WriteByNightby David Duhr • 10.27.2009
The great Florida workshop experiment culminates tonight in our very first session. Over two months have passed since I called out to Fringe blog readers for help with naming our business. A bunch of you commented after the post, a couple wrote to me privately, and I appreciate all of the input. After dismissing such terrifying (and probably terrible) ideas as Composite Monster and Shibboleth, we settled on WriteByNight.
Since that moment, life has been a whirlwind, but after nearly three months of planning and schmoozing and pleading, our eight-week creative writing workshop finally begins at 6:00 tonight in an art gallery at The Arts Council, Inc., our sponsor. We have eleven official members at present, although we’re expecting a last-minute registrant or two.
Of course, if we had a nickel for every person who said he or she would join, we’d have about three bucks. But as many of you probably know, 8-12 is a good number for a workshop, and we couldn’t be more pleased.
We even have a website. Now, I know as much about computer coding as I do about DNA coding, but with a little help from Wordpress and some friends, I managed to create something that isn’t a total embarrassment. It’s not going to win any design awards, but neither will my clothier, and I’m okay with that.
Since I duck networking every chance I get, my excessively outgoing partner, Professor Goldberg, has been flitting about the county, meeting folks left and right. We’ve set up info tables at local events and have held several information sessions–my presence at which, I’m sure, only hurt the cause.
In fact, due to certain flaws in my personality, it is inevitable that at some point during this business venture, a customer/client/workshop member will file suit against me for one or all of the following:
—Failure to take into account the feelings of anyone but myself
—Driving into the ground a joke that wasn’t very funny to begin with
And being a small business (co)owner, hiring a lawyer to defend myself against such accusations would be financially impossible. So as they say, if you can’t pay ‘em, join ‘em.
That’s right, folks, I bucked the Vegas odds and got myself a job. I do bookkeeping, billing, and et cetera for a local lawyer who specializes in (drum roll) … business litigation. For once, I havethe law on my side. He’s a good dude and a good lawyer, and I sincerely hope he’ll be in a good mood when the above-mentioned inevitable hits and I need him to do a bunch of lawyer shit for free.
He and I even have occasional discussions about literature, which sometimes seem at a premium down here.
One thing definitely not at a premium is heat. A couple weekends ago, while snow flurried in my hometown of Milwaukee and bone-chilling winds blew through my former adoptive hometown of Boston, it was still 91 in the shade down here. WriteByNight set up a tent at a local farmer’s market, and the Heat Index of 104 (no lie) had me sweating butter for five hours straight. I lost eleven pounds, but the workshop gained a couple of members, including the event coordinator.
We’ve also picked up a few clients for our copywriting/editing service, including a man who has opened the first all-green gas station in our county, something that Fringe followers can get behind. He asked us to write SEO copy for his website, so I quickly got to work. Professor Goldberg took the reins, however, after reading just one line, which I thought was sprinkled with the perfect amount of keywords: “Welcome to Stuart’s first all-green gas station and café, serving Stuart residents of Stuart with gas and café stuff in Stuart’s first all-green gas station and café in Stuart.”
I could go on for hours about the experiences we’ve had since starting this business—the wonderful people we’ve met, the bizarre people we’ve met, the silly assholes.
[Duhr uses the next eight lines to expound on some of the sillier of the assholes. Goldberg removes all eight lines for fear of pissing off the natives, and says "Why do I always have to monitor you?" Duhr apologizes, then asks for the bathroom pass]
I’ll check in after a couple workshop sessions, let you all know how it’s going. We’re very excited to finally start this little shindig, and we appreciate all of the advice and support that you Fringe readers have provided.
As far as reader participation this go-round, we are welcoming all comments and suggestions, from complimentary to seething with fury and/or moral outrage, about our website, in all of its glory and rudimentary design scheme.