Tonight was the first night in I don’t know long that I went out, by myself, at night, and wasn’t home for the girls’ bedtime. It was weird coming home to find them both asleep (but I love my wife for letting me go).
Ahead of Thursday’s Rad Dad reading at Russo’s, local writer, journalist and writing teacher Nick Belardes (who’s reading with us on Thursday) invited me to be a guest teacher/lecturer at his Random Writers Workshop at Cal State Bakersfield. I’ve never really been in a writing group, outside of a couple academic fiction workshops in college and an online workshop on writing about parenting which were all time-limited. But talking with the Random Writers at their weekly workshop about blogging, creative non-fiction, and writing about family and culture, I really got a sense of what Nick and his students and colleagues are trying to build here.
Just as I found a community of parentbloggers—involved dads, moms and dads of color, and progressive allies—online, these writers are trying to grow a literary community, on the ground, at the same time as they grow their own writing. They come together to learn, to talk, to share, and, most of all, to support. Most of them didn’t know me before tonight, didn’t know my blogging or my other writing. All they knew was that I was a local writer, like them, who’d gotten published in print, as they all are working for, who’d come to share with them, and they in turn gave me their ears, their questions, and their support.
And it felt pretty good.