Last week, I attended TWO writing events. That’s a big week for writing events! The first one was an in-person writing workshop taught by Ariel Gore on Saturday, 1/28. Ariel is the editor and founder of Hip Mama magazine, and she is a brilliant writer and writing teacher. I’ve taken online classes from her a couple of times, but I was especially excited for the analogue version. It was a great chance to meet in person some writer’s I’ve seen around online and to catch up with the work of some writers I already know. I shared two pieces about my grandmother, one fiction and one nonfiction, that I’ve been working on and will submit for publication soon. I love sitting around with other writers, reading each other’s work and giving feedback. I guess that’s why I became an English teacher, so I can get paid to do that kind of thing. I’m so appreciative of writers like Ariel and Tomas Moniz (who hosted the workshop at his house) who work to create community among writers in the bay area and beyond, so hermits like me don’t moulder away alone in their dark coffee shop corners.
And then on Thursday, 2/5, Zocalo Spits premiered in San Leandro with the most amazing lineup of readers and musicians! Hosted by the always fabulous Michelle Gonzales and Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, this event played to a packed house at Zocalo Coffeehouse, which is easily the best coffee shop in the east bay or probably the world. It’s a giant space with easy parking access, reliable wifi, tons of power outlets, and great coffee, tea, and food–perfect for any work-from-home types. I have met so many incredible writers at Zocalo, and tons of teachers, all of us hunched over our laptops with our headphones on. Two of those writer/teachers, Michelle and Soma, decided we should look up from our work for a few hours once a month and celebrate all the great talent in San Leandro and the Bay Area. This month featured readings by Ariel Gore, Paul Flores and Jackie Graves, and incredible music by Candace “Antique” Davis. My friend Diane Rinella also read during the open-mic portion of the evening. It was so moving to see such amazing artistry right where I usually grade papers and write novels, and to know that my friends made it happen. Some day I will have to give back to the community and organize my own event. But for now, it’s nice to sit back and enjoy all the events going on around me all them time.