Long before I ever entertained the idea that I might want to write things that people don’t pay me for (as in my old day job), I read a biography about J.R.R. Tolkien. It impressed me that he and his writer group (the Inklings), which included C.S. Lewis, would gather at a pub (The Eagle and Child) to discuss writing and literature. They would read what they had written to each other and critique each other’s work. I want to be there to watch, to listen, to learn, and to discover. Can you imagine? This happened in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Lewis and Tolkien were alive and writing during my lifetime.
It was purely accidental last November that I noticed a schedule of events taped to the window of the PNWA Writer’s Cottage. I was attempting my first novel with NaNoWriMo. It was the schedule of write-ins, meetings, and events for the Snoqualmie Valley Region of NaNoWriMo. Eventually, I managed to attend a couple of the write-ins. After finishing, as I let my novel percolate for about six weeks, I noticed that this group (as Snovalleywrites) is a year-round, active collection of novelists, non-fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, and memoir writers, poets, and ghost-writers with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and talent regarding every aspect of writing from the first idea through publishing. I am now a novice member among this enthusiastic group of men and (mostly) women of letters. We have two “write-in” gatherings per week. One is Wednesday evenings at a nice pub (Little Si Restaurant and Pub) in North Bend, Washington. The other is the topic of this blog.
Friday mornings I get in my car, or climb on my motor scooter and drive about thirty minutes to the town of Snoqualmie, Washington. There I meet with a group of aspiring and successful writers at a charming place called The Black Dog Arts Cafe. This is my Kaffeeklatsch. While the majority of conversation is writing or publishing-related, it is a most pleasant gathering of friends and associates willing to converse about any topic. This friendly and welcoming group has taught me a lot about my newly discovered craft of writing. We range in age from low twenties to high ‘not-gunna-talk-about-its.’
Ironically, unlike the Inklings who were exclusively male, most ‘members’ of the kaffeeklatch group are women. The group was started by one of them (Hi Caz). We drink coffee (or your choice of morning beverage), eat, and talk. Some in attendance have even confessed to getting some writing done. I wouldn’t miss it. If you’re looking for me between nine and noon on Friday mornings, check the Black Dog in Snoqualmie. I am the one with short gray hair, wearing a cap, mostly listening, frequently laughing, and totally confused. Who is to say that the next Tolkien or Lewis is not sitting there, telling me how I need to work on my plot?