Image by Alexander Shimmeck via Unsplash
“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” – Maya Angelou
Dear Women Who Write—
Here are some random thoughts on mothers, goddesses, and the month of May.
You might agree with Maya Angelou that mothers are complex characters. The advantage to writers is the opportunity for storytelling created by such character complexity! Maya excelled at complex characters in her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
The origin of Maya is the goddess Maia, a shy Pleiades nymph and the mother of Zeus. The month of May is named after Maia (the goddess, not the poet).
May celebrates thirty-one special occasions, including National Limerick Day (5/12), International No-Diet Day (5/22), Love a Tree Day (5/16), and Mother’s Day (5/8). There are no Hallmark cards for the first three celebrations, though there should be.
The Brits have a knack for language, as you might have noticed. In the United Kingdom, their annual celebration of mothers is known as “Mothering Day,” a lovely inclusive term. Let’s celebrate this annual holiday by considering the many ways we mother, have been mothered, and mother others. We’d love to hear your stories at our next meeting. Cheers, Y’all!
UPCOMING EVENTS, INCLUDING MONTHLY MEMBER MEETINGS
Our next monthly meeting is Tuesday, May 10 meeting we will meet in person and on Zoom. Our in person gathering is at Mellwood Arts Center, Studio 123 (Building A) at 1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville, 40206.
Our June 14 and July 12 meeting will be on Zoom and in-person at the South Central Branch at 7300 Jefferson Blvd., of the Louisville Free Public Library. This is where we met in the two months before the pandemic. It’s a beautiful modern library where we can reserve a room with a smart-tv, enabling us to continue Zoom as well.
Your leadership team is planning the following activities—a writing meet-up, a WWW reading, and a day retreat as well as an overnight retreat. Several of you have asked when we can return to the Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW) Hopscotch House. We’ll book an overnight retreat there as soon as KFW completes renovations currently in progress. Meanwhile, we’ll plan a day retreat.
We are int the process of scheduling a workshop, “How to Read Your Writing Aloud,” with Susan McNeese Lynch, artistic director of Eve Theater, a Louisville non-profit whose mission is to “create opportunities for women of all ages to give voice to and develop their talents in any and all aspects of theatre arts.” Soon after the workshop, WWW members will be invited to read their work aloud to each other in a public spot.
The fun on May 10 begins at 6:30 PM sharp! If you plan to come in person, please park at the top of the hill on the west side of the building. Walk into the courtyard and turn left into the door just before Danny Mac’s pizza. Follow the hallway and turn right. Studio 123 the first on the right after you pass the sign for ‘Antiques,” and the concrete pig. Note the glass balls in the window! Lights on. Keurig activated.
For those wanting to attend virtually, the link was sent in the newsletter, or please email email@example.com for the Zoom link.
COVID precautions—Please do not join us in person if you have symptoms of a cold or a scratchy throat or fever. As you know, the variant-of-the-variant of Omicron is circulating. Masks are recommended but optional.
Please consider submitting a short manuscript of poetry or prose for our monthly peer commentary—
- Members will provide strength-based critiques on prose and poetry provided by up to 5 attendees who have submitted work by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on the day of the meeting.
- Instructions for the critique process—
- Our goal is to provide strength-based critiques.
- Peer writers should focus on paragraphs or lines that are vivid, intriguing, contain significant details, teach, or surprise. Is the point of the writing clear? How does the piece flow?
- Helpful revision suggestions include such statements as, I’d like to know a bit more about this character/speaker; This sentence/line might make a great beginning; It feels like something is missing here; Please consider developing this section.
- Please limit your peer critique submission to five pages double-spaced (or three poems). Send your poetry or prose to the attention of Kim at email@example.com no later than noon on Tuesday, May 10.
- We will screenshare each manuscript so writers can read their work while participants follow.
Photo by Debbie Hudson on Unsplash
MONTHLY WRITING PROMPT
—A letter to your younger self
The letter is a written form of monologue, in which a narrator addresses a specific audience. A monologue differs from a soliloquy, the latter a series of personal thoughts spoken aloud on stage (or a passage of interior dialogue in writing). The monologue often has an agenda; the soliloquy does not.
In creative writing, letter writing is called “epistolary.” Fancy, yes, but a letter nonetheless!
This month’s writing prompt we’ve borrowed from HerStry, a literary blog “empowering women through storytelling.” Here is their May prompt—”If you could write a letter to your past self, what would you say to that person? What advice would you give? What would you tell your younger self to do or not to do?” Consider submitting your nonfiction essay or poem to HerStry (deadline June 1; information here). Writers published receive $20 payments.
The epistolary form works well for all genres. Write a letter to your younger self. Write a letter from your fictional protagonist. Write a poem from your speaker to her younger self! Here are Past Me essays published from 2021.
We’d love for you to read aloud your writing prompt responses or send the typed manuscript to us for a monthly strength-based critique.
WE WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR WRITING LIFE.
The Imaginarium Convention is a three-day event for creatives of all genres – Louisville, Kentucky – July 8 through 10. https://www.entertheimaginarium.com
Poets, consider submitting to one of these many literary journals. If you have a collection, consider the Palooka chapbook publishes. Find journals here.
Here is the updated submission listing on New Pages.com— https://www.newpages.com/classifieds/calls-for-submissions
Consider submitting to a writing contest via NewPages.com—https://www.newpages.com/classifieds
Small presses are excellent places to submit a book directly. Here is a listing of small presses—https://www.newpages.com/books/publishers
Submit to the Medium.com publication Landslide Lit(erary) . The co-editor WWW members would love to publish your fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. No need to be a paying medium subscriber. Bonnie and Kim will provide a Medium.com tutorial and editorial suggestions for submitted manuscripts. You do NOT need to be a paying subscriber to Medium.com. See submission guidelines here.
The creative nonfiction blog HerStry is collecting epistolary (letter) writing, titled “Dear Past Me”— “If you could write a letter to your past self, what would you say to that person? What advice would you give? What would you tell your younger self to do or not to do?” HerStry by June 1 to https://herstryblg.com/dear-past-me
Consider submitting to Minerva Rising’s on-line journal, “The Keeping Room.” The journal publishes “short stories, essays, free writing, poetry, and photo essays that touch on topics related to Women’s Wisdom, Lessons Learned, Self-care, Bodies, Relationships, and Community.”
Funds for writers newsletter—provides paying markets for writing.
Under the Gum Tree is a well-respected quarterly literary journal of creative nonfiction, with a variety of themed sections (shorter) and a feature article in each issue. Two of my students published features in the journal that began with writing prompts!
Here is a collection of 21 markets that publish humor writing.
Brevity accepts flash nonfiction submissions year-round. Well respected for short creative nonfiction (750 words or less). Hard to get in, but why not try? https://brevitymag.com/submissions/
For Women Who Roar: This platform is looking for poetry and stories of healing, writing and recovery.
Check out The Manifest Station: On Being Human literary blog. Submit poetry, essay, fiction, art, and photography. Submissions are open continuously.
This clearing house has an amusing name, “Publishing and Other Forms of insanity. The list of submission opportunities is ongoing.
HERE ARE WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR WRITING COMMUNITY
Become a member (or re-member)—As a community, WWW strives to nurture your writing life. We hope you choose to join or renew as a member and participate in our monthly meetings, author talks, retreats, and workshops. We will notify persons when they are due to renew. Regular annual membership is $50. Student annual membership is $25.
Attend our monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month
Join our leadership team as treasurer to oversee our finances, keep records, pay (our few) bills, oversee the budget, file a few reports, balance our bank statements, help collect membership dues. Note—we are a very low budget operation. And you’ll join our energized leadership team. We want more than your attention to detail. We want your ideas! If you are interested, write to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write for our web blog! Members are invited to submit blogs about writing, life, or the writing life. Personal essay, poem, fiction all welcome (1300 words maximum). This provides you a link to share on your social networks. And we’ll accept reprints. Browse our web blog now! http://womenwhowrite.com/our-blog/
Inform us when you are published online (or any other way). Online publications we’ll post on our Facebook page. Visit our Facebook Page and stay awhile—@womenwhowriteky. Like and become a follower. Answer questions. See video interviews of WWW meetings with visiting writers. Etcetera.
Be safe. Be strong. Be peace.
Love your writing life!
Kim, Alisa, Megan, and Irene