I pride myself on my hobbit-like existence which most often consists of staying in my nice warm home with a cup of tea, a good book and very few unexpected, unplanned, and unprepared for adventures. There’s a lovely comfort in predictability. Then this past Friday evening my good friend asked me to join her at a coffee house.
“They have tea there, right?” I had asked her. She assured me that yes, a coffee house called CommuniTea & Coffee (emphasis on the “Tea”) would certainly have the tea I was looking for and that for a couple hours I could safely sit in a corner and listen to some local authors share tales of their own journeys. Given my trend into the hobbit lifestyle, as far as scary adventures go, this one seemed reasonable.
Stepping into the cool air of November, I met up with my friend and we made our way to
CommuniTea on East Frederica Street. The little café was filled with warm smiling faces as each individual or pair made their way to a small group throughout the room. This was my first Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop event and I was surprised by the amount of people in attendance. At the head of the room sat a panel of four speakers. Alex Kosoris (writer as well as moderator for this evening’s event) sat next to Brandon Walker, Heather Dickenson and Jean E. Pendziwol. These three authors sat cozied up on what appeared to be the world’s most comfy couch (and I do consider myself an expert at such things. It’s part of the hobbit rule book: Find comfort. Grab book and tea).
To my surprise, I ventured beyond tea and purchased a hot cocoa to sip on throughout the
event. If you’re going to go on an adventure outside of your house, be brave and get hot cocoa. I should add that to the rule book for those wannabe-hobbits who dare go on adventures. In addition to this brazen beverage choice, I also struck up a conversation with a member of NOWW who was also standing in line waiting for her yummy treat of choice. During our chit chat, Jane Crossman, President of NOWW, introduced herself. I explained how I found myself at this event and had mentioned that I had been perusing the NOWW website and Facebook page for some time as I sat at home dreaming of being a writer and the inner desire I have to find a community of writers and readers and lovers of stories. Be
assured, I was fully aware that my adventure at this point had gone way beyond my initial intentions to sit quietly in a corner of the room unnoticed. Yet, here I was happily chatting away with friendly new people who all love what I love - writing.
Each of the speakers was engaging. I found that they each were strikingly different in tone, topic and approach to writing and I loved every second of it. More than once I found myself raising my hand to ask a question and as the minutes turned into two hours I found myself growing increasingly inspired. I even pulled out my notebook and jotted a few thoughts and ideas down.
As the evening came to an end, I felt a sense of disappointment. I wasn’t quite ready for the adventure to be over and as I explained this to my friend she told me about a reading taking place in two short weeks at the Mary J.L. Black Library.
I was hooked.
As the room began to empty, I saw other non-members who had been in attendance filling out forms to join this world of writers and knew that they too had felt the same inspiration and excitement that I had. Though it was just a taste of this world of NOWW, it was also a droplet of hope that perhaps I was finding the community I had been looking for. And as all hobbit stories are reminded “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to” (Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring), and it seemed I was swept up straight into being the Northwestern Ontario Writer’s Workshops newest member.
See you at the reading on December 1st. I’ll be the one in the corner with her cup of tea, or if I’m brazen, hot cocoa.