The Crunchable Colloquium

This actually happened! There was a cake and everything!

Last Friday was a whole lot of fun.

The day marked, depending on how you’re counting, either the Second Annual Crunchable Anniversary Reading (Crunchable turns 11 years old next month) or, more precisely, the first-ever Crunchable Colloquium at the Rose O’Neill Literary House.

We teamed up with the Lit House staff and the Writers’ Union, both at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, on a great event that was one part reading, one part roundtable discussion, and one part catered reception — which included the first-ever rendering of the big Crunchable “C” in cake form.

I need to thank a whole bunch of people who helped make this happen, including:

  • Jehanne Dubrow, director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House, who took a cold call from me a year ago, listened to my pitch, and liked the idea enough to stick with it over all these months. Her vision helped us build this little celebration into something that could actually contribute to the academic life of the campus, which is more than I could have asked for.
  • Owen Bailey, Lit House administrative assistant, for doing a lot of the logistical heavy lifting (figurative as well as literal), for helping us get set up last Friday, and for being a very welcoming host.
  • Valerie Dunn, Writers’ Union spokesperson, and Maddie Zins, vice spokesperson, who graciously agreed to moderate our roundtable discussion about what it’s like to be a writer in this weird “real world” beyond the campus limits. They asked some great questions, ranging from what habits and techniques we use to keep ourselves writing, to how we feel about freelance writing and self-publishing, to why the heck this site is called “Crunchable.”
  • Kathryn Bursick, who had been the Lit House’s assistant director until just a few weeks ago, and who made nearly all of the arrangements for Friday’s event — including finding space for several of us to stay overnight on campus!
  • All of our readers — Molly Weeks Crumbley, Mike Meagher, Annie Woodall, Kevin Brotzman, Melissa Pasterkiewicz Reddish, and Stephanie Fowler — who took time to prepare these selections, got all the way to Chestertown on a Friday afternoon, and then offered a lot of great perspective in our discussion.
  • All the spouses, friends, Writers’ Union members, students, and others who came out to the event, for being a great audience.
  • The Washington College Dining Services team, for setting up a very nice spread and for finding a baker to make that great cake.


There’s only one bit of business that remains: We want to leave something extra behind for all the students who participated.

We compiled a list of resources we’ve used to help keep us connected with other writers and with venues for publishing our work; many of them are local. One of my only regrets from last Friday is that we ran out of time to share them during the event — so here they are now! The file (view it as a slideshow or download the PDF) also has all the images we showed on the projection screen during the event, which is mostly a gallery of photos from our own college years.

And speaking of photos, we have a bunch more pictures from Friday’s event over at our new Shutterfly page. (Thanks, Molly!)

Again, thanks so much to everybody! We really must do this again sometime soon.

Article © 2012 by Michael Duck