where women can gather

 Via Flicker

Via Flicker

Today, I attended the Fresno Women’s Reading series 2nd annual Winter Community Reading. I’m always encouraged when I see other women organizing and participating in events such as these. I think this is important for visibility. It’s important that women in our community create their own events and projects. We can’t always wait around for powerful male writers to give us the opportunity to share our work.

 Via Fresno Women's Reading Series

Via Fresno Women's Reading Series

I especially enjoyed the fiction that my friend, Arielle Jones, read today. It was an excerpt from the novella she’s writing for her MFA thesis. She’ll be graduating from Fresno State's Creative Writing Program this year.  Her novella is a BDSM narrative through a black feminist lens. I was super happy to hear her read it because I’ve been thinking a lot about this genre of writing and why it’s so important for people of color to be able to write about sexuality and desire in such an open and powerful way. After the reading, I had a conversation with Arielle about her novella. She spoke about it with a lot of conviction, and this made me feel encouraged about my own work. It’s helping me feel a little more confident in what I’m doing. It makes me want to read some more of that book I started on New Year's Eve. It made me want to write this.

When women writers organize events, they create not only a large space where women can gather and listen, but also smaller, more intimate spaces where women can gather and listen to each other. The spaces may be fleeting, but the conversations may linger in unexpected ways.

Monique Quintana