Published on September 19th, 2019 | by Elizabeth Tettleton0
Local Creative Writing Groups “The Oxford Comma” and “Quasar” Host Open House Reception at The Edison September 30
Our arts scene is vibrantly stagnant. We have a home for MFA students, publishing authors, creative writing professors, and bright eyed undergrads—but one sector is hungry for community. The non-university workshop environment for non-students is nearly nonexistent. The inclusive creative growth of literature has not been available for the 22–45 year olds of Oxford until the last year and a half. But sadly, many still aren’t aware that are two new literary focused environments welcome to all ages and backgrounds and completely free to attend.
The Oxford Comma is a creative writing workshop group that meets every other Monday at The Coop, located on the fourth floor of the Graduate Hotel. The group welcomes anyone wanting feedback on their creative writing, and happens to be run by me. It was originally started by my friend Savannah Suttle before she relocated to Seattle. I felt that Oxford needed what the workshop provided—a safe place to find others who want to read creative work—instead of begging friends and family to do so or enrolling in a full-fledged university course.
With the death of Rose Room (an indie music series in a house on Pierce Avenue), and the recent demise of Freddy’s Basement (a similar, indie music, house-show scene), my friends Mattie Thrasher and Katherine Flannagin were facing a problem that The Oxford Comma also faces. Their literary + art show program, Quasar, that meets monthly, had not only outgrown their house with attendance, but faced pressing issues like expenses and their impending graduation from Ole Miss. If they didn’t come up with a sustainability plan, Quasar would pass on just like Rose Room and Freddy’s Basement.
Mattie, Katherine, and I knew that sustaining The Oxford Comma and Quasar for the long run would not be doable without the help of others. We formed a committee of our active members and set to work applying for a grant with the Mississippi Writer’s Guild with the intent of requesting funds to be used to host an open house reception to welcome curious potential members in Oxford and surrounding areas. In addition, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has supported our endeavors with providing guidance, venues, and publicizing our events.
Through our host of other sponsors like The Edison and Wonderbird Spirits, we are able to offer craft gin distilled in Taylor, Mississippi, inside of a fantastic venue as well as host the 2019–20 Grisham Writer in Residence January O’Neil as our keynote literary offering. We are inviting you to an evening of hors d’oeuvres, literature, music, and art in an open environment where you can learn what Quasar and The Oxford Comma bring to the community. Please bring friends, family, workmates, you name it.
After our open house, The Oxford Comma and Quasar are working with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council to put on a segment during A Literary Bit of Faulkner—a weekend packed with activities centered on the art of literature and whiskey, two of Faulkner’s favorites. The event will be held October 10–14, 2019—check out Facebook for more details.
The Open House will be on September 30, 6:30–8:30 pm at The Edison on University Avenue. This is a free event, welcome to all those interested in a fun evening of art and to inform the community on our two programs.
There will be music from Silas Reed and Jesse Gillentine, art by Seth Kellum, Jake Brown, and Adrienne Brown David, and our Featured Reader: January O’Neil (2019 UM Grisham Writer in Residence)!
Mississippi Writer’s Guild, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, The Edison (Lindsey and Phil Baquie), Wonderbird Spirits, Chicory Market, Frye Reeves PLLC, Tannehill Carmean and McKenzie PLLC, Square Books,Ole Miss English Department