“Drawn to the Womb”

by Erica Bennett

I drove up to Studio City for a quick visit with friends over coffee and chocolate croissants. And, as per usual, I lost track of time when the discussion turned to the topic of his dissertation. But, kindly reminded, I pulled myself away, hit the road, and wound my way through Laurel Canyon to my second stop of the day, the LAFPI gathering at Samuel French Film & Theatre Book Shop. I arrived late by nearly an hour, found parking in back, and took that for a positive sign.

I found myself walking down Stanley to Sunset and east, feeling this sense that I was going somewhere. Certainly, I had the numbered address, but as I walked, I ruminated over having attended the first LAFPI meet (back in the day), and realized that I missed far too many gatherings over the years. So, it was that I approached the bookstore entrance feeling a little like an excited kid and an alien being called home, at the same time.

A gentleman held the front door open for me. I walked in, and was greeted by a friendly bookstore associate who directed me to the back of the store. After walking up a short flight of stairs, I stood in the back, was offered a seat by a lady, sat, and I wallowed (mouth slightly ajar) at the sight and sound of the funny, profane, charming, loving, inspiring, powerful and encouraging female (and male) playwrights, directors, and producers attending the event.

Many of the attendees are participating in the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival, as Fringe Femmes. This was their moment to bring in 1-page samples of their work to be heard, and in turn, talk up their needs and wants. And, shine they did.

Then Joanna Bateman spoke of being drawn to the gathering, as if “drawn to the womb,” and I thought, that’s it. That was my feeling. That encapsulated it.

I cannot remember being in the presence of so much loving acceptance from any group. Thank you, Jennie Webb, Robin Byrd, and all who make LAFPI possible.

Write. Write. Write.

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