We are no longer meeting at Borders Wilton.
The immediate details: there is no cause for alarm! Until we find a new public venue, we will be meeting at Al's, Carol's, or John Palisano's. All 3 are close to Route 1 in Norwalk. Our next meeting—March 25—will be held at Al's; we will CONTINUE to meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, and we will send out an announcement designating our meeting spot for the next couple of months or so as soon as we get it locked down. In general, I feel—and so do the other seven people who gathered last night—that this is a positive step for Pencils!, that it is time for us to take the next step so we can continue to grow and foster our sense of community and art. We don't feel that this is anything that should be looked upon as negative.Not to fear! Our next meeting will be TUESDAY, MARCH 25, AT AL'S at 7 p.m.!! Carol and John Palisano have also opened up their homes until we find a new place to meet. One additional note on meeting in people's homes: we will be treating this as though we are still meeting at a public place. In other words, just do whatever you've always done to prepare for meetings. We'll start promptly at 7, stop right at 9:30 or spill over until 10. We will not be making this into a "party" atmosphere because it's in someone's home; we are working writers, and we need to get work done!
We have formed "The Official Ad-Hoc Re-location/Location Committee". Committee members were simply whoever had showed up for the meeting, so don't feel bad if you weren't consulted. Members are: Dave, Jerry, Joyce, Matt, Claudia, Maria, Carol, Kaye, and Al (who wasn't there but, since we wanted to know if we could meet at his house for the next meeting, he was phoned in). We outlined criteria for a new location, and then drafted a long list of possibilities. Each member took a couple of locations and will make exploratory calls. The new meeting place, we decided, MUST meet the following criteria, and these were all based on things we DIDN'T like at Borders.
1. Good hours. We can now meet from 7 to 9:30 (hard stop at 9:30, if we have to go until 10, then we have time).
2. Privacy. We recognize that at times we are loud and either discuss or present material that may not be appropriate for a general audience. In addition, we do not want our meeting interrupted by customers.
3. Accessability. It should be not too far from anyone and relatively easy to get to.
4. Parking. There must be plenty of parking. Borders' parking was awful.
5. Cost. Is there a charge to meet there? If there is, can we absorb the cost? Is it a place where we must buy coffee/donuts to make the location more amenable to hosting us?
6. Ease. Is it comfortable to sit in? Does it have bathrooms that are decent? Do we feel at home there? This, too, will be a step up from where we were. Also, we shouldn't have to ask anyone to "set up". That system really didn't work well.
A number of suggestions—in fact, at least a dozen—were bandied about last night. So we've got a great starting point, and what's even more important, we've got the time to look. Al, Carol, and John P have graciously offered to host for as long as needed. The committee will do its research, and then we'll compile a list of the most viable options and narrow them down. My personal guess? The right place is going to end up in our laps.If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me.
Happy writing, and see you on March 25!!