Building a Writing Community

Over the weekend, I took part in the OutLoudLit series in Mechanicsburg, PA. This reading is held bi-monthly at a spacious art gallery appropriately named The Gallerie, right in the downtown at 13 E. Main Street. Saturday’s event consisted of well-polished poetry and fiction from writers mostly based in Central, PA. Several of them are also current students, alums, or faculty from the Wilkes University Graduate Creative Writing Program. Since Christmas is about two weeks away, the event had a holiday theme, so everyone’s work, including my own, referenced some aspect of winter and the holidays.

The quality of the work was stellar, I thought. These stories and poems were polished and ready to be shared, and all of the readers did a great job at the podium. 

This series was put together by Ally Bishop, a current student in the Wilkes program, and it was clear to me after the reading concluded that this series has helped stenghten and grow the writing community in Mechanicsburg. I hope it continues for a long time because it does provide another venue for writers to share their work.

Upon driving home from the reading, I realized I’m even more interested in strengthening the writing community here in the Scranton area. We already have some solid ongoing events here. A writing group meets every Saturday at noon at Anthology Books.  The used book store also has several different book clubs, and all of that info is on the store’s website. There’s also a writing group that meets the first and third Monday of every month at The Vintage Theater. Our next meeting will be Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.

Furthermore, I’m starting a reading series at the Exhale Hookah Lounge and Kabob Grill, located at 136 Wyoming Avenue in downtown Scranton. Our first reading will be on Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. The readers include fiction writers Tom Borthwick and Matt Holmes, and the poets include Dale Wilsey Jr, Victoria Garafalo, and myself.

I hope this reading series catches on and does for this community what the OutLoudLit series has done for Mechanicsburg.

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