Johnny Bender talks about the origins of the Inlandia Literary Journeys column on Sunday as co-founder Cati Porter listens at the Culver Center for the Arts. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG) If you're a reader of our Sunday newspaper, you may have seen the Inlandia Literary Journeys column, penned by a rotating group of writers who write about writing. (As the saying goes, write what you know.) As the inaugural column from April 29, 2013, put it, writers from around the Inland Empire would be “offering writerly support, sharing what they're reading, talking about words and stories.” Many regular contributors gathered Sunday at Riverside's Culver Center for the Arts to celebrate the column's 10th anniversary. I thought I may as well be there too. There were a couple of folks I wanted to meet or see again. Also, by being there I could write a newspaper column about a newspaper column. It wouldn't be as meta as Kramer's coffee-table book about coffee tables , but close. How did the column get started? Event hosts Johnny Bender and Cati Porter were there at the outset, although as Bender, who is retired from The Press-Enterprise, admitted: “If I'd known I'd be talking about it in 10 years, I'd have taken notes.” Porter, executive director of the Inlandia Institute nonprofit , said that after noticing that the P-E had a regular feature named “Artist Spotlight,” she wondered if writers could get some attention too. A meeting with some P-E honchos was arranged. The result was the Inlandia Literary Journeys column. Bender, who is part of the writing community himself as a poet, volunteered to edit it. Keeping it going was a challenge. Bender said some “overly serious” editors “wondered ‘why are we running this?'” (I've thought the same thing some weeks, and you may have too.) In addition, “the paper has gone through a tremendous amount,” Bender said of the past decade, in which the P-E got a new owner, almost got a new name (The Inland Empire Register) before the brash executives backed down, fell into bankruptcy and […]
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