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Writing Pad: The Pen is Mightier than the Swizzle Stick

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Peanut butter has jelly and bacon has eggs, so why not make a go of pairing writers with food? Well, that's one of the underlying philosophies of the workshops offered through Writing Pad. Writers hungry for a comfortable and inspiring environment to sharpen their skills, rejuvenate their creativity, or hurdle over their writer's block can take advantage of a variety of single or serialized classes that are rounded out with catered tasting plates, desserts, and beverages.

Recently we had the opportunity to sit in on such a workshop, at the last meeting in the "Writing Cocktail Party" series. The workshops are held in the Silver Lake home of Writing Pad's founder and instructor Marilyn Friedman, who ensures that her attendees feel welcome and comfortable both physically and creatively. One emphasis of Writing Pad's classes is the relaxed and nurturing atmosphere, which helps facilitate both the freewriting responses to the given exercises and the voluntary sharing of the work produced in the class. Friedman, who taught the course we took part in, took great care to have us remain focused on the positive, and did not force anyone to read their work aloud, or even for us to adhere to the parameters of the numerous exercise options we were given. The exercises were drawn upon the evening's theme of "Miss Manners" and the pre-writing included looking at some published works Friedman provided, but there was no pressure to follow any given tone, form, or style of response. Listening to the other writers' work was, as it often is in a writing group, an act of witnessing a living tableau of creative possibility. Oh, and did we mention the food?

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The evening we participated in the class we snacked on a tomaquet (grilled bread with tomato and serrano ham), roasted potatoes with romesco and saffron aoli, Spanish salad, and for dessert a flourless chocolate cake with olive oil ice cream (a modern twist on picatostes, a traditional tapas dessert, toasted white bread topped with bittersweet chocolate and drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, pictured). The savory plates were enhanced by a diminutive glass of Springtime Sangria, which was enough of a taste to get our juices flowing, but not enough to impair our impending drive home or the handling of our pen--this is not the Bukowski School of Writing, to be certain! Dessert came at the halfway point's breaktime, whereupon we enjoyed the opportunity to chat with the class members, many of whom had enjoyed forming a bond throughout their experience in the series of classes.

While there are indeed a plethora of classes available to writers in LA, we can appreciate Writing Pad's emphasis on the safe environment, as well as the delectable added touch of the tasty food and drink. Currently there are several courses on deck at Writing Pad, including an expansion to include art workshops in a series called "So You Want to Be an Artiste?" which runs May 2-June 27. Other upcomping offerings include the 5-week "Freestyle Fiction and Memoir," "Flash Fiction" (1 night only) and "Saturday Morning Cartoons: Writing for Animation and Kids" (as a 5-week series and a 1 day intensive). For more information, contact Marilyn at (323) 644-0779.

Photos courtesy Marilyn Friedman/Writing Pad