top of page

BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #52 - The Social Writerly

One year ago yesterday, I began writing my Hot Take for Hardway HQ. Previously, I had a Bank Statement, but I lost passion throughout the writing process. I felt that I was mediocre at best.

However, on October 13 last year, I was inspired to start writing again, thanks to an Orange Cassidy AEW International championship win. It was quick, easy, and fun. Bankie’s Hot Take was born.

Over the next 51 pieces, and several one-offs, I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. The Hot Take has become my passion. It really has motivated me to be a better writer and to do more with it.

Thankfully, my significant other, a tremendously brilliant writer, referenced me to one of her friends from school and to think about signing up to her new online writing project called The Social Writerly.

I had immediate reservations. For one, I’m a high school graduate with some community college experience. Secondly, I write blogs on obscure pop culture, mainly on professional wrestling. Finally, I just had doubts about my own ability. Contrary to popular belief, I am a very anxious guy, riddled with, at times, crippling self doubt.

However, I looked back to a previous piece to soothe my reservations.

Earlier this year, I had written a Hot Take called “Bet On Myself. Always.” and really took myself to task to try things outside of my comfort zone. After going back to read it, I knew I had to face my fears and just do it.

It was the best decision I have ever made.

The Social Writerly was founded by Sarah Van Clef, an adjunct professor at Monmouth University and Brookdale Community College. She has been published in multiple publications, including the Monmouth Review. She has started to gain some momentum in writing circles, including hosting several open mics for poetry.

So when I learned she was teaching a class called Place and Space in Multi-Genre Writing, I decided to sign up for it. It seemed interesting to try something new.

On my first online Zoom course, I was apprehensive as Hell.

By the end of class #1, I felt more at ease. I could do this.

Place and Space in Multi-Genre Writing meant exactly that. You would revisit places in time that you enjoyed or had experiences with, and explore it with the writing assignment for the week. The space would really help expand your mind and take you into the details of what the memory was like, not just in past tense, but in present as well, all in different styles of writing.

Sarah was a great professor. With The Social Writerly being a start-up, it was myself and Sarah’s Aunt Chris. With the class size small, it felt intimate to learn and workshop our pieces. Sarah was a positive motivator and helped Aunt Chris & I explore avenues in writing that made us think.

In our first assignment, we had to write about an area that we remembered when we were younger and go back to it and experience the atmosphere. We had to take pictures and envision what we felt looking at certain places that we remember from our past.

I decided to write about Main Street in South River. I related it to the past from the first walk I remember taking with my parents and younger brother down it in the Summer of 1991. I then took the story back to the present day and my current thoughts about what Main Street had become.

This story had opened me up in a way that had never happened before in writing. It made me leave my comfort zone and venture into a place and time I had never really thought I would revisit again. Sarah and Aunt Chris’ positive motivation, with edits on how to make the piece better, inspired me to go deeper.

Over the next eight classes, I was able to go back to my times in Glendale, Queens, NY and Seaside Heights. Also, it extended into fiction writing, where I was able to finally write about the villainous baby carrots, which were a symbol of having to eat healthy and lose weight.

Finally, we explored poetry. In the class, during the list of types of poems, I saw a word that brought me intrigue. I asked Sarah about what a sonnet was, and she explained the pattern for how it was written.

In rhyme scheme, it goes like this:















The reason why I had asked was because of that ridiculous 1999 pop hit from LFO “Summer Girls”, and the line “Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets” popped into my brain. As ridiculous as it was, it inspired me.

For our final class, we paired off with lead fiction-writing instructor Jaimee D. Cali, an excellent writer with a Masters in English literature, and her students from the Monsters & Monstrosities course read a piece we were working on throughout our courses.

Due to my day job, I was unable to log on until late, so I was relegated to read last. I decided to take a chance and read my sonnet that I had written called “The Sonnet to a Drive with My Dog”.

Everyone seemed really happy with the piece, and it inspired me so much that I decided, in a Hot Take Extra next week, to post the sonnet in the blog.


Overall, I was very proud to have stepped into the world of the unknown and signed up for The Social Writerly. As I informed Sarah and Jaimee in the final class, because of the Writerly, I am finally signing back up for school and finishing a task that I should have been motivated to decades earlier.

Maybe I wasn’t ready back then, but I certainly am now. The Social Writerly is a perfect bridge from a fun class to finding out what you’re meant to do in the next chapter of your life. I truly believe that this course led me to that.

For anyone who wants to explore the depths of writing I did, sign up today. You’ll be glad you did.

Go to and check out the course selection.

Thank you to my significant other for referencing this project. Thanks to Sarah for being a great motivator and for allowing me to try new visions in writing I never would have attempted on my own. And a special thanks to Aunt Chris, for all of her kind words and enjoying my pieces. Yours were just as good, and definitely more descriptive than mine, rest assured.

To the next step. #BANKONIT

PS: Sarah, Jon says thanks as well.


Follow Us
Recent Posts
bottom of page