous Bad Art Friend saga. As of today, I am no longer a member of this group.
This group was formed one decade ago. In spite of much portrayal of us as catty, backstabbing, elitist, etc., the truth is the members of this group are kind, supportive, generous, and have been a source of support, humor and camaraderie for me and many others for a long time.
I took a break from the group when I left the Boston area, in 2013. Therefore, I never saw the story at the heart of this scandal in workshop. I did not participate in any discussion of this story, until it was finally published.
I want to say on record that I always loved this story. I was proud of Sonya for writing it, thrilled to see it getting recognition I felt it deserved.
My understanding of the legal issues was superficial. All I knew was that Sonya was (and is) a good friend, an absolutely generous, funny, warm and loving person, good things were starting to happen for her, and she was mired in some kind of legal shit that would not let up.
Everything I have ever said to her in email or elsewhere was with the understanding that I was supporting my wonderful and talented friend through a truly awful situation.
Over the past week, like many of you, I have been glued to Twitter, watching one piece of information after another come to the surface. I am not going to weigh in on it.
Suffice it to say, I owe Dawn Dorland an apology. I’m sorry for the role I played here. I’m sorry I didn’t make a greater attempt to learn her side of the story. And most of all, I am sorry I did not intervene to de-fuse a situation that I believe did not have to come to this.
I also want to acknowledge that Dawn was a student at Grub Street (where I have also been a student & teacher, and where I am now a consultant). There is no world in which any student should feel anything other than nurtured and protected when they sign up for a writing class.
If you are a beginning writer (or even a seasoned writer) watching all this with horror, please know: This is 100% not the norm.
As someone deeply invested in helping every writer from all corners navigate this life, I cannot stress enough: Taking a writing class is brave. Putting your words into the world is brave. Please don’t be discouraged & do not stop writing & seeking trusted readers for your work.
Finally, the takeaway of lots of people seems to be that everyone here is awful, gross & bad. As someone who knows each person involved, I want to say that is not true. This is a case of good people who let darker impulses override clear thinking, compassion and common sense.
I wish everyone involved in this nightmare wellness, productivity and peace going forward.
To everyone who has been following along, I wish us all some time away from the internet and a good night’s rest.

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