Miami Book Fair’s First Draft Monthly Is Good Vibes — Q & A with Host Fabienne Josaphat

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First draft? Like a first draft of a story? Yes. Or a first draft at happy hour? Exactly. Huh? It’s both. Ok? It’s a Miami Book Fair thang.
 Most of us are aware that the Miami Book Fair’s programming is year round, but who knows, if you’re new to town, maybe you don’t know.
 And if you don’t know, well, now you know.
 One of their best events is called First Draft. It’s a monthly gathering. Pretty cool stuff. You receive a free drink (first draft, get it?) for showing up. Host urges attendee to write with prompts. Audience writes then reads drafts. It’s fun, simple yet also nuanced.
 Rotating hosts but always our city’s most talented creative writers.
 May’s host will be Miami’s Fabienne Josaphat.
 The Jitney caught up with the gracious Faby for a quick Q & A:

Have you ever lead a first draft?

    This is my very first First Draft Social. I have no idea what to expect, but I am hoping it’ll be a fun experience for all of us but mostly, a process of discovery. I just want all of us (me included) to learn something about our writer selves that we didn’t know before through the session.

Can you elaborate on the theme of missed opportunities / second chances?

    I am curious about the way we express ourselves the first time around, and then the way we get to polish our delivery when given a second chance. I think everything has a potential to be better the second time around. So writing can be a series of missed opportunities, with every writing session being a chance to get it better on the page the second time. We’re getting a second chance at saying it right the second time around.

 What do you enjoy the most about writing and why?

    I like writing as a process of excavation. I love that writing helps us make sense of the world and uncover that which we want to know. And writing is a purge for me. I get to express myself a lot better on paper than I do face to face (I am terrible at confrontations or heart to hearts).

Recently, on your personal Facebook, an interesting conversation about Junot Diaz came to light? Any reflections? Would his actions fall into your first draft theme of second chances?

    I’m still recovering from this Junot Diaz thing. It’s hard to say just yet but I may find a way to channel what I’m learning from this incident into the first draft social. I’m not sure. Hard to say anything right now about this whole thing.

 Finally, last book you read? Was it good and why?

  Last book I read was the Autobiography of Malcom X for my book club. It was phenomenal in terms of history but also, the writing was really brilliant. I was surprised that a non-fictional account could read like such a thriller. I should use it as a teaching model in writing. Malcom X is the perfect Freytag’s diagram.
This month’s First Draft is Wednesday, May 15th at Books and Books in the Gables, at 6:30 pm. Click here for more details.
You should go and bring a friend. Sunsets in the Gables are money.
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J.J. Colagrande

Has written about Miami culture for almost twenty years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He's the publisher of The Jitney and a full-time professor.