On April 9th, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Harrisonburg C. S. Lewis Society at their local Barnes & Noble. The group, founded by Will Vaus, was attentive and lively-- we had a terrific evening.
I enjoyed the fact that this Barnes & Noble did not shove the group off into a little side room, but provided comfortable chairs right in the store for my presentation and book signing. People could easily drift in and out of the conversation, and I appreciated the openness of the setting.
I was also glad that the first question following my talk wasn't a request for more details about the Inklings, but a plea for advice: how can writers today do what the Inklings did? Bring part of a writing group has so many advantages, but it can be difficult to start and sustain a group that really works. I reminded them that the Inklings started small, established rituals and routines, met every single week, balanced support with criticism and advice, and were choosy about adding new members. Those components seem to make a big difference in the health and longevity of a group.
Thanks to the Harrisonburg CSL Society for their warm hospitality. And kudos to Barnes & N oble for supporting writers, readers, and reading groups.