A couple of nights ago was the quarterly AllWriters' Friday Night Free For All event at Cafe De Arts in Waukesha. The event features students of the writing studio reading their work in front of an audience. They read from a bunch of different genres and styles including, Poetry, Memoir, Fiction, Short Story and Novel. And while I live the reading part, sometimes I get as much enjoyment out of the half hour before and half hour afterward talking to other writers.
It's the closet extrovert in me.
I enjoyed talking to Lila about her soon to be released book about her brother that she wrote using HIS point of view - something I've never seen too much before in memoir. She conducted interviews with him for much of it and it sounded like a fascinating way to write a book. She has worked hard getting her book finished and published and I am super excited to see it come to fruition.
And I loved talking to Jocelyn, the newest member of the Mighty Monday Nighters group that I workshop with every week. She has a great fiction story going which is loosely based on some of her family. Her husband was there and is working on some writing of his own. He gave me some great advice he'd heard about struggling with being tired of looking at your manuscript. He said that he'd heard that was sometimes an indication that you are done with it and need to start refining it.
I wanted to hear what everyone in the room was working on. (Who am I, anyway?)
I relished catching up with Deb who is working on both fiction and memoir. Her book is done and is a cool story about a freeway princess/prophet. I'll leave it at that. I always say that I can't even think in the dimensions of some of these fiction writers. They have attributes I wish I had. (Or maybe I do, and they're just untapped.)
It was great talking to David, an author who just published his book about his online dating experience in his 50's. He is reading East of Eden by Steinbeck and was saying how rich Steinbeck's description is in everything. We joked about how our description is two dimensional comparatively.
I had the opportunity to buy and get my writing instructor's second book personalized. It was recently released and is a mystery based in a fictional town in Wisconsin called Devlin's Crossing. I try and make it a point to attend all of my colleagues' book signings, as they usually make mine. Plus, I think it is so cool to say "Hey, I know this guy/woman! And he/she's a dang good writer!" Writers supporting writers.
It was fun talking to two of my fellow Monday Nighters, Ellen and Paul about how we should get together more often to brainstorm ideas and encourage each other. (Wait, I'm an introvert and I instigated this idea? What the heck?)
Couldn't get enough talking to Carrie about her work in progress. She's written a great book about shape shifters and is working on her second. She was brutally honest saying she's spending much more time watching TV than writing. Hey, writers need downtime too!
I felt bad I didn't get to talk more to Barb who is working on a book about a Kayak trip down the Mississippi. A great person, a huge supporter of my writing and a fellow water adventurist to boot. What's not to like about talking to her?
I wanted to talk more to the kid, Andre, who showed up after finding the event online. He's "interested" in writing and decided to show up to see what it's like. I wanted to yell, "YES! Write! It is good! You'll love it!" There is a certain creep factor to being that excited though, so I just said I hope he gets involved in a group.
And none of this includes the 15 other people I didn't get the chance to talk to. I wanted to talk to them all! People are so interesting and there is nothing that excites me more than talking about the writing process with all of it's joys, struggles, successes and failures.
The realist in me understands that the downside to an event like this is I need three day of isolation to recover. That is what I have been doing, because tomorrow I get to hang with the Mighty Monday Nighters and do it all over again. I am a lucky man.
BTW, if you would like to know anything more or purchase any of these books, they're all available Here.