Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dallas Writer’s Garret back and better than ever

Thea Temple
Dallas literary institution, the Writer’s Garret, welcomed a standing-room crowd to its new quarters at Metropolitan Press, 1250 Majesty Dr., with an open house, readings, and discounts on new classes Saturday. A change in ownership of the building in the Lochwood neighborhood that the Garret had shared with the Lucky Dog bookstore last December, a move I announced in a December 8, 2016, post at this site, “The end is nigh – make way for the beginnings.”

John and Marquetta Tilton, owners of Lucky Dog and its sister store, Paperbacks Plus, had given the Garret a home since its inception in the mid-1990’s by Thea Temple and her late husband, former Texas poet laureate Jack Myers. The Tiltons were on hand Saturday to wish the Garret well in its new home. (Lucky Dog remains in business at the Lochwood address, as well as in Oak Cliff and – under the Paperbacks Plus name – in Mesquite.)

The Garret’s new space at Metropolitan Press includes office, reception, and supply space, as well as a common room where the open house was help, and other spaces shared with Metropolitan Press’s other tenants. In addition to printing services, Metropolitan Press provides office space for a number of nonprofit organizations, and a rotating gallery of work by local artists.

Thea Temple, now the Garret’s executive director, introduced a panel of writers – some fostered by the Garret – several of whom will be conducting classes this spring – beginning February 11 with a workshop on partner zines led by poet/zine maker Lisa Huffaker. (Registration for Huffaker’s workshop closes tomorrow, February 8. Cost is $45 for Garret members, $60 for nonmembers. See the Garret’s site for membership and registration.)

Although the Garret has a special place for poets (Although the Garret has a special place for poets (“Jack won my heart by reading poetry to me over the phone,” Temple said) its classes cover a number of other genres.

l-r, Randel, McCullagh, Young, Kent
Additional February classes/workshops for writers are “Poetic Imitation & Innovation,” February 13, led by poet/creative writing instructor Logen Cure; Storytelling for Nonprofits and Grant Writers, February 18, with Robin Myrick; and “The Elements of Creative Writing,” February 21, with Darcy Young.

Later this spring, editor/blogger/memoirist Melissa T. Schultz, teaches “Finding Your Voice,” March 4 and historical novelist Weina Dai Randel, (author of The Empress of Bright Moon and The Moon in the Palace) teaches “Strategies in Writing the First Ten Pages” April 30.

Other authors on the panel – fostered by the Garret and past or possible future instructors --- were book artist Kendra Greene, essayist/novelist Julianne McCullagh (The Narrow Gate), actor/playwright Erin Burdette, and New York Times bestselling novelist Kathleen Kent (The Heretic’s Daughter and others), reading from her latest novel, The Dime.

“I wrote three books of historical fiction that did very well,” Kent told the crowd, “so it made sense that I would jump off the tracks and write crime (in The Dime, based on a character she invented for a short story anthology.)”

Randel lauded Kent’s instruction in a previous class at the Garret, leading Temple to speculate that the group could lure her back for a repeat.

In addition to classes for writers, the Garret also offers programs for readers, adult learners, children and schools, and the community. See the site for complete information.

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