It took me six years to write my debut novel, Adventures of the Karaoke King. Though it weighs in at a hefty 535 pages, that still means a pace of one usable paragraph a day. Bleeding myself with an eyedropper would have taken less effort. What inspires a writer to keep going, keep revising, keep rebuffing entreaties to get on with life already? Answer: The community of creative obsessives that calls Hugo House its home.
Chapter One first wriggled onto the page at Hugo House. It’s where my instructor—novelist, playwright, and raconteur Skye Moody—said, “I think you’re onto something here….” It’s where I took flight with the Soaring Meringues—a group of talented writers who became lifelong friends. And when I’d received another rejection and wondered if my manuscript was fated to asphyxiate in a cardboard box, Hugo House is where my bruised ego sought solace in the warm memory that spontaneous applause greeted my first, in-class presentation. If such impassioned writers believed my work showed promise, I’d be damned if I didn’t at least try to get better at imaginative fibbing.
I love Hugo House because it’s where writers of every background, experience level, and genre explore how best to observe and convey the human condition. Let doubters remark snidely about publication status and naysayers worry about whether literature can survive the onslaught of digital media and shortened attention spans. Inside the walls of Hugo House, we’re too busy creating worlds to wring our hands over anything other than stories that must be told. It is an open house—a beloved community that welcomes all dreamers.
Harold Taw is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, layabout multi-form writer, and co-curator of WordsWest Literary Series. His debut novel was Adventures of the Karaoke King. His writing has been featured on NPR, in a New York Times-bestselling anthology, and in The Seattle Times. A Yale Law School graduate and a Fulbright Scholar, Harold’s research and writing have been supported by, among others, 826 Seattle, Artist Trust, Centrum, the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center, Humanities Washington, Jack Straw Productions, and Wing Luke Museum.