A friend scoffed at me when I first told her I was going for a masters in creative writing. “Why do you need to go back to school to write? Just write.” She’s not wrong in the sense that to be a writer, you must write. And if you aren’t writing, there are issues to address that school won’t solve.

But she had missed the point:

Community.

In grad school, I shared my life with writers—both peers and mentors. I not only shared my writing, but I was exposed to writing and ideas outside my comfort zone. Sure, this made me a better writer. But it also expanded my interests. Today, even three years out of grad school, I still share my work in progress with a kinship of writers—especially April Davila who keeps me focused on my writing goals when life gets in the way.

And yet the creative mostly has to work alone and shut out the noise of friends and family, Facebook, doubters, politics, and financial stresses. This is hard to do. And after a time, it’s just damn lonely. For me, at work on a novel, a nasty ghost often appears at the edges of my reality. “Poser,” it calls me as I work away in my studio.

To counter the isolation, to counter the doubt, to remind us all the we are a community, The Writing Leap (me) is hosting a quarterly Salon. Visual art, fiction, talks, fashion, cooking demonstrations, plays, comedy—anything goes.

This past Saturday, about forty-five people showed up at my tiny bungalow in Mount Washington. Directed to the backyard, they sat on blankets in the candlelight and listened to essays and stories by Stephanie Abraham, Kyle Beswick, and April Davila. Lenya Wilson discussed her etiquette project—Bringing Classy Back. Works-in-progress, the audience listened with open hearts, letting themselves be inspired. April even asked for a title for her a story—and she had one by the end of the evening.

1. Decided – Alan Joseph Marx 2. Untitled (Spine Study: Orange/Purple) – Alan Joseph Marx 3. Painted Wedding Dress – Suzanne Galayda

1. Decided – Alan Joseph Marx 2. Untitled (Spine Study: Orange/Purple) – Alan Joseph Marx 3. Painted Wedding Dress – Suzanne Galayda


The night didn’t end there. Introducing artists Alan Joseph Marx, Suzanne Galayda, and Lindsay Franta, the crowd meandered into the house I had let the artists take over. Alan’s work—part of his series, Some Monsters are Real—hung on the walls of the great room. He sold two pieces, even if that wasn’t the goal. Suzanne’s painted wedding dress stood in the middle of the living room. So many women wanted to try it on—I will likely need a dressing room for the next event. Lindsay’s work covered the studio we share and was complemented by her readings in French. With the door closed, we were transported to a different place to ponder her nudes.

Art by Lindsay Franta

Art by Lindsay Franta


1. Untitled (Three and Sphere) – Alan Joseph Marx 2. Untitled (Floating on Blue) – Alan Joseph Marx

1. Untitled (Three and Sphere) – Alan Joseph Marx 2. Untitled (Floating on Blue) – Alan Joseph Marx

Someone in my guest book commented, “Topanga Canyon-East, woo hoo. Love …the excitement of discovery and the generous spirits.” And I, in return, feel blessed to be a part of this amazing community.


If you are interested in the next salon or creative coaching, email me via the button below.