Update Friday, 3 Dec 2010: I’m heading to Australia to visit friends for a month, so won’t be back for my Side Street Saturdays until January 15.
Side Street Saturdays is an informal meetup group for Anchorage-area (& visiting) LGBTA writers, poets, wannabe writers, wannabe poets, & supportive friends who’d like to hang out, drink coffee, chat about writing, & even [gasp!] write. Bring your laptop or pen & paper.
I’m setting this up as a regular meetup for people who, like me, might need that little extra nudge to keep the ink leaking out of their pens in artful phrases, poems, & even full-length stories & novels. Remember all that lonely stuff about the lonely lives of writers toiling alone in the dark lonely hours of the lonely night? Bull. The very best writing comes out of us encouraging each other, riffing off each other, even collaborating. Let’s do our part to build a great community for LGBTA writers — that is, us — in southcentral Alaska.
Why Side Street? Because it’s my writing home-away-from-home. I completed most of the work toward my MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) there some years ago, & it’s still an important writing venue for me as I work on one (two? three? how many is it now?) of my eternally forthcoming novels. Its owners — George Gee & Deb Seaton — have long been upstanding & LGBT-friendly members of the progressive business community, & Side Street is well-known among its regulars as a friendly, personable place, a community in itself. I make an extra effort to get there on Saturday mornings, because George & Deb close in midafternoon to go to the rest of their lives. When they close, usually I move over to another cafe, like the Kaladi Bros. just down the street at 6th & G — & if you come to Side Street, it’d be great to have you come along to Kaladi too.
Frequently asked questions
What kind of writing group is this?
This is an informal ongoing meetup for LGBTA writers — that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, & our allies — with a focus on actual writing. We might chat a bit, we might share some of our writing, but we’re not a workshop or critique group: it’s about the writing, & supporting each other in the writing.
What if I can’t make it at noon?
No problem, just show up when you’re able to. Even if you can’t make it till 2:30! Whenever I schedule a Side Street Saturday (which I hope will be most Saturdays), I will always stay until Side Street closes at 3:00 PM, so there will always be at least one person there if you’re able to come. After Side Street closes, I usually then move over to the Kaladi’s just down the street at the corner of 6th & G (in the corner of the PAC building), & anyone who wants to is welcome to come w/ me.
What if I can’t make every meeting? Will I get kicked out of the group?
No, there’s no membership requirement. Show up when you want to. Just check this page first, or the Anchorage LGBT meetup page, to make sure that it’s happening this week. (Since now & then something might come up to prevent me from making it.) Even if it’s not scheduled, feel free to show up anyway: if Side Street’s open, it’s a great place to write!
Why every week?
My organization for this meetup stems out of my own writing needs. The schedule is mainly to get me to show up every week, but because of the nature of the group — informal writing meetup focused primarily on actual writing rather than critique/workshop — there are no obligations for anyone else other than what they impose upon themselves. Occasionally I miss a day myself for some reason (holidays, trips, etc.), but if Side Street’s open you’re welcome to come yourself anyway.
How are meetings organized?
We show up, we order our coffee or tea of food if we want, we might have a little chitchat to check in or make introductions, but our main focus is: pull our your laptop, or pen & paper, & write.
Can I bring a friend?
Sure! But remember that our main purpose is writing. Some socialization is natural, but let’s not lose that focus.
I’m just visiting Anchorage. Can I still come?
Sure! We’d love to meet & write with LGBTA writers from other parts of the world.
Ask it in a comment, & I’ll answer. Or, email me at yksinainen at gmail dot com.
- Saturday, May 9, 2009. Five of us: a great meetup, except that we spent so much time introducing ourselves to each other (or catching up with each other) that… well, we didn’t get much writing done! We’ll do better next time, I promise!