Saturday evening, I attended the open house at the Frederick Douglass Arts Center on west 96th street (around the corner from Symphony Space).
Because of the World Cup, the crowd was very small and intimate.
When I walked into the communal space of Frederick Douglass Arts Center, I was welcomed by Laura Pegram’s warm smile, who is a workshop instructor for Short Story . I signed up for the two week Short Story Fiction workshop and had a lovely conversation about my writing background and everything else in between. When I mentioned my memoir writing, she introduced me to Michel Mariott, the writing instructor for both Memoir/Non-Fiction and Science Fiction, and I had another great conversation about the genre. His demeanor, passion, and support for writing motivated me to also enroll in Memoir writing but alas, my financial woes stopped me and I decided against it.
Soon after, their guest speaker, Zandile Blay, was on hand to discuss her rise to success, blogging, branding, fashion, being a writer, and provided tips for writers starting in the business. The majority of her dialogue was the same record I’ve been hearing at panels and people in the industry, as well as reading on writing websites and magazines. A writer has to “play the game” no different than an actor; this industry is saturated with bloggers, publishers, and journalists who all want to be known. In order to stand out, one must know his/her voice, stick with it, and be consistent. If a writer is passionate and wants “it all,” the writer will succeed. Zandile and I are the same age and she has accomplished so much from the age of 14 to now. I can say I look up to her and hope to be as entrepreneurial as she is. I’m only at the beginning stages but I know what I have to do; I just have to do it!
Overall, a wonderful afternoon spent with people in my writing community. I want everyone to know about this center and I’m sending them good vibes so they become as popular as Gotham (or more!).