The second you step into Muse Writers Center you know that you’re welcome. You enter through the library, a small but dense collection of useful and loved volumes ranging from how-to guides to poetry collections. Comfy chairs and tables are organized in a tiny arrangement, inspiring one to pluck a book from the shelf right then and curl up for a little reading time.
As you walk back through the hallway, passing classrooms and writing rooms, the hallway opens up into an all-purpose room. When I saw it, it was set up for readings; chairs pointed towards a podium. But you can easily see the space used for small circles, interactive brainstorming, or even throw some pillows and blankets down for an informal chat.
The details are what really encourages creativity. White boards and chalk boards cover surfaces, inviting doodles, designs and diagrams. The walls are covered in quotes about the power of words, creativity, and expression. The wall art consisted of magazine collages, obviously lovingly crafted by some of the youth who attend the Muse for classes or gatherings.
Practically everything in the Muse Writers Center has a small plaque on or near it, acknowledging the donor who made it possible for attendees to enjoy that particular item. The clocks are sponsored. The shelves are sponsored. The lamps are sponsored. It might cross one’s mind that it seems silly to sponsor something you could pick up for $20 at Walmart, but as you start to see the names of friends and neighbors you realize how much of a true community facility this is.
There are a lot of ways to be part of the Muse Writers Center community, and you don’t necessarily have to be a writer to jump in. Of course if you are a writer, there are classes covering almost all forms of writing from casual journaling to real talk about how to get published and everything in between.
If you’re interested in other forms of expression, Muse Writers Center also offers interviewing classes, book making, screenplay writing, comedy, songwriting, film studies, and even personal growth groups.
Kids and teens have options too. This is a particular source of pride for Michael Khandelwal, the Executive Director of the Muse Writers Center. He describes as the Muse as an opportunity for teens to gain guidance, not necessarily harsh critique. They write, and through the practice and feedback they practically “enter college as a master writer,” says Khandelwal. “You have to practice. The more you do the better you get.”
If you’re not ready to commit to a class, there are plenty of readings, coffee breaks, and other programs available for you to try.
Visit Muse Writers Center online at the-muse.org, on Facebook, or drop by! The new facility is located at 2200 Colonial Ave. Suite #3, right next door to the Mambo Room. Spring classes are enrolling now. And if you join one of the fiction classes, you’ll see me there!