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Try A Reading Group

writer readingA friend of mine asked if I’d be interested at joining a group of women she knew were interested in writing. I said “sure” and when she asked if I would be willing to read I said “of course.”

Imagine my surprise when I realized that of the 40 or so women there I was one of only four who would read! Most of the women had known each other for decades. I’d met a few over the last several years, but most were strangers. When asked what order I wanted to read in I chose first with the idea of getting it over with. I truly didn’t know what I had gotten into – sometimes it’s best that way.

I’d chosen a single posting from my blog, WhenGrandmotherSpeaks.com, Compassion When It Might Be Easier To Hate. The applause seemed genuine and I was tickled.

But I was blown away by the other performances. My friend, Cait Casey’s poetry can bring a tear to my eye of either joy or sorrow – she has the ability to spark both in me, sometimes simultaneously.


Bobby Jean Bishop’s traveling poetry took me back to camping trips with my folks up old Highway 395 along the eastern edge of the Sierras.

Helen McKenna had me laughing in identification as she poked fun at herself and the world.\

It was a grand afternoon.

Cait circulated a signup sheet to see how many would be interested in being at another reading and it looked to me like every single person in the room signed up. I know I did.

It made me want to suggest that you either put together your own reading group or look for one to participate in.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Yeah! any writer SHOULD read…Reading maketh a writer!

  • I belong to a writing critique group, and of course I’ve heard of book groups, though I’ve always shied away from them, thinking my reading tastes are too eclectic. But a reading group–this is fantastic. Love the idea for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the support we can give each other. Very cool!

    • It was very cool and I would never have met those other writers any other way. Start your own!

  • I would try one of these if I could find one around here. Although I keep picturing that one scene from “Finding Forester” where the kids are reading their words out loud for a group of English teachers/judges.

    • ah, great opportunity to set up one of your own and decide who you want to be there.

  • Anne, back in the early 1990s when I wrote more poetry, I participated in several poetry readings in Chico, California, where I was living then. There was definitely some quality poems presented, including some that touched me deeply. I’ve since attended a few poetry slams, but didn’t participate.

    There is a writing/reading group in Yreka, a nearby local town. You’ve got me thinking I should finally follow through and attend a meeting.
    John Soares recently posted..How to Succeed at Co-AuthoringMy Profile

    • John, if you go come back and tell us how it was.

    • jorgekafkazar

      Like John, back in the ancient days of the 90’s, I used to read my stuff at Café Voltaire in Ventura. The poets there were diverse, clever, authentic. Times change. I visited a Ventura reading about 2004. The works leaned heavily towards didactic rants which were applauded heartily, even though they usually said little more than, “Me too!” Yes, check out Yreka, John.

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