On Monday night May 16, 2011 members of Thursdays Writing Collective crossed town for a reading at Westside Family place at 11th and McDonald hosted by Write Club, a group of literary mothers formed off their experience with the Momoir project. The childcare centre was a warm setting for our joint reading, which was thoughtfully hosted by Sara Graefe and Jane Swinglehurst. The adult audience sat on couches and perched on toddler chairs while the readers kept it short, sweet, insightful and revealing.
Thursdays readers included Anne Young, Antonette Rea, Patrick Foley, Don Charters, Joan Morelli. Patrick had the place in stitches as he read his piece about a renegade watermelon, Anne described a bucolic visit to Vancouver Island as child and the beauty of rural life, Don read an excerpt from a longer piece about “concrete cave dwellers,” and Antonette performed two spoken word pieces, one about global warming. Joan belted it out with two poems about self-esteem. Applause was effusive.
The Write Club readers had many of us groaning in sympathy about the lengths to which mothers must go for their sanity. Megan Frazer, Maia Gibb, Sara Graefe, Tanya Hansen, Jill Imrie, Liesl Jurock, and Jane Swinglehurst touched on guilt, dirt, sleeplessness, biases against queer parenting and overcompensation through elaborate cupcake construction.
For many Thursdays participants these pieces about parenting were gentle reminders of their own years with children. Several members in the discussion mentioned the importance of enjoying the trying moments while you can.
It was certainly a step out of our neighbourhood to be surrounded by the toys and sandboxes and concerns about naptimes but the Write Club bridged any gaps with a warm and engaging welcome. Hosts Sara and Jane made us all feel at home and they provided a bounty of snacks and beverages for breaktime.
After the last reader we did two social writing prompts chosen randomly from a list of phrases that had popped out of each individual reading. The two were, “that watermelon really picked up speed,” from Patrick’s piece and “watchful crows,” from Antonette’s. Thanks to the dads in the audience for jumping in to share their writing with us, too! And thank you, too, for the candid remarks about what this night of writing forged in terms of bonds between two distinct demographics. This reading epitomized the Writers Caravan goal of forging community through writing together.