"It's the fire in your belly that drives you to do anything," says Zimmerman. "And we'll see if I have it."
Gayle Zimmerman was perusing the cookie selection at Two Fat Cookies in Delray Beach for a Passover Seder when she noticed a flyer for a PBC Writers Workshop. She went on the website to check it out and a few days later found herself sitting at a long table among nine other writers at Max's Social House.
"It was serendipitous," says Zimmerman. "It's something I've wanted to do since high school, but you know, life happens." Zimmerman mainly writes for business purposes and is looking to hone her skills and see if she can apply creative writing to her work. "It'll give me a chance to explore things that maybe I've missed out on. And Delray Beach is a paradise — the perfect place to find my passion."
Nico Cassanetti and James White lead the six- to eight-week long workshops. Both are recent graduates of Florida Atlantic University's MFA program in creative writing. Cassanetti is primarily a prose writer and White is a poet, their varying styles allowing the workshop to differ from most others.
"We can argue about a manuscript in front of each other and show that it's okay to disagree on writing," says Cassanetti. "More often than not, we both have different suggestions for the writing and can offer a new perspective."
Their aim is to prove that there is no single audience, and that they don't really believe in genre, either.
The PBC Writers' mission is to help people find a community of fellow writers and - most importantly - readers. Writers exchange pieces via email. Cassanetti and White have constructed a format for participants to follow on how to write feedback, give constructive criticism, and make suggestions for revisions.
"We want writers to leave feeling encouraged about their work," says Cassanetti. "The discussions we have during workshop will help them see what's working, and what's not."
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It is the hope of the PBC Writers that group members will send each other work and keep each other motivated even after the classes end, as it can be hard for a writer to go it alone.
Cassanetti and White can also help with submitting work into the abyss of literary journals and contests, as they are both published authors. White is currently an editor for 3 Elements Review, a quarterly journal that accepts poetry, fiction, art, and photography.
As writers, the two feel it is exceptionally important to build relationships and readerships between people who might never find one another if they didn't end up in the same workshop together.
"Teaching creative writing inspires me to write," Cassanetti adds. "But more than that, it makes me feel like we are doing something for the community at large. I think that's what this is all about: bringing people together who love writing."
PBC Writers offers workshops and classes throughout Palm Beach County and Broward County. For more information on the instructors and their upcoming PBC Writer's classes, workshops, and events, visit pbcwriters.com. You can follow Nico Cassanetti and James White on Facebook.