Friday 500

Swing on by Lighthouse at 4:30 PM, grab some coffee and cookies, or crack open a beer, find your favorite perch, and fire out your 500 words. Then at 5:30 PM, keep on writing or gather for discussions on craft, conversations with guest authors, or spontaneous group writing and sharing.

The Friday 500 happens from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM every 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month.

Upcoming dates:

  • December 9
  • January 13
  • January 27

This event is for current Lighthouse members, though guests are welcome to visit once before joining.

Upcoming Friday 500s:
Friday, December 9
Topic: ​Microphone Practice


Previous 500​'s:

The Illustrated Journal with Sherrie York
November 11, 2016
During the second hour of this week's Friday 500, guest artist Sherrie York will teach us about the benefits of keeping an illustrated journal. We'll experiment with text- and image-based prompts, and learn some basic sketching skills to help enhance our note taking. Pencils and sketch paper will be provided! As always, stop by starting at 4:30 PM, grab a drink and snack, and spend an hour writing before Sherrie's talk begins at 5:30 PM. [34]

Ghost Stories, Part Two
October 28, 2016
Happy almost Halloween! This week, we're getting into the holiday SPIRIT (get it?!) with a craft talk about ghosts. Stop by at 4:30, grab a drink and a spot, and get writing. At 5:30, we'll head downstairs to learn about some of the spooky Halloween traditions of the Druids. Could their habits inspire our own writing rituals? Come find out! [26]

Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper
October 21, 2016
@Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock Street
This is a reminder that there's an extra Friday 500 taking place this week on Friday, October 21, 4:30 to 6:30 PM, at the Clyfford Still Museum on 1250 Bannock Street. We'll use the museum's new exhibition The Works on Paper, the first exhibition ever devoted exclusively to Still’s graphic art, as inspiration for our writing. Admission is free! [21]

Ghost Stories, Part One
October 14, 2016
Fun fact: The 1893 Victorian mansion Lighthouse calls home is haunted. During the second hour of Friday 500 this week, we'll learn about the ghosts that haunt our very own halls. Their spooky stories will inspire our writing, and afterward, we'll share our scenes and poems and thoughts about ghosts with the group. Before our ghoulish adventures begin, stop by at 4:30 PM, grab some cookies and a beverage, and get some writing time in. [30]

First Page, Last Page
September 23, 2016
Please note that this week Friday 500 will meet at the Tattered Cover on Colfax, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Meet us in the breezeway between Tattered and Twist&Shout at 4:30 PM. We'll do a little writing, but spend most of the time taking a look at the first and last pages of some of the books that line the Tattered's shelves. We'll then discuss why we think the authors chose to begin and end their stories or collections of poetry and essays the way they did. [18]

Dialogue and Action Tags
September 9, 2016
Stop by Lighthouse this Friday at 4:30 PM, get some writing in, and then join us in the Grotto for a discussion about dialogue and action tags. We'll take a look at the range of choices at your disposal when it comes to tagging (and I'm not talking Facebook) the dialogue of two or more characters in conversation with each other to a single character acting alone within her environment. [23]

Such a Cliche
August 26, 2016
Cliches tend to plague us as writers. They are the low-hanging fruit any instructor or fellow workshopper can snag and wave in our faces. "Plague" and "low-hanging fruit" = cliches. See what I mean? During the second hour of Friday 500 this week, we'll use writing exercises and discussion to see just how far cliches have infiltrated our writerly psyches and then figure out ways to combat them. Stop by at 4:30 PM, get some writing in, and then join us! [34]

Meet Jonathan Waldman
August 12, 2016
During the second hour of Friday 500 this week, I'll sit down with author Jonathan Waldman to discuss Rust: The Longest War, a Colorado Book Award winner for general nonfiction. We'll talk about nonfiction challenges—like how to gain access to sources—but we'll also discuss topics of interest to fiction writers, like character motivation and setting. Rust has a fascinating arc, and I'm excited to hear how Jonathan discovered it. [27]

Your Genre Utility Belt
July 22, 2016
Consider this your Bat Signal: At this week's Friday 500, we'll be creating our own genre utility belts. Just like Batman, writers are more effective when they have helpful tools to fall back on. We'll look at how different genres—historical, speculative, romance—can be used to power up your writing. Then, we'll write a few practice scenes and discuss how it went. Stop by at 4:30 PM, grab a snack and a drink, and get writing. We'll gather in the Grotto at 5:30 PM to talk utility belts. And probably Batman. [23]

Violence and Healing
July 8, 2016
For the second hour of Friday 500 we're going to use Lighthouse's new poetree from its Write Denver project to help us discuss and express violence in our work as well as characters' meaning-making and healing. [18]

​The Power to Choose
June 24, 2016
Lighthouse instructor Benjamin Whitmer says a writer should whittle his or her characters down to their choices. And if you choose to come to Friday 500 this week, we'll discuss the meaning behind this assertion. Stop by starting at 4:30 PM to grab a drink, a snack, and a spot to write. At 5:30 PM, you can keep writing or head down to the grotto where we'll use exercises and examples to help us retain the character mantra: choose, choose, choose. [27]

Write Denver Summer
May 27, 2016
It's a holiday weekend! Start things off right and stop by Lighthouse this Friday to write from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. Then, join us in the Grotto to hear about Write Denver's summer plans and how you can get involved. We'll do a few writing exercises using Write Denver prompts, and who knows? Your words could wind up as part of a future Write Denver installation. [28]

Let's Get Weird
May 13, 2016
Weird writing can be wonderful, but how do you do it, exactly? At Friday 500 this week, Lighthouse instructor Alexander Lumans will tell us how to silence our inner critics, find the odd in the everyday, and create strange characters, settings, and stories. Stop by Lighthouse, grab a snack and a beverage, and spend an hour writing. Then, join us for Lumans' craft talk and discussion in the grotto. Let's get weird! [40]

2-Hour Write-a-thon + Rob Spillman
April 22, 2016
This week's Friday 500 is all about writing. Grab some snacks, find a perch, and see what you can accomplish in two uninterrupted hours. Then, at 6:30, join us in the Grotto for a free reading and reception with Tin House editor Rob Spillman. He'll read and sign copies from his new memoir All Tomorrow's Parties and participate in a Q&A. [21]

Western Syntax
April 8, 2016
Wallace Stegner once said that the West is "the native home of hope." It's also the native (and not-so-native) home of a whole bunch of writers. That's why, at this week's Friday 500, we'll spend some time writing and then gather in the grotto for a Western-themed craft chat. Using writing prompts, examples, and discussion, we'll look at the style and language of past and present Western writers and the effect it has (or doesn't have!) on our own writing today. [34]

Young Authors Colletive, Part 2
March 25, 2016
It's time for part two of our Friday 500 collaboration with Lighthouse's Young Authors Collective! We'll meet in the Grotto at 5:30 PM to continue working with the young writers, but feel free to arrive at 4:30 PM to work on your own projects.  Not working with a young writer? No problem! You're more than welcome to attend Friday 500 as usual and write on the 1st and 2nd floors of Lighthouse from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. There will be plenty of refreshments and literary vibes to go around. And mark your calendars: Lighthouse is collaborating with the American Museum of Western Art (AMWA) on a new monthly writing meetup called "Writing the West." The first session takes place Wednesday, March 30, 3:00 to 4:30 PM, at 1727 Tremont Place (across the street from the Brown Palace). Hope to see you there! [32]

Collaboration with Young Authors Collective--Part 1
March 11, 2016
A handful of Friday 500 folk have volunteered to mentor the writers that make up Lighthouse's Young Authors Collective. If you've signed up, thank you! We'll meet at 5:30 PM in the Grotto and you'll be paired with your YAC writer to begin the collaboration. But as always, feel free to arrive at 4:30 PM to work on your own project(s). If this collaboration is news to you, fear not! You're more than welcome to attend Friday 500 in its fullest and write on the 1st and 2nd Floors of Lighthouse from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. There will be plenty of refreshments and literary vibes to go around. [38]

Writer as Collaborator
February 26, 2016
During the second hour of Friday 500 this week, we'll have guest speakers Mark Springer and Jay Hack discussing how they came to be co-authors of their book The Steady Climb: A Family Journey from Mountains to Markets. Mark and Jay will use their experience to springboard us into a conversation about how every writer must also be a collaborator. [32]

"Vocabulary of Forms"
February 12, 2016
When it came to his painting process Joan Miro spoke about his need to create a personal "vocabulary of forms". What does he mean by that and how as writers can we benefit from creating a vocabulary of forms for our own projects? En route to trying to answer these questions, we'll discuss the concepts of embedded forms and gesamtkunstwerk. We'll also look at how all these ideas relate to publishing. Come for the wine, stay for the gesamtkunstwerk. [39]

Jolt's Art of War
[Collaboration with Leon Gallery]
January 22, 2016
Do you ever feel at war with your story or with the craft of writing itself? Jolt does. He's a local graffiti writer and fine artist whose artist statement goes like this: "I battle with wild style letters and their symbolic warfare against any standardization enforced by the rules of the alphabet [...] I defend myself with defensive masks that sometimes mirror the adversary opposing me [...] The ability to express deep emotional turmoil and advance one's technique while conquering all fears and challenges is what brings the war into art and the strategy of The Art of War into my work." At this Friday 500, we'll meet at the Leon Gallery, about a 3-minute drive or 12-minute walk from Lighthouse, spending both hours writing about and discussing Jolt's exhibition The Art of War. [26]

Nahshon Cook Interview
January 8, 2016
Nahshon Cook is a local poet who was contracted to write his first book in 2010, left for Asia to write it, and published the book in 2015. The book is called The Killing Fields, and is a poetic map of Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand, and America. Nahshon's story sometimes isn't easy to hear, but I believe is a perfect one to listen to at the new year inasmuch as we'll learn from him the greatness of jumping into an adventure without an itinerary, why he claims it takes the same amount of courage to write as it does to submit your writing, and much more along these themes of resolution. [28]


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