Creative Colloquy: A Literary Group for Local Writers


By Jackie Fender

 B Sharp Coffee House is filled to the brim with guest emcee, King's Books Sweet Pea on stage.
B Sharp Coffee House is filled to the brim with guest emcee, King’s Books Sweet Pea on stage.

It’s no secret that writers like to work in solitude. They can typically be found hunched over their keyboards or placing pen to paper in the isolation of a den or a quiet corner a coffee shop, grappling with words in an effort to transfer their thoughts onto paper or screen.

But at some point, it’s time to come out from behind closed doors and share those prose with the public.

Creative Colloquy, affectionately referred to as CC for the sake of brevity and pronunciation, is a South Sound literary group based in Tacoma. Founded in February of 2014, Creative Colloquy set out with a vision to establish relationships built upon the mutual admiration of the written word, encouraging local writers to gather and share their work in hopes of strengthening the literary culture that exists in our city.

Creative Colloquy founder, Jackie Fender (full disclosure: that’s me), hoped that Creative Colloquy would become a vibrant platform to lure local scribes into the open so they could connect with like-minded individuals as a means to spark embers of inspiration and connectivity.

Throughout the community, author appearances at bookstores and libraries have been the norm and poetry circles often assemble as a place for poets to share their prose, but the crafters of short-form stories were often left without a stage in which the spotlight could illuminate their works.

To remedy this, Creative Colloquy provides opportunities once a month for writers to gather and read. The meetings are hosted by an Opera Alley staple, B Sharp Coffee House, each third Monday of the month, and this is where Creative Colloquy writers shine.

Writer Tiffany Aldrich MacBain and artist Maureen McHugh performing "Painting to the Tune of a Story."
Writer Tiffany Aldrich MacBain and artist Maureen McHugh performing “Painting to the Tune of a Story.”

During meetings, writers and word lovers fill the coffee house’s seats, their fingers wrapped around mugs of steaming espresso or ice cold brews as they listen to scribes take the stage and read their works. Always followed by open mic opportunities, it is these monthly gatherings that highlight the diversity of Tacoma’s literary culture.

Seasoned, published authors take the stage followed by budding novices. New York Times best-selling authors and first-time readers alike are welcomed and encouraged here — because it is in this unity that inspiration is fueled. Creative partners have met for the first time at Creative Colloquy events and have even gone on to collaborate on other creative endeavors.

In addition to the Creative Colloquy’s monthly meetings, the organization keeps writers connected throughout the month via its website. Creative Colloquy’s website is a place for writers to submit their writing and share it with the community. It’s also a place where they can glean inspiration, reading the words of others whose works are featured on the site. Updated every two weeks, the website features submitted works from Pacific Northwest writers, most of whom hail from Tacoma. Though short stories and essays are the foundation of the works shared, poetry, novel excerpts and other prose often make an appearance.

To commemorate the talent of Creative Colloquy’s writers in a special way, each year the organization also publishes an annual print review featuring selected submitted works from South Sound writers. “Creative Colloquy Volume One” featured 28 works in total, while Volume Two,” which is currently in the works and due to launch this fall, highlights 19.

During last summer's Downtown Block Party, Creative Colloquy invited attendees to contribute to a community story.
During last summer’s Downtown Block Party, Creative Colloquy invited attendees to contribute to a community story.

Pages bound together sitting upon a bookshelf is the ultimate nod to the lush literary scene that surrounds us, but in February of this year, sometimes-editor Creative Colloquy editor Joshua Swainston collaborated with Tacoma’s nifty little book and zine shop The Nearsighted Narwhal to concoct a cheeky audio collection, “Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal.” As an homage to the old radio shows of the 1930s, this crime noir themed collection included theatric readings of a dark and risqué genre, challenging scribes to rise to the occasion of creating works that suited the theme. It was the first of its kind for Creative Colloquy, but more are sure to follow.

Want to experience Creative Colloquy firsthand? On Wednesday, October 7, the literary group will celebrate the written word in the community with the help of 39 local wordsmiths, a handful of artists and two musicians. The Creative Colloquy Crawls is sponsored in part by The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Festivities include simultaneous reading events from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at venues across downtown Tacoma. Join the community for the after party at B Sharp Coffee House at 9:00 p.m., which provides attendees an opportunity to connect with their favorite performers.

The Creative Colloquy team is a deeply passionate and dedicated crew of writers who invest countless hours and resources into these efforts to help promote the talented scribes in the area. For more information about Creative Colloquy, check out its website: