Brown Bag Anniversary: An Interview with Judy Reeves by Adria Britton
17 November 2013
Location: On a couch, sipping tea
Thinking about: The Brown Bag Anniversary
Mother packs a lunch for me, and hides it in a brown lunch-bag. Going to school and reaching into that bag elicits a tinge of fear mingled with hope for a delectable meal.
Though the Brown Bag Writing Group events at the Ink Spot do not entail reaching into crumpled bags to find food, they do entail reaching into brown bags…reaching into brown bags to pull out a slip of paper with a writing prompt.
Like children and their lunch-bag feelings, participants in Brown Bag events experience a mild nervousness coupled with an exciting hope—for, when they remove their hands, they find themselves grasping the topic they must write about. Spontaneity prompts a unique aspect of creativity, and the writings produced at Brown Bag events contain that fun and brilliant creativity.
This month’s Brown Bag event not only involves the usual routine of taking a prompt and promptly writing about it, but also features a 20-year celebration! Twenty years of encouraging minds to release unexpected stories, twenty years of friendly gatherings of writers, and twenty years of spontaneous creativity. Cake and candles, friendly faces, brown-bags, and twenty prompts!—come and enjoy the party!
Judy Reeves, the Brown Bag overseer, answered a few questions I posed, in order to show some of the benefits of attending the Brown Bag Anniversary!
1.) What do you enjoy most about the Brown Bag events?
I love the camaraderie—writers coming together to be with other writers, and the stories that come from those writers gathering around the table together each week.
2.) How do you help participants when they find it difficult to write on a particular prompt?
We always read the “Rules for Writing” before we begin so that writers know they’re free to write anything they want, (even “the worst junk in America”). We don’t help writers with a particular prompt, we just encourage them to get out of the way and let the story find its way on the page and to love the surprises. I think this is one of the things that makes Brown Bag and other writing practice groups successful—there’s no judgment, no critique, and no feedback on the writing. We each just do our own work, read it aloud if we want, and stay present to be silent support and witness to others’ process.
3.) What is the richest outcome of Brown Bag events that participants usually take away?
Again, I think it’s the sense of community—that we’re not alone in creating our work, even though the work we do is solitary. It’s a feeling of being with your own kind and receiving the support that goes along with it. And, if a writer happens to get a really good scene or maybe be gifted with a poem, then how great is that?
4.) What part of the Brown Bag 20th Anniversary Celebration do you look forward to most?
I’m looking forward to all of it. The day-long Brown Bag sessions, hour-by-hour of writing together and the reading that evening when we get to share some of our work and acknowledge our more than 1000 Brown Bag sessions, or maybe just the part of being with others who love this kind of writing community. Or it could be the cake!
In addition to answering these questions, Judy penned the Brown Bag history on her website: http://judyreeveswriter.com/. I encourage you to read the account so you can gain a better understanding of the importance behind this event!
Some more fun facts to entice YOU to come:
- The Brown Bag Writing Group has met 1034 times! That is evidence of success!
- As mentioned once or twice, there will be cake.
- Writers make for good friends—and this event is designed for those people who enjoy writing.
- Brown Bag Attendees can bring and read any piece they have written during past Brown Bag sessions.
The day will be challenging, yet relaxed; mentally demanding, yet fun—do not miss out on this unique opportunity.
For more information, and to sign up for the celebration, visit our website: http://www.sandiegowriters.org/brown-bag-20th-anniversary-celebration/
Adria Britton currently interns at San Diego Writers, Ink. She is majoring in creative writing and minoring in non-profit organization business management at Point Loma Nazarene University. She has traveled extensively, including an experience living abroad in Chile for a semester to learn Spanish and invest her time into a new community. You can contact Adria at: firstname.lastname@example.org