As much as our resident superwoman is motivated to work day and night to make this dream of hers a reality, the inconvenient truth is that there are only so many hours in a day. And she only has two juggling hands. So finally, after a half-year of running the center on a bare-bones staff, she put out a fresh call for volunteers and interns in December, and the response completely floored her, driving home the point that Houston really wants its creative writing center and is happy to put in the work to make it happen. With nearly two dozen new sets of hands on deck, plus a host of amazing workshop instructors, the future of Writespace is brighter than ever.
Every time I’m at Writespace, I’m amazed at how perfect the space is for quiet writing time: white walls adorned with beautiful artwork that isn’t too overwhelming or distracting, simple desks just big enough for your laptop and a few books, snacks, or tokens of inspiration, and an enormous skylight that takes up most of the ceiling and floods the room with natural light. The hallways of Silver Street Studios, where the center is housed, are perfect for writing break strolls. More artwork covers the walls, and the doors to other studios are often open, allowing for peeks into the working days of painters, sculptors, and jewelry makers - it’s a real microcosm of creativity. I live a half-hour drive from the center, but making the trek into the city feels worth it every time for a place that is solely for writing (well, occasionally also for chatting with other writers).
The first official Writespace team meeting this past Saturday was a different affair altogether. I was excited to meet the rest of the gang, together in the same place for the first time ever. Introductions were made, pizza was shared, and plans for the future of Writespace were created. Coming from a variety of writing backgrounds, the team members are bringing a grab bag of ideas to the table, many of which will become a reality within the next few months: spoken word events, genre and subject-themed open mics, new ideas for our upcoming Young Writers programs, a big SciFi event in March (including costumes, so get to planning!) and so much more.
Most excited, you guessed it, was Elizabeth. Her orientation for her new team of volunteers and interns consisted of at least 50% gratitude, of letting all of us know how much it means to her and the center to have so many people who want to help. “Here is what I want you to express in your work here at Writespace,” Elizabeth said towards the end of her talk, looking up at the three bullet points on her presentation slide.
- Magical sparks and fairy dust.
She laughs, hoping this room full of aspiring writers will get what she is trying to say with that last point. And I do get it. She means excitement, enthusiasm, that hard-to-define “something extra”. The secret ingredient.
The volunteer next to me leans in and whispers to me, “I think that’s what Elizabeth is. That’s how I think of her. She’s our magical sparks and fairy dust.”
And I couldn’t agree more.
Finally, here is what you can look forward to this February at Writespace. We'd be thrilled to see you at our big Valentine's Day event or at any of the upcoming workshops. For more information about the workshops, including info on early-bird pricing for Matthew Salesses' 6-week course and the urban retreat, please visit our Workshops page.
February 7, 1-4 pm
Creative Writing 101
Instructor: Sara Rolater.
A perfect place for beginner and intermediate writers to unlock the stories lurking in their minds.
February 14, 1-4 pm
Valentine’s Day Special: The Ins and Outs of Creating Great Sex Scenes
Instructor: Marian Szczepanski
What better way to spend Valentine’s Day afternoon? Especially if you follow it with our evening event, where you can cool down your steamy self with some local craft beers.
February 14, 7.30 pm
A Night of Love and Letters
We're very excited about our Valentine’s Day event. You will indulge in delicious craft beer and chocolate pairings from our lovely sponsors, Saint Arnold Brewing, Karbach Brewing, Buffalo Bayou Brewing, and Whole Foods Market, and be serenaded by some of Houston's great romance writers. Participate in our love letter writing contest for a chance to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Writespace. It’s a great opportunity to come and get to know the center and meet some of our team members, writers and instructors. Tickets are $20, get yours soon before they sell out!
February 21, 1-4 pm
Crafting Effective Prose
Instructor: Cassandra Rose Clarke
No matter your level, there is always more room in your writing tool kit or to hone the tools you already have.
Febuary 29 - May 5
The Elements of Fiction
Instructor: Matthew Salesses
This six-week online course combines video lectures, online group discussions, and writing exercises with the goal of enabling you to write and/or revise one complete short story, while leaving you with valuable skills to continue writing after the course.
February 28 and March 1, 9.30-4.30 pm
Urban Writers Retreat
with Elizabeth White-Olsen
A dream come true for those of you who would love a quiet weekend reserved for writing but who don’t have the time or money for cabin in the mountains or a hut on the beach. We’ll offer snacks, tea, quiet, optional exercises and prompts, and the motivation that come from being surrounded by other writers.