The Other Writers' Group
Since grad school, the only routine I've had is the one that's wrapped around his Monday though Friday work schedule. Fortunately--and unfortunately--he makes enough money to comfortably support the both of us... mostly fortunately since I still don't have the legal right to work in this country! Damn it. But recently, I've become a bit obsessed with finding my own routines even though I've never been a routine kinda gal. And as much as I am enjoying my Tuesdays Au Chien Qui Fume--in fact, my gal pal Alexa is meeting me there tomorrow--one excursion a week hardly seems enough to keep me sufficiently occupied in the 40+ hours a week I have to kill without him.
But there is another weekly activity that I have participated in on-and-off for four years now... This isn't the first time I've written about The Other Writers' Group at Shakespeare & Company, and it certainly won't be the last. But maybe this time is more official than the others. David Barnes began organizing the weekly workshop in 2005, and that is when I stumbled upon it. I was working on my French minor as an undergraduate and had seen a flyer posted on the store's bulletin board. Not much has changed since then. David's keen eye--and ears--continue to facilitate a friendly and savvy environment for English writers from all over the world... some who are only passing through and others who have lived in the city for years.
Here's how it works: Every Saturday evening from 5-7, as many as twenty-five and as few as three-to-five writers and readers meet in the upstairs library at the historic landmark across the Seine from Notre Dame. Some bring copies of their works in process but many don't. Listening and comments are encouraged either way. And let me tell you, you'd be hard pressed to find a more consistently good place to do so. I am constantly amazed at and grateful for the wealth of quality writing and readers that passes through those doors.
One of the most unique things about David's workshop IS those doors... revolving ones if you like. The ever changing faces and voices in the group--due to the changing seasons, vacations, the economy, and so many other fascinating factors--bring equally varied and enlightening works to discuss and critical commentary to rival any I've heard. I don't always take something to read, and there isn't always time to read everything everyone brings, but it isn't ALL about that. There is community at work, and a welcoming one at that.
If you aren't going to be in Paris on a Saturday for a while, maybe you want to check out the video I made after this week's meeting. And thanks for reading... and watching!