On 16 July 2018, the monthly gathering of bibliophiles and miscellaneous creatives in the Tacoma scene (including this Rock Rat!) ensued at the local art house venue, Honey at Alma Mater [Figure 1]. Alma Mater* is down on Fawcett Ave, with spaces for social events (Matriarch Lounge), a coffee house that serves beer (Honey Coffee + Kitchen), a concert venue (Fawcett Hall), and even production spaces for local artisans!
This menagerie of wordsmiths was part of the non-profit organization, Creative Colloquy (CC) [Figure 2]. Their mission "is to foster the creative community through unique literary events and publications."* A rad new friend in T-town elicited this author to submit something to CC's online forum way back in November 2017. Little did I know that I would be reading 'How to Camp With Strangers' from the blog app on my phone nine months later to a coffee house packed with attentive talent. It was a grand 'old time, to be sure, and the air in Honey positively hummed with the good vibrations of this jocose community gathered to recite and/or show support. There were six of us reading at this event, and I am given to believe that is a typical set before the crowd, too, is welcomed to the stage for impromptu showcasing of their works.
Among our band of six that night were several published authors and poets. The topics ranged from murder mystery, choose-your-own-adventure tales, reflective rhymes, and of course one rambling participant's rocktale.* Truth be told, I was only able to attend as a result of having a bum leg [Figure 3]. In fact, my current ailment only allowed my sister & I to attend the event for the first hour and a half before my pain level went from a 4 to a 6, and then in the car ride home, a 7. Needless to say it was a much needed excursion into the brave old world after two weeks of being laid up with a back injury. The doctors will heal my body but the authors will nurse my soul.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL
The event also happened to be an oneiric experience wherein I floated between the daydreams of fellow humans sharing that deeply seeded passion for words. And some loved it so much as to bother with putting those words to paper! These folks were so incredibly supportive, folks cheered for everyone, made friendly eye contact, and sipped their beers and coffee in reverent silence as each one of us performed. In fact, I was the only schmuck with a phone out during my reading, which in this day and age I find a profound statement on the commitment of a crowd. Beyond those observations, there was a university student in the crowd who requested the use of How to Camp with Strangers (name changed to How to Rock Out with Strangers) in a project on women in comedic storytelling. This student's munificent sense of humor aside, the opportunity to collaborate embodies the echoing spirit of rockosophy. What will develop from this in the Here & the Now?! Only time will tell. Circling back...
Although I had to high-tail it outta there like a rabbit on fire, I know the party only gathered steam following intermission. The lead human of CC, Jackie Casella, is an affable host and with her introductions for each participant there was little room for stage fright. Next month's event will be shortly upon us and I hope and pray any of you marvelous Tacomans reading this come along and have some good literary fun!
For the rest of you, why does this have to be restricted to the PNW? The anachronistic concept of reading in public spaces dates back to the paleolithic camp fires of our ancestors! Let's get together and read like civilized folk in a time of such devastating political climate! Let's pick each other up from that stuffy bedroom or office where the magic of authoring your brilliance is born and get out into the world!
I'm not saying just anyone can start up a literary website and public events for their creative non-profit. I'm also not not saying that. What's stopping you or I from inquiring to the manager of our favorite local cafe if they would be open to hosting a similar event? Screw the societal divide between service providers and consumers! If we are fortunate enough to have spare time to spend in a coffee shop, and the initiative to share our works with the world, why not embark on something a little more public? All I'm saying is that we can all keep an open mind and maybe if we were vocal about wanting to connect with other humans through something like CC, there would be a touch more love shared around creative pursuits that nourish our collective spirit. Think about it. Also, be sure to check out Creative Colloquy & Alma Mater online with the links provided below! Remember to stay tuned for more about the Creative Colloquy and other local literary shenenigins.