The evening of Saturday April 23, 2016 was a mild one. The air was semi-warm, being the beginning of Spring-like weather after a short but overly-anticipated El Niño season that gave San Diegans false hope for a drenched filled Winter. At the back patio of The Wine Lover on 5th avenue, Thru A Soft Tube (TAST) held its 10th writerly gathering, which featured performed words from San Diego State University MFA Fiction writers and Poets. It was an impressive night filled with fun, laughter, amazing people, and incredible talent.
With most of us standing and a few sitting, the small and intimate event featured around 16 people, and provided the best mood for appreciating the performed art–one writer even sang his work to us.
Yet, despite the intimate occasion, the small-scale back patio was filled to capacity and caught the attention of bystanders on their way to local Hillcrest restaurants and theater nearby. Hearing Katie Farris, an old English professor of mine and author of boysgirls, read her Work-In-Progress (WIP) poems using her distinguished writer-voice was a familiar comfort very similar to that of drinking hot chocolate and reading a good book.
Binh Huy Nguyen, MFA graduate in poetry, is the creator of TAST and has, since its inception, hosted events around San Diego, giving an opportunity for SDSU’s MFA candidates to showcase their work—while also creating a safe space for networking and for being one’s self.
The night ended with geeky, nerdy, strong debates on literature, film–even 50 Shades of Grey–nothing was off topic for this cohort. Every awkward moment that accompanied those interesting conversations made the night feel genuinely satisfying. Despite not knowing more than half of these people, I did not feel like an outsider. I was part of a group which was inviting and accepting of all kinds of people and personalities.
What I learned
Finding oneself gathered around people of similar interests is the best stimulant since coffee became a highly manufactured product (*COUGH* Starbucks). Nothing can beat the welcoming feeling attributed to finding one’s kind among a group of highly intelligent, friendly, accepting, and inviting people–this is the makings of a writerly family.
Aside from listening to truly talented writers, both poets and fiction writers alike, meeting new people who shared my interests and passions was the best moment of the night. Most importantly, this group of people went out of their way to make me feel welcomed–so important for any shy, introverted (extroverted-ish when with close company), reserved writer who just wants to meet new people and enjoy herself in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. This was a night that will hold strong in my memory.
¡PSST! ©2016 The Black Lion Journal