Published on April 28th, 2014 | by Timothy Thomas McNeely0
Creating a community of writers
Critical mass is hard to come by in small communities. Finding enough participants to sustain an effort and maintain growth is a challenge any group must face if it wants to last. It doesn’t matter how worthy the goal, if you don’t get enough people involved. So we consider it brave when a tiny team of people risk the wider world and try to unite a community around a common purpose. Such is Creative Colloquy.
“I think only good things can come from creative minds connecting over a mutual admiration,” says Jackie Fender, founder of Creative Colloquy, the new literary website in Tacoma. “There are a handful of authors I’ve met thanks to the live readings I coordinated as editor of Wrist, and we still connect over beers or coffee as a group on occasion and talk about books, what projects we are working on and just life in general. You can almost see the creative embers flaring with a table full of writers encouraging each other’s creative endeavors, especially in a group with a diverse genre expertise.”
Seeking to unite writers in Tacoma and give them a shared outlet, Creative Colloquy is both a submission-based website and a monthly curated reading and open mic series housed at B Sharp Coffee House in Opera Alley. The site focuses on fiction, with editorial oversight provided by Fender and novelist Joshua Swainston, but it’s open to a limited amount of nonfiction and poetry as well.
“My aim is to give other writers the opportunity to build these same kinds of relationships while also giving them a venue to share their work,” Fender says. “I’d love for there to be an actual publication but am not independently wealthy enough to fund such an endeavor, so a website is ideal. I plan to have a monthly rotating gallery of work [on the site], but that may shift depending on how many submissions I’m receiving.
“As of now the plan is to have a line up of authors that are featured on the website followed by an open mic the last Monday of every month, 7 pm at B Sharp. I want to encourage all genres (including the poets) to participate and submit but I’m especially looking forward to hearing authors of short stories share their work in their work’s intended ‘voice.’
“And of course I’m hoping people connect before and after the event and build these relationships on a love of the written word … My big picture includes beginning a non profit that encourages literacy by visiting schools/parks and events and performing dramatic readings for students from elementary aged children to teens. And maybe even a book mobile of some sorts. But that’s a ways off.”
So here’s your chance: if you care about fiction and the literary arts as a whole in Tacoma, and want a thriving group of writers to be a part of the arts scene in our city, this is one way to join your voice to theirs and build sustainability. Buy a beer or coffee and bring an ear open to new work from local authors. Not a bad way to start your week.
Monday, April 28, 7 p.m., Creative Colloquy at B Sharp Coffee House, 706 Opera Alley, Tacoma, WA 98402.