The RocknRoller Coaster

The Rock ‘n Roller Coaster

Don’t get me wrong – I loved the old Nashville, a city big enough for both the Grand Ole Opry and the Swan Ball.  Plus a roller coaster!  I also love what we’re becoming – a city imagining all kinds of new collaborations and encouraging an even broader flourishing of the arts.  Last year, the Nashville Ballet and Symphony (along with the Minnesota Orchestra) co-commissioned a work by indie rocker Ben Folds.  OZ welcomed cutting edge dance, theater, and music to a very cool revamped warehouse space.  This year, Nashville Symphony crackerjack conductor Kelly Corcoran is forming a contemporary classical musical group called Intersection to perform music you’re more likely to hear in New York.

One of the most exciting new creative endeavors in our city is the Porch Writers’ Collective, founded last year by the lovely and talented Susannah Felts and Katie McDougall, both native Nashvillians.  They’ve got a terrific event lined up in a couple of weeks and some other great offerings in the next few months.

From the Porch Writers’ Collective:

Join The Porch for an exciting night of storytelling camaraderie.  Tim O’Brien – National Book Award Winner, author of The Things They Carried, and one of America’s most respected literary voices – will share the stage with Tim O’Brien, Grammy-winning Americana and bluegrass legend.  They’ve received each other’s fan mail for years.  But they’ve never met – until now.

A Meet & Greet reception with the two Tim O’Briens will take place prior to the main event, and will feature drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres catered by Lisa Donovan, former pastry chef for Husk and creator of the Buttermilk Road Sunday Suppers.  Seats in the front of the auditorium will be reserved for all reception guests.

Our general admission program will feature the two Tims in performance and conversation, with Andrew Maraniss, author of Strong Inside, serving as moderator for the discussion.  In addition, Minton Sparks with John Jackson will open, and singer/songwriter Korby Lenker will play a song for us as well.

8 p.m. General admission (includes ticket for beer or wine): $50

6:30 p.m. Admission with Meet & Greet reception: $125

We hope you’ll join us!  In doing so, you not only enjoy a uniquely “Nashville” night, star-studded with creative people who are masters in their storytelling crafts, but you also help The Porch in its mission to promote a vibrant and diverse literary culture in Nashville through educational, inspiring, and community-building events.

To purchase tickets – or to learn more about The Porch – click here.










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From Jennifer:  We all know book club goes down better with a chardonnay (or a beer – pick your poison).  You might not know that The Porch hosts a “Books and Beer” book club every other month that welcomes drop-ins and new members!   This month, they’ll be discussing Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried on January 12th from 6:00 to 7:30 at The Skillery.

I love what The Porch is all about:  “We believe that people in these parts have amazing stories to share, and we aim to help that happen.”

Here’s a little more of what founders Susannah and Katie have to say:

Susannah Felts and Katie McDougall, photo by

Susannah Felts and Katie McDougall, photo by

Our mission, in short, is to foster Nashville’s writing community and literary culture through education, events, and outreach. Minneapolis has The Loft, the oldest nonprofit literary center in the country.  Boston has Grub Street; Denver, The Lighthouse.  With the current surge in Nashville’s growth and creative culture, we felt the time was ripe for Nashville to also have a home base for its writers.

While still a newcomer to the arts community, The Porch has grown from concept to substantive reality in less than a year.  We have conducted over twenty-five successful writing workshops, retreats, and writing camps; hosted twelve unique literary events and collaborations; and worked with over 120 at-risk youth.  We’ve collaborated with five fellow arts and nonprofit organizations and are in conversation with several more.  We have secured a Humanities Tennessee grant for a city-wide youth writing workshop to be held in early 2015, and have established strategic partnerships with Nashville Public Library, Parnassus Books, and Chapter 16.  The word is spreading: A recent issue of Poets & Writers listed The Porch among the country’s notable literary centers in a feature story, “Academic Alternative: The DIY MFA.”  Since September, The Porch has made home in historic Germantown, conducting its classes, events, and operations out of The Skillery, a vibrant co-working space perfectly suited to the creative energy of the endeavor.  The Porch Writers’ Collective promises to not only fill a niche in Nashville’s creative culture, but also to become part of the fabric of the city, contributing to its cultural heritage and future.

For a wonderful interview with Katie, check in at Musing (the blog of Parnassus books).

Katie is teaching a workshop in February that Bacon readers might find of interest –  Creative Writing for Readers:  

This four-week class is designed for passionate readers who haven’t yet tried their hand at the other side of the equation as well as for writers looking to deepen their craft by consorting with the literary greats.  We’ll look at the work of some tried and true authors, both classic and contemporary, and play with imitation of style and story.  Participants can expect to gain an empathy for the author’s experience, insight into the craft of writing, a deeper appreciation and understanding of literature, and a small body of creative work inspired by revered authors.

Instructor: Katie McDougall
Length of workshop: 4 weeks
Dates: Mondays, Feb. 2 – Feb. 23
Time: 10-12 p.m.
Cost: $130
Location: The Skillery in Germantown
Registration deadline: January 31


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