7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Blue Owl Coffee

1149 S. Washington Ave.

Click here for event page

Band together in an army of pens and pencils to take down writers block.

“If you are by yourself, you have no one to turn to. It is just you and your inner critic, and your inner critic will be the nastiest person you know,” said event organizer and director of the Reo Town Reading Series Matthew Rossi.

The REO Town Reading Series is a monthly event with a blend of amateur and established writers being granted adequate space and time to recite their fiction, Rossi said.

As part of its summer program, this will be the second Shut Up and Write of the season.

“I think writing is an inherently social activity, because you are writing with the idea of another person in mind ─ the reader.”

Broken up using the Pomodoro Technique, the event features repeating 25-minute chunks of writing, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of talking with peers about the ideas on paper.

“The act of sitting in a room full of people writing is really nourishing,” Rossi said. “Writing feels like it is really solitary, and having people around who are other writers helps people know that they aren't writing alone: They are a part of a community.”

Rossi will act as a writing consultant throughout the event for those looking to receive feedback on their work. “I’ll talk people through questions of what I’m experiencing as a reader. My goal is to get you from wherever you are to what the next step is,” he said.

Moving to Lansing from Brooklyn, Rossi said he started the REO Town Reading Series after observing the lack of networking and creative outlets in Lansing’s diverse literary community.

Blue Owl Coffee’s support for cultural events attracted Rossi to have it host, he said. “When I first pitched the idea, I thought I would have to do a little convincing,” Rossi said.

“One of the owners was behind the bar and I said, ‘Hey I was thinking about starting a reading series,’ and he said, ‘When did you want to do it?’ End of conversation.”

Prompts are available for those that don’t know where to start writing, Rossi said.

“You can use a pen, paper, laptop or crayon. If you write in tattoo, bring a tattoo gun. Bring an idea … and even if you don't have one, an open mind.”

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