Author: Neda Zagorchinova
Last week I decided to relax with a drink after a long day. Of course, the drink was not just one and as always, within about 30 minutes, the acquaintances in the bar became more and more. Our conversations were in full swing, the glasses never seemed to be empty and no one was leaving.
At one point I looked around and my gaze stopped on a group of people who were seated at one of the tables at the bottom of the bar. There were about a dozen people, and they were all diligently writing something, some on a computer, some on a piece of paper in a notebook, but everyone was writing, and it was as if time had stopped for them. Naturally, after watching them for a while, I decided that I needed to understand what these people were doing. It struck me that there were some of my acquaintances among them, so a few days later I did my research.
It took me to Daniela Raykova. If you have spent enough time in key places in the center of Plovdiv such as Artnews Café or Cat and Mouse, you have certainly spotted her. Daniela is one of those people who is always with a big smiling, a glass in her hand and always surrounded by a group of friends. She herself lived for many years in Canada with her family, but about five years ago she decided to take the big step and returned to her hometown Plovdiv.
In 2017, after starting to offer creative writing courses, Daniela decided to create a writers' club to meet every week in a more informal setting and to promote creative writing in our city. This is how the writing club called "Drinkers with a writing problem" was created. It is aimed at everyone who loves to write, but is tired of writing on their own and wants to meet other fans of creative writing, to practice and improve. At each meeting, a topic is chosen and everyone has 15 minutes to write something of their choice - a poem, a short essay, and why not a movie script. There are no restrictions, except that everyone should drink their favorite drink, give freedom of thought and relax. Finally, everyone reads what they have created, the group comments on it and together they develop their writing skills.
The group has a Facebook page where everyone can share what they wrote at the meeting, as well as any other works. It is interesting that not only Bulgarians have joined the club, but also many foreigners who have chosen Plovdiv as their home. For this reason, their meetings are held in English, but the language in which everyone writes remains a personal choice. Although their meetings are weekly, everyone is welcome whenever they have the inspiration and desire to participate – whether that is every week or once a year, it doesn't matter. Here everyone is free to be themselves, without any restrictions. And this is evident in the number of people wishing to join the writers' club - for the last 3 years nearly 60 people have joined this initiative.
If you want to get involved, you can contact Daniela personally and get more information about when and where their next meeting will be. Just email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.