Finding my Neighborhood

I thought about getting artsy or poetic with this submission but at the end of the day, I’m a cheesehead (in more ways than one) and am still riding that gratitude kick from Thanksgiving. I wanted to take the opportunity to share my Writers Blok story and how the neighborhood of people surrounding it has impacted me.

When I moved to LA in the fall of 2018, I had no idea what the next year of my life would hold. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long to find Writers Blok. On my second day in town, I scored an interview with a man named Paul Shirley for an internship at this new-fangled thing called a “Co-Writing Space”. As an aspiring writer and long time intern/assistant, I was thrilled. My fiance and I drove together because the thought of driving from Glendale to Culver City by myself almost drove me to a panic attack. And then he just waited in the car because we didn’t know how to decipher the parking signs and were too broke to get a ticket.

I walked through the front gate and shook hands with the tallest man I had ever seen and before I knew it, he was teaching me the ropes and asking me when I could start. It happened fast.

As the months passed, I slowly got to know a lot of the members and developed my own group of regulars. I started to develop my own neighborhood: my people in a town where I had no people. Writers Blok has gifted me a community that loved what I loved, a staff that shared my values and an ability for me to pay my rent every month.

Here’s how I knew Writers Blok was my place…

  1. It’s all about growth. I’m at a place in my life where I can acknowledge I know nothing and this space is magical because ego is banished and learning is encouraged. With each workshop that I take and conversation that I have, I learn something new. Don’t print your scripts double-sided. How to give notes differently to different people. If you’re going to make fancy fruit water, you want at least two fruits and some herbs in there.
  2. Empathy runs rampant. When I’m having a bad day, I look forward to going to Writers Blok and telling my friends about my day. I look forward to hearing about their days and keeping up with their lives, their kids and (most importantly) their most recent dog pictures.
  3. A universal love of story. For the last few months, I have been running Thursday Night Table Reads, where I get to share some of my favorite television shows and have intelligent and fun conversations with people who share my passions.
  4. It feels like home. I know I’m not alone in this one. Walking into Writers Blok feels like a breath of fresh air — a familiar cozy space that I am deeply in love with.

I found my neighborhood at Writers Blok and I am in constant gratitude because of it.

If you’ve survived all the sentimentality, here’s a funny anecdote. On my first day of training, Paul and Jamie sent me out to copy some keys. I found a place on Google Maps and it was only a mile away so I decided to walk — an obvious giveaway that I was new to town. I walked through the neighborhood: past The Mandrake and Howling Juice; past that paint store on the corner; past the bus stop of people waiting; started getting deeper into a residential neighborhood of small houses and was pretty confused. My GPS said I had arrived at the key copy place — but in front of me was just a plot of empty land, decorated with a few pieces of plywood. I looked around and there was nothing. Like, actually nothing. Unless there was some magic staircase that led to an underground key copying business, I wasn’t going to be able to get my key copied. So, I jogged back to my car and drove to the nearest KeyMe location and got my keys. Two hours after I had left Writers Blok, I returned. Not the best first impression. But, I was lucky enough that Paul and Jamie found it reason to laugh — not means for immediate termination.

The following week, I learned that the 7-Eleven a block away from Writers Blok has a key copier. And Big Gulps. And if you know me, you know Big Gulps are extremely important to me — almost as important as Writers Blok.


A place for Writers Blok members to share their work.

Sierra DuCharme-Hansen

Written by


A place for Writers Blok members to share their work.

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