Breakfast at the Canadiana

I hate getting up early on a Saturday morning but, once a month, at 9am, the Writers and Editors Network meets for breakfast in an old Etobicoke restaurant at Six Points Plaza. I’ve been going to these breakfasts for the past several months and it’s starting to pay off.

Let me back up. Before the breakfast in question, I happened upon an ad for a writing workshop at the tiny Humber Bay branch of the Toronto Public Library and decided to go. I’d never been to this tiny branch (according to the description on the TPL site, it seats eleven. Eleven!) and I was happy to see that several other people had shown up for the event.

The Process of Writing by Anubha Mehta
The Process of Writing by Anubha Mehta, presented at the Humber Bay branch of the Toronto Public Library

Out presenter and facilitator, Anubha Mehta, was excellent and, afterwards, there was some discussion about more workshops at the branch in the new year. Anubha expressed interest in also starting up a writer’s group and there was great excitement.

One of the woman who showed up, Heather, mentioned that she was a member of the Writers and Editors Network and we agreed to chat more at the next breakfast.

So, despite the slush and snow and the early morning, I dutifully rose, showered, dressed, and made my way to the Canadiana. I’m so glad that I did.

The speaker(s) was a collective of thirteen mystery writers, all women, who go by the name of The Mesdames of Mayhem. They write novels and short stories, teach writing through various venues, and also publish an anthology of short stories for which they are currently accepting submissions. I don’t focus on mystery writing but it might be fun to try my hand at it.

For more information on what they spoke about during their visit, WEN has posted a good synopsis.

The Mesdames are an example of a good writers’ group. They have been together for many years, supporting and pushing each other along through the tough times and celebrating each other’s successes. It’s a love story.

This is my dream – to form a fiction writing group of like minded writers who are serious about writing and aren’t afraid of critique.

Heather introduced me to another writer/editor from WEN living in the Mimico area (Barb) who is also interested in creating a group in January, after the obligations of Christmas have passed.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to put this thing together and find a few more writers in the area to join in.

I’m excited. Having the possibility of group starting up in January has already provided me to with a deadline for firming up my latest novel synopsis and spitting out a new draft in preparation for readings.

Are you a fiction writer in the Mimico area interested in forming a writing group? If so, let me know in the comments.

A Writer’s Breakfast

I did it. Despite the rain and and wind and the chill, I made my way to the Canadiana Restaurant near the Kipling subway station to the WEN Writer’s Breakfast Meeting.

I’m not sure what I was expecting.

When I first arrived, I was confused. The restaurant was empty. Had I come to the right place? Did I get the date wrong? After staking out the place for a good ten minutes, I saw people entering the building and not coming out so I went in as well. There were stairs at the entrance leading to the basement, a glow of light at the bottom. Down I went.

The popcorn ceiling was low, the lights incandescent. It smelled a bit musty as basements do. There was a podium off to the side with a mic attached. The round banquet tables were already nearly full.

I stood in line to pay the twenty five dollar fee and when asked for my name, the man nodded enthusiastically as if he already knew who I was. For a few brief moments, I felt famous. A woman strode toward me and shook my hand and the man gave her my name and she said I’d be sitting at table one with her and a couple of other people who, like me, found the event via Meetup. It was their first time trying out the site in a quest for new blood and they were excited by its success.

Everyone was quite friendly. The food was typical breakfast buffet fare – scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, French toast, pastries and fruit, etc and of typical quality as well. The buffet was run by a solitary women that everyone called by her first name. The coffee was good.

The speaker was Patricia Pearson and she spoke about the challenges that come with writing about people we love and how she navigates it with her own noteworthy family. She sat at table one as well where the conversation centered around the royal wedding, who saw it, what people wore, hat critiques, and the like.

Mostly, there was a lot of visiting. This was exactly what I had in mind – people to chat with that were involved in writing in one way or the other. No pressure to be “on”. No ass kissing or secret handshakes. It was nice.

I’m going back next month.