After taking the Holidays off to let us all just glide, I went out on 2015's First Monday night for Mac And Cheese (it's a verb)** and some great "reader-writers."Singer-songwriters abound in Portland, and along side them are the equally talented writers of prose and poetry--men and women who have a story.  And dammit, they're going to tell it.  What better place than at a former Longfellow Square bookstore--now Longfellow Kitchen--on a cold, slick-sidewalk Monday night in January.  With about 100 of your closest friends and some great beer. LFK is at the funky corner of Congress, Pine and State Streets.

As the place filled around 8:30 p.m., I heard bits of conversation about writing, and was not alone in my quest: there were almost as many writers in the place as there were people--virtually all of us there--and as many people who write about writers as writers reading their writing. Really.  Reviewing writing/reading hotspots has long been a big deal in Portland with enough material to support writers like me. Readings, poetry slams, book release parties, seminars on how to get published, networking events to meet other writers--there's a rich heritage of writing in this town. And LFK is right there to support and encourage it.

Then, starting at 9 p.m., the three presenters--reading from the just published collection of Portland stories, I Could Be Here Now, which rocked the place.  When they had all read their pieces, conversation erupted in the place: serious writers talking seriously about writing. Huge. Energized. One of the most compelling nights you can spend in the city.

One of my own favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut, said the best way to learn how to write is to write. And, Word Portland, gives you a platform.  You can submit your writings at, and of course hit First Monday at LFK Feb. 2.

**Mac and Cheese as a verb... LKF was about the first in Portland to feature M&C as an entrée for grownups. With bacon or kale or both.  Plain will keep you exceedingly well. When a local food review site recently ran down the places that now feature ye olde Mac, one respondent to their review pretty much yelled at them for not including Longfellow--at the top of the list--and hooked it back to Longfellow's own Facebook page. Pretty suave.

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