Literaryswag Book Club 1 Year Anniversary Meeting

One of the first questions I remember being asked about this book club when it was still an idea was, "Who are you gonna get to come?" The more it was asked the more I realized what the real question was: "Why should I come?" On more than enough occasions it had been suggested that I get a high profile writer to attend. "A lot more people would come if they knew someone else they cared about was coming," I was told. Keeping it 100: those are the people I could care less about. Someone who was only gonna come because they heard someone else was gonna be there wasn't gonna be there for the right reasons—and I much rather have 5 people who were there because THEY wanted to be there than 500 people being there taking up space because they heard so-and-so might show. A lot's been done to get us into a mindset where we feel we're not enough. That we need a reason outside of ourselves to do the things we want to do. So we namedrop celebrities and big name brands not necessarily because we care about them. We just want people to care about us.

Care is an inside job—and it's the reason why I worked overtime making sure there was always a space every month for people to take time and realize that something is dope because they're there. No one else. In the last twelve months we've had meetings in everywhere from the Trap (Strand Bookstore) to Eva's Supplements on 11th Ave but I knew as long as I kept the club alive, it would eventually find a place to live. That's what happened Thursday when the big homie Ouigi announced at the 1 Year Anniversary that The Brooklyn Circus could be the home for The Literaryswag Book Club!!! Of course I accepted. You no longer have to worry about where the next book club will be, because we have a home. So this toast is not only an acknowledgement of everything it took to get here; it's a celebration, recognizing that it was all worth it. Every movement needs a home. We found ours—and it's lit!

Jennelle Gordon