Reflections on In-person Connections

Post date: Apr 09, 2019 3:20:40 PM

After an event, people want immediate photos, feedback and reflections of what they just experienced. People who attended want to see themselves having a good time. People who were unable to attend want to see what they may have missed out on—or were fortunate to avoid. However, the organizer is often exhausted and sated, still processing and recovering from the exertion that went into connecting others to each other and to the focus of the event.

The Room to Write’s mission was to connect writers and illustrators to each other and to what has been or will be written and illustrated. Two weeks in a row meet and greet events were devoted to the act of connecting people and what they have created or hope to create.

The first week was for adult writers and illustrators. We met at Cedric’s Studio and it felt great to pack over twenty people into a comfortable space on a winter’s eve. No matter how many Meet & Greets we organize, it is still pleasantly surprising to experience such a healthy mix of friendly faces and new faces, published writers and emerging writers, visual artists representing everything from photography to painting, and storytellers from every age and outlook.

The second week event was for youth writers and illustrators. Adults aren’t the only ones who crave creativity and to be surrounded by others who want to talk shop. With sports and science being the big money-makers these days—kids don’t always get a chance to tuck themselves into words or to sit one-on-one with published writers and illustrators who stand as proof that real human beings are behind the creative words and images kids connect with.A whopping fifty people popped into the Boys & Girls Club of Wakefield on March 28th and thirty-five of them were young people. Thirty-five! How refreshing. The best part is that every parent and grandparent who I have spoken to since that event tells me how their child or grandchild could not stop talking about the experience. The young people who came out to revel in words and illustration and walked away with a journal and pen as well as a free book, signed by the author were smitten—smitten with storytelling, both the creation of stories and the act of taking them in.

March turned out to be a wonderful celebration of words for old and young alike. It is always inspiring to see how the simplicity of words and endless possibility of creativity can still win the day despite all that beeps, bumps and blurts around us.

Thank you to all the authors and illustrators who joined us, giving so generously of their time on a weekday night: Carol Gordon Ekster, Jannie Ho, Rajani LaRocca, Dianna Sanchez, Laurie Stolarz, Dirk Tiede and Rob Vlock.

If you would like to see more events like this in your community feel welcome to contact us, donate to The Room to Write and help spread the word about words.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you to the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham and Wakefield, The Savings Bank, Whitelam Books and Follow Your Art Community Studios. Last, but not least, a very special thanks to Jeanne McGonagle for volunteering to help with this event. If you know a young person who would like to read any of the books given away at the youth event, a copy of each book is being donated to the Beebe Library in Wakefield, along with the second and third volume of Paradigm Shift donated by Dirk Tiede.