The Flying Writers’ Colony: an Invitation


Dear Friends,

We’ve all had that train of thought. As socially energetic but also half-introverted inhabitants of NYC nerdery, eager for adventure in the city and yet eager to get work done on a current writing project, wanting to hang out with friends and yet aware of our deadlines and the editing or writing that we owe… that train of thought is where we practically live.

You know what I’m talking about. “I wish I could hang out AND have an adventure AND play a game AND explore the City AND work on this piece about the theopolitical implications of Bill Bratton’s policing style and/or a how-to piece for a Toast tribute blog called ‘Ten Tips for Interpreting Sondheim Lyrics So That They Support Your Own Culturally Conservative Commitments’ at the SAME TIME.


“What is the nature of these conflicting desires? There’s something to be investigated here: I need to write a piece about how we all want to somehow live in our particular cities and yet also to live in some kind of meta-City.  But is that supposed to be the Church, or something else, and is it extremely far fetched to think that the appeal of the idea of the Republic of Letters to people in Enlightenment coffeehouses had something to do with a displaced desire for the New Jerusalem?  And also is this somehow related to the conflicting drives to know about and write about and participate in current debates, but also to read and respond to the whole history of political philosophy and theology and thus to exist in a kind of time-out-of-time?


“And what if one of the ways that God has planted eternity in our hearts is this desire not just to keep on writing in the New Jerusalem (which we fully plan to do) but also to write, when we write now, informed by the past, so that writing becomes a form of time travel or conversation across centuries; does that sound nuts? Who’d publish a piece like that?  And do they pay?”


Don’t worry– as I say, we’ve all been there; this train of thought is common, if somewhat rambling; your cries have been heard.  You are invited.

Welcome to the Flying Writers’ Colony.

Please feel free to make fun of the grammatical ambiguity.

The Colony is not so much something invented as discovered: surely hints of it have appeared before; you may have run in to some of them yourself; see the Bibliography at the end for further reading.

Here’s how this works:

This Directory Page will be a list of good places to write in public in the City.  Many of them have coffee, some have wine, all have wifi and outlets.  I’ve just gotten a start on it: please use comboxes to add your suggestions and I will add them to the page.

Any Colonist may at any time announce a Conclave.  (Don’t be pedantic: of course these gatherings do not involve physical keys, and indeed one of their features is the fact that they take place in public, but nevertheless the term Conclave has been found to be appropriate.) He or she should use the hashtag #flyingwriterscolony plus a city hashtag, so #flyingwriterscolony #nyc.

The tweet or facebook post should include the hashtag and a time and location, plus a link to this page or to the Directory page or to the venue’s page.  There are no restrictions on when such announcements can be sent.  If the location proposed is not already linked from the directory page, please include it in the comments.


Optional: include a single sentence from the piece you will be working on.

And then go to the place, and perhaps others will find you; but you’d better be writing when they do.

Note: there will be later phases of this project. This is how it starts.

This invitation may be extended to people who do not live in New York.  This is appropriate to the nature of the FWC: you will have to establish your own lists of venues and safehouses, of course; I’d be happy to host those lists on this blog, or to include links to your lists on your own blogs; let me know.

Existing Colonists may extend this invitation to others they suspect would benefit from or enjoy the FWC; please introduce me to new Colonists as you find them.

An interesting aspect of this project is that we will be able to continue it after the parousia, though with different hashtags.  It may be that even then, Ethika Politika will not pay its writers, but then again, after the parousia I suspect it will matter less.  If on the other hand we are talking about a sort of Postmillennial Good Society/Neo-Christendom, then yes, Ethika Politika will pay.  For one thing, in a Postmil Good Society, there will be more angel investors and possibly government funding for publishing projects.

Although of course many things depend on precisely whose Postmil Neochristendom we are talking about; certain versions would not in fact permit Ethika Politika to publish at all.  Although perhaps in those versions, even Ethika Politika has become Reformed.  So many things to think about, friends!  How WILL this all turn out?






The reading list dedicated to the prehistory of the FWC is considerable; I would appreciate links to any documentation that will help us all build an understanding of this enterprise of which we are a part. I will add more research as I come across it.


Chesterton, G.K.  The Flying Inn

Scruton, Roger. Notes from Underground

Day, Barbara. The Velvet Philosophers

Ellis, Markman.  The Coffee House: A Cultural History

Morgenstern, Erin.  The Night Circus


2 responses to “The Flying Writers’ Colony: an Invitation

  1. Pingback: Writing Cosmopolis: The Directory | Radio Free Thulcandra

  2. Dear Susannah,

    After having read your proposal, along with most of the pieces to which you have linked in the text or included in your bibliography, I’ve come up with a term that might convey the sense of the type of event you hope to inspire:

    Flash conclave

    Speaking of conclaves, the following is what you get for drawing attention to your use of that word, and in particular for your rather huffy use of the passive voice (” . . . nevertheless the term Conclave has been found . . .”). In any case, you had to know this was coming:

    With Sincere Regards,

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