“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
Dear Woman Who Write,
A pandemic virus. Social unrest. A presidential campaign. Circumstances have required us to change our lives in big and small ways. We’ve been challenged by young protestors to reexamine our ideas about unequal treatment of Black citizens. We worry about the future. We’ve seen monuments tumble. All this as we prepare to celebrate our country.
There is no better time than now to write our stories, to document our experiences, thoughts, observations, and feelings. As the poet said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” (William Wordsworth). Full sentences are unnecessary.
We are a community that supports members’ writing pursuits. The leadership team has brought members together through monthly meetings on the Zoom videoconference network since April. We’ve featured guest author, Katy Yocom (Three Ways to Disappear). We’ve responded to writing prompts and provided peer critiques of manuscripts submitted by members. These groups have been small but intimate and encouraging.
The contents of this newsletter—
- Our next community meeting is Tuesday, July 7 at 6:30 PM by Zoom videoconference.
- Our first face-to-face meeting is Saturday, July 18th beginning 9 AM at the beautiful (spacious and well-ventilated) Valaterra Spiritual Retreat Center in La Grange. The center and WWW will follow CDC guidelines, which reduce the risk of viral spread.
- Membership renewals are due for anyone who joined or renewed before the beginning of 2020.
- We have started a member blog on the WWW website!
The Meeting—Tuesday, July 7, 6:30 to 8 PM
Members who want a critique, please send a manuscript (no more than 1200 words) by 5 PM Monday, July 6 to firstname.lastname@example.org as a Word attachment. We will screen-share your manuscript so members and guests can provide peer critiques. Attendees will share ideas and resources and respond to a writing prompt during the meeting.
Women Who Write invites you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Time: Jul 2, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting links can be found in the newsletter, or email us at email@example.com
The Retreat—Saturday, July 18, 9 AM to 5 PM
We have decided to host this in-person gathering to bring our community together. The retreat center follows CDC guidelines to the letter.
Valaterra is immaculate, spacious, has an open floor plan and a beautiful conference room in a walk-out basement. There is an outdoor patio with seating. Lots of tables and writing spaces. See photos here.
Here is how we’ll keep ourselves safe:
- We have suspended the overnight option.
- We will take temperatures upon arrival.
- We will bring our own lunches (instead of a potluck).
- WWW will provide individually wrapped snacks and beverages.
- We will observe social distancing and masks while inside.
- We will wear masks under the following conditions:
- When we are within 9 feet of another person inside.
- When we are sharing our work with peers gathered in a socially distanced circle. An exception is made for the person reading their work.
While writing, participants will NOT have to wear masks. Writing spaces will be distance 9 feet apart to ensure more than adequate distance.
Members who have pre-existing conditions, are immunocompromised or reluctant to join us are welcome to tune in to our Zoom video conference with Ellen Birkett Morris for no charge.
The Retreat Activities—
We will begin our day with a guest poet/author, Ellen Birkett Morris. Ellen is the author of Lost Girls (June 26, 2020), a short story collection, and Surrender, a poetry chapbook. She is an award-winning, multi-genre writer, teacher and editor.
Morris won top prize in the 2008 Binnacle Ultra-Short Edition and was a semi-finalist for the 2009 Rita Dove Poetry Prize. She is the 2015 winner of the Bevel Summers Prize for her story “May Apples” and the Betty Gabehart Prize for Fiction. Morris is a recipient of a 2013 Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council in support of her fiction. She teaches at The Loft Literary Center and was on the faculty of the 2018 Antioch Writers Summer Workshop. Morris has an MFA from Queens University-Charlotte.
Here is an example of one of Ellen’s prose poems.
Ellen will talk with us by Zoom videoconference. She will read from her just released book of short stories. She’ll share the writing processes and techniques that help her move ahead with her writing in spite of obstacles.
After morning inspiration, participants will enjoy quiet time to write without distraction, meet with peers to discuss works-in-progress, stretch out to read and nap, or hike the meadow and lane. At the end of our day, we’ll have a socially distanced open mic reading.
During the day, Kimberly Crum, owner of Shape & Flow Writing Services, will lead a critique group for participants wanting comments on prose works-in-progress. Participants must send manuscripts by July 13 (1200 words maximum). No charge.
Cost of retreat is $20 for members/ $35 for non-members.
Membership Renewals are due!
How do you know if you are due for renewal to Women Who Write?
- Persons who joined or renewed June through December 2019, are due to pay their $50 membership fee.
- People who paid their dues—January through May 2020—won’t pay renewals until June 2021. We realize some will benefit from this process, and others will pay a bit extra. Please let us know if you want to receive a pro-rated refund of dues. Otherwise, we’ll consider the surplus a donation!
We had an idea! Our website http://womenwhowrite.com/ now features a blog that posts writing by the membership. We’ve begun with past directors of WWW and will soon move on to general membership. Essays about the writing life are preferred, but we’ll consider prose and poems as well. Members are welcome to pitch a blog idea by e-mail via the website!
As a community, WWW strives to nurture your writing life. We hope you’ll participate in one of learning opportunities and contribute your ideas for future programming.
Wishing you a safe and peaceful Interdependence Day!
The Leadership Team,
Kimberly Crum, Alisa Childress, Melony Dixon, Pam LaFollette and Terri Lindsey