Sunday, June 19, 2016

Free Writing at the Georgia Nutts Guild (GNG) Meeting at Hodgepodge -- Read Georgia Nutts

                So there it was, Saturday, June 4th 2016 and it was time for the first Georgia Nuts guild Free Write event.  It was sunny and hot under a blue sky littered with various forms of lethargic cloud-shapes.  Infrequent breezes tickled their way through low hanging foliage and shrubs; love-bugs flew around at just the right altitude to wind up almost in your eye.  Summertime in Georgia.  And the perfect kind of day to take up residence in the sunny space just inside a big picture window and explore the thoughts necessary to piece together a story, poem, song, what-have-you.  This is the goal of the GNG Free Write.  Normally, at guild meetings we use pre-planned exercises to stimulate word play and sharpen our verbal skills, taking advantage of the meeting space-time to focus our energy into the act of generating material from a common idea or theme.  The Free Writes, however serve as our chance to take advantage in a different way, using the meeting to delve into the ideas and themes of our own personal projects; a kind of vacation from the usual grind of errands and stuff, just long enough to get some things out on paper (if you're a traditionalist) or into your Save As (if you're new-fangled).                For our first ever Free Write event, we chose to huddle up in Hodgepodge, a friendly neighborhood coffeehouse and art gallery located at 720 Moreland Avenue Atlanta, GA 30316 only about a mile or so south of Little Five Points.  A hip urban space, Hodgepodge can be spotted easily by its hip, urban, totally deliberate graffiti adornments.  And this is where we were heading.  As usual, getting there was half the fun; on any given Saturday, Moreland avenue is essentially a 1920's style Gran Prix, complete with aggressive speedsters, jarring stops and starts, grumbling salty old eighteen wheelers and slip-shod road maintenance.  And it's Summertime, so everything is just hot and everybody's feeling it.  

                Once there, we stepped inside its cool interior, warranting nary a glance from the hip, urban crowd, patrons leaning askance conversationally holding cups of java or hunched over their laptops.  We staked our claim on a sun-bathed table right by the large front window then grabbed some snacks: beef patties, fudge brownie, slice of cake; some iced green tea and hot tea.  I didn't try everything on the table but the brownie was gooey and chewy enough to make me happy and the iced green tea was briskly refreshing.  It was time to get down to the task at hand.  We took a minute to share our goals for the free writing time: Each of us basically focused on our own long form fiction pieces.  The table then fell under the silent cloak of collective concentration, each of us traveling the roads in our own worlds, observing the events within distinct, special places populated by characters known only to each of us individually.  Amidst the hushed conversations floating past, our table only produced the sounds of minds at work:  scribbly-scribble (traditionalists) and clickety-click (new-fangled).  Thoughtful glances while working sometimes resulted in eye contact followed by distracted smiles among us Nutts.  Sometimes my eyes would land on one of the pieces of art hung on the brick walls around the gallery space in which we were seated.  The pieces themselves ranged in style from the sparse to the intricate, from the stark to the colorful, from the Pop to the Post Modern.  A showing of the art was taking place at six o' clock, for which we were promptly shooed out of the gallery space a few minutes beforehand.  It may have been just a short spell in which to dream and work, only a tiny respite from the routine and though I am reluctant to speak for the group as a whole, it seemed to me it was just what we needed.

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