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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.