Local authors are being invited to share their work through Creative Colloquy, a new literary web site and monthly reading series being launched on March 24 at Tacoma's B Sharp Coffee House.
The event will be held there the last Monday of each month; and we called on founding writer Jackie Fender – a veteran of the Weekly Volcano and defunct local literary mag, "Wrist" – to give us the skinny on what to expect.
Tacoma Weekly: So, what exactly is Creative Colloquy?
Fender: Last year, I worked for a literary publication (“Wrist”), and we just shared local authors’ work, and I loved working for them. But the founder, decided the events just weren’t his thing, and he was kind of done with it.
I just made so many good relationships, meeting other authors and writers in the area, I thought we need to get reading events going again. And it only makes sense to have a way of sharing their work so that people can make reference to it again and read it. Unfortunately, I’m not independently wealthy, so an actual publication is out of the question for now. I figured a literary site (http://www.creativecolloquy.com) is the way to go. We’re gonna start that up and start doing monthly readings.
TW: How do you get published through your site? Who is this open to?
Fender: All scribes are welcome. I’m strongly encouraging short stories, memoirs, novel excerpts - things like that. The poetry community is pretty close-knit and has avenues of sharing, whereas people who write short stories have less of an opportunity right now. That’s kind of my focus, but it’s open to everyone. I don’t discriminate.
TW: How would characterize the writing scene in Tacoma.
Fender: It’s really just an amazing group. We meet up, and we might not have a lot in common as far as life paths or things like that. But we connect over a love and admiration of the written word.
We get together for coffee and we talk books, and writing and what projects we’re working on. I think that really kind of inspires and motivates everybody. That’s the purpose of the reading events, for writers to have the opportunity to connect and bond and strengthen that community.
TW: Will the live events be more like a poetry slam, or like a writer’s circle where people give feedback?
Fender: What we’re gonna do is feature a handful of writers that are featured on the site every month. … Then, once the featured authors read their work, we’ll have an open mic where people can sign up and read their poetry or short stories to the group.
TW: What can you tell me about this first batch of writers? Are these regulars from your days at “Wrist?”
Fender: I met all of them through my days at “Wrist,” actually. They’re all really established authors. Joshua Swainston has “Tacoma Pill Junkies,” so he already has his novel published. Melissa Thayer has just announced she has a novel being published shortly.
The handful that I have for this event are phenomenal readers. I approached each of them because at past events they were kind of my favorite to listen to and see.
TW: What is your long game on this? Just listening to you, it sounds like you might eventually turn this into a magazine or something like that.
Fender: Maybe, yeah, if I can find some way to kind of publish it. It might be more of a quarterly thing rather than a monthly thing, as far as publishing goes.
Way down the road, I hope to kind of turn the brand into a non-profit. I want to establish it as an avenue for people to share their work and things. But I have all these crazy ideas about people encouraging literacy in schools by doing dramatic readings, from elementary to high school. ... Maybe even having a book mobile. That’s the big picture, but that’s a ways off.
Having the web site, having the monthly readings are key. … We kind of hole ourselves up in our offices and do the things that we do. But I think it’s really important to connect with other people who have that same vision, even if we’re diverse in our genre and life. That’s the focus of the events right now.