Do you live in the Twin Cities and want to grow as a writer? Do you want to develop a novel, short story, or collection of poems? Or do you simply want to encourage Twin Cities Catholic artists by reading, editing, and discussing their work (non-Catholics also welcome!)? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, consider joining The Mezzo Consortium, our monthly creative writing workshop! You don’t need to be a professional writer or expert critic. Just come by our next meeting and check it out!
Back in October 2017, A friend and I were bemoaning how Catholics today don’t seem to be actively engaged in serious creative writing. Part of this may be due to a lack of internal support (support in the Church) for such writers. Part of this may come from the fact that many Catholics, while very interested in discussing beauty and exegeting the beautiful, don’t prioritize the co-creative activity of making beautiful things as part of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of a creative God. To respond to both of these, we started up a (monthly) writing group!
Since then, we’ve worked with more than 30 writers, who have submitted more than 2000 pages of writing to the workshop. We’ve read drafts for more than 10 novels, 15 short stories, 45 poems, 12 works of narrative nonfiction (including a memoir), and a play. Our first goal is to just have a space where Catholics feel encouraged and inspired to write creative works. From there, we help one another workshop stories, develop our craft, and increase quality. We want to ultimately have high-quality work, whether the work is for ourselves or for the sake of publication.
The monthly group has roughly this format: 3 or so people will submit creative pieces, and we’ll meet to critique and discuss. Participants are expected to submit written comments for each piece prior to each meeting. We’ll also discuss issues related to publishing as they arise.
We typically meet in a cozy Saint Paul living room. But due to COVID, meetings will be either over Zoom, or in-person with a Zoom option.
To quote Marilynne Robinson, “I write from a religious perspective because I have a religious perspective, and I don’t assume it for the purposes of fiction.” We’re not so much interested in writing about Catholic subjects as we are just telling good stories. So while we’re open to explicitly religious writing, that probably won’t be our focus.
Also invite friends! Also, while this will probably be mainly Catholic writers, it certainly doesn’t have to be only Catholic writers! We’re very open to other writers who, at the very least, have an appreciation for the integration of faith and writing and will be comfortable writing in a setting with a particular emphasis on Catholicism and creativity.
“Nel mezzo del camin di nostra vita…” – opening line of Dante’s Commedia