Top 5 Lessons from Danger Close

When you come to an event with other strangers, it’s not usual to walk away feeling closer to everyone who attended, but that’s what Danger Close does.

Once a month, the back room at Hearth provides writers with an atmosphere that is cozy yet still very open. Its big glass windows and closely arranged wooden chairs in front of tables set up in a horseshoe welcome you. Upon first glance at the other faces in the room, some may be recognizable and some not, a standard by virtue of living in Anchorage. Perhaps you invited a friend or family member to join you, but most come solo.

You pick a chair and chat a bit before the pizza comes in waves. Maybe you have a glass of water or order a beer, and then the work begins. You tell about what brought you to the class and introduce yourself to the other writers. Whether you are published or have never put pen to paper for the purpose of composition, the prompts will stimulate you to write. During this workshop you’re also given the chance to share what you’ve written with the others in the room. That’s the magic. Community emerges during storytelling.

Danger Close is a joint project of 49 Writers and the Alaska Humanities Forum. The purpose of this writing workshop is to build community and to forge connections between military and civilian participants. After each session, we ask our writers to put their thoughts in a survey, and that has revealed some surprising things about Danger Close:

Writing can be easy.

Writing happens easily when you’re directed by an instructor. The prompts can at times be provocative – which provides a chance to look at things from a different perspective, and to bring in new creativity to your writing. The room becomes full of ideas and everyone works hard with the prompts which can serve as a base for future work.

It’s not intimidating.

A writing class might seem intimidating, but this one is not. It is very open and non-judgmental. It gives the ability for a room full of strangers to come together and share their stories. How easy it is in a group to overcome fear, sit down and write. It’s simply heartwarming.

So much happens in a short time.

It’s a short time frame that opens up amazing and diverse writing opportunities. In just a few hours you’ve been able to write pages and pages.

You get to listen to stories.

This is an amazing way to get inspired to not only write but be curious about all the stories every person in Anchorage carries around. Who knew?

We are all writers.

It can connect a community, unity through writing. You don't have to consider yourself a writer to enjoy this class. At the end it feels as if you’ve made friends and have written something worth sharing.

Registration opens for each class of the series shortly before the class. For more information, check the Forum's Events page, or with 49 Writers.


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