Ten writers came to the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando on Saturday to capture a little bit of the energy that emanates from this place. I hope they left with a bundle of it.
Along with the help of Mad-about-Words, I held a three-hour workshop at the JK House – mostly about how to organize your writing, your story plan, and crafting that crucial opening paragraph.
Writers of all skills, types, and sensitivities brought talent and dreams into the house, each dedicated to doing something special with their work. All offered great questions, solid insight, and some engaging opening paragraphs to the full stories yet to be told. From the tale of a middle-of-the-night phone call from a nearly forgotten lover, to an awkward – if not strange – encounter in a transgender bar, to a young woman’s obsession with money and the big check she would be getting from her uncle whose mysterious death still haunted her – each writer dug deep to find a new way to begin a story, and sharing those stories was invaluable.
The JK House is a fabulous place to hold this kind of workshop – intimate, cozy, and full of creative force. But what makes it all work? The people. The writers who come to these workshops feed this house, nurturing it out of its slumber and routine. The JK House is always special even when it sits alone and quiet – but the beating hearts and the stories inside those hearts and souls are the fuel that keeps the house’s artistic fires burning.
Best to all the writers here today – and joy in writing.