The First Meeting
Christine Marie Bryant is the founder of this organization. Without her vision, it would not exist. She started it through Meetup.com, creating it on December 31, 2009. I happen to have the dubious distinction of being the first member to join that meetup group. I wanted to start off 2010 by making a resolution to start writing again. On January 4, 2010, Christine posted three Meetup.com messages to me regarding the first meeting.
Christine started this group with the same concept we use today. In her first ever message to me, she laid out the concept (see image). She followed that up with another message which read: “As far as Agenda, I’m thinking .. 1) Introductions 2) a member reads 3) group gives feedback 4) another member reads 5) group gives feedback ~ so on and so forth”. Her vision was realized from the first meeting, and this format has proven successful. Our membership increased every year, expanding into other states and to other groups here in California. As the group expanded beyond the borders of the San Gabriel Valley, I had occasion to think back to the first CHWG meeting I attended, back in 2010.
When I walked into the small coffee shop in San Dimas, CA, I was welcomed by Christine personally, and by the rest of the group seated around the table. I had at that time, no formal critique experience, and I brought nothing to read. I just wanted to put myself into a situation where I was exposed to and could talk with other writers. What I experienced was so much more. I was impressed by the style of writing and the content of the stories that were shared that day. I did not read anything that meeting, but I did give my honest feedback to each writer.
Since that day, I have had many life experiences that prevented my attendance in every meeting. With the recent expansion of CHWG into Long Beach, I have the opportunity to join the group meeting every Wednesday night. Working in the LA/LB harbor, my two hour commute precluded any opportunity to make other meeting times. So I am very pleased to be back among gifted writers. And I count myself fortunate. I’ve lost count of how many fantastic people I had the pleasure to meet over the past five years through CHWG. I have enjoyed meeting them, and getting to know them better through their writing and critiques. I highly encourage anyone reading this to come join us for at least one meeting. You’ll be hooked. I promise.