“In a flash of wonderment, she saw firm, continuous ground under her feet, stretching from back then to right now and on and on as far as her eyes could take her.”
Dear Members and Friends,
Thank you to the nine women, including three new members and one guest, who joined us for our summer retreat on July 16. In addition to writing time, snacks, coffee, and lunch, the retreat featured a talk by actor, Susan McNeese Lynch on how to read our work aloud. We’re ready to face the mic! Stay tuned for news about our annual WWW reading!
In this newsletter, we’ve included the following—an update on exciting upcoming activities, an invitation to submit writing for peer critique at our next meeting, our monthly writing prompt, and opportunities for writers. In next month’s issue, we’ll include a section on “What we’re reading.”
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Lately, this writer has thought deeply about writer’s block. Is this an excuse for laziness? Or it a mental condition? Maybe the muse is sending a message.
Too often, we identify the “block” as a villain—described so well by Anne Lamott, as “the vinegar-lipped Reader Lady, who says primly, ‘Well, that’s not very interesting, is it?’”
Maybe we should stop yearning for brilliance, lively characters, and gripping plots. Words that sing, evoke image and emotion. Narratives an audience will relate to, learn from, and remember. Maybe we should break free of that critical voice, and just write!
Perhaps, the thing we call “writer’s block” is the muse’s way of telling us to try something new. “You’re going about this the wrong way, “she suggests. “Don’t worry about your audience. You can be sure those people are not worrying about you.” Instead, write you are thinking. What you notice. Write sentence fragments. Forget punctuation. Write about what you are thinking when you are (or should be) doing something else. Speculate.
No matter the genre, speculation by the narrator, speaker, or character deepens plot and characterization. In nonfiction storytelling, speculation fills in gaps in knowledge, letting the memoirist invent story, as long as she clarifies her invention is imagination. Poetry always seems to relate to wonderment. Consider Mary Oliver’s most famous line, which is also a question—”Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Our writing prompt for this month is “wander and wonder.” Scroll down for instructions! We hope you’ll take 30-45 minutes to write a first draft of prose or poetry from this prompt. All are welcome to bring their written responses from any of our monthly prompts on to any of our Tuesday monthly meetings to read aloud or present for peer critique. Our next meeting is Tuesday, August 9.
An Abundance of Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar.
Tuesday, August 9 is our monthly meeting—beginning 6:30 PM and ending at 8:30 PM, we meet on Zoom and in-person at the South Central Branch— 7300 Jefferson Blvd—of the Louisville Free Public Library. At our July meeting, we had four in the room and eight on the Zoom. We enjoyed lively conversation and evocative writing. The strength-based peer critiques affirmed each woman’s unique authorship while providing helpful revision suggestions.
For those who would rather participate from home, the Zoom link was sent in the newsletter, or please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
Please consider forwarding one of your works-in-progress to our August 9 meeting as an attachment to an email to email@example.com by noon on the day of the meeting. Limit manuscripts to four pages double-spaced, or three poems. Writers attending in person, please bring 5 copies of your work to our meeting in addition to sending a copy as an attachment in an email.
Non-members are welcome to attend two meetings before membership.
Thursday, September 15—We participate in the Louisville Community Foundation’s Give for Good fundraiser on Thursday, 9/15 from 12 AM to 11:59 PM. This is a 24-hour on-line only fundraiser in which we ask friends, families, and fellow writing enthusiasts for donations as small as $10. Our goal is to raise $2,500 to help finance programs, pay honoraria to presenters, offer scholarships, and finance an upcoming writing contest that will result in a Women Who Write literary anthology.
If you would be willing to be a peer fundraiser for the Give for Good fundraiser, please let Kim know at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an email prompting you to set up your own link. From there you’ll send emails out to persons of your choice!
Here is the profile page, in progress, for Women Who Write
Saturday & Sunday, November 5 and 6—Beginning Saturday at 9 AM and ending on Sunday at 5 PM, Women Who Write will gather at the Kentucky Foundation for Women’s Hopscotch House near Wolf Pen Branch road in eastern Louisville. Overnight is an option for persons who sign up in advance. Our registration form and specific costs will be available by August 15.
We are busy planning the program, which involves an inspirational presentation (tbd) as well as writing, reading, eating, walking, and reading our work aloud.
Saturday, November 12—Women Who Write is renting space at a table at the book fair during the annual Writer’s Block Festival, sponsored by Louisville Literary Arts.org. The event features writers in panels and as speakers as well as a book fair. If you have a book to sell at our table, please let Kim know at email@example.com. We will need volunteers to staff the table for the day—two hours per shift.
MONTHLY WRITING PROMPT—Wander into wonder
“Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time.”
Stream-of-consciousness, a craft tool often used by Virginia Woolf, “mimics the non-linear way our brains work, and includes a lot of free association, looping repetitions, sensory observations, and strange (or even nonexistent) punctuation and syntax—all of which helps us to better understand a character’s psychological state and worldview. It’s meant to feel like you have dipped into the stream of the character’s consciousness—or like you’re a fly on the wall of their mind Oregon State.edu).
Here is an example of a flash fiction story that wanders, as a child’s mind would.
“Angels and Blueberries,” by Tara Campbell in Defenestrationism.net
The word, “defenestration,” originates from an ancient tradition of throwing someone out the window. This literary blog stretches the boundaries in fascinating ways!
Here are some prompts to inspire stream-of-consciousness—
- Write what your character is thinking while she should be doing something else.
- Begin with the phrase, “I wonder why . . .”
- Begin with a question, like Mary Oliver’s, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
- Write down a word or phrase that comes to you when first wake in the morning. Or create a list of word and phrases you love and words you hate.
Who knows? Stream-of-consciousness might help you jump off that writer’s block!
WE WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR WRITING LIFE.
Submit your work to literary journals and blogs. Why? Submission is part of the writing life. Rejection is universal. Acceptance happens. In submitting, you must revise and finish that story or poem (s) languishing on your to-do list.
Here is our August list of opportunities for writers—
Write for the Women Who Write web blog! Members are invited to submit writing, life, or the writing life. Personal essay, poem, fiction all welcome (1500 words maximum). We’ll read your work in advance and offer revision suggestions if needed.
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/
Consider attending the annual Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop to be held in Dayton, Ohio and on Zoom, from October 20-22. The in-person conference fee is $499, and the virtual access fee is $79. Learn more about the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.
Palooka Magazine is an international journal seeking all genres year-round
The Image Journal’s tagline is Art. Faith. Mystery. It welcome writing of all genres, including visual art on religion in all faith traditions. Check out the submission guidelines and reading dates there.
Chicken Soup for the Soul, which pays for publication, has two upcoming themes—funny stories due August 31 and angels and miracles due December 31.
Split Rock Review publishes “poetry, short creative nonfiction and fiction, comics, hybrids, visual poetry, interviews, book reviews, photography, and art that explore place, environment, and the relationship between humans and the natural world”.
Deadline for submissions—August 31.
They Call Us Eve, a feminist magazine devoted to discussing everyday gender discrimination, is currently accepting free submissions of poetry, prose, art, and photography for their new edition. Find out about submissions here. The word limit is 800.
Here are twenty-six paying markets for nonfiction, fiction, and poetry
Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction invited to submit to the Medium.com publication Landslide Lit(erary) . The co-editors are WWW members, Bonnie Omer Johnson, and Kimberly Crum. No need to be a paying Medium subscriber. Bonnie and Kim will provide a Medium.com tutorial and editorial suggestions for submitted manuscripts. See submission guidelines here.
Consider submitting short memoir or personal essay to Herstryblog.com.” The theme for the September 1 deadline is, “Twist of Fate.” Find out more here. HerStry also accepts non-themed memoir-essay year-round and pays for publication.
Small presses are excellent places to submit a book directly. Here is a listing of small presses—https://www.newpages.com/books/publishers
Pithead Chapel is looking for engaging art, fiction, nonfiction, and prose poetry.”
Consider writing for the Speculative Nonfiction journal. The current theme is “passage.” Submissions accepted until October 2022 for $3 via Submittable. Here is the link for submissions—https://speculativenonfiction.submittable.com/submit
Funds for writers newsletter—lists paying markets for 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/
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. Membership entitles you to discounts on workshops and retreats.
Attend our monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month.
We’d love to have you on our leadership team as membership coordinator or treasurer. Membership coordinator keeps dues notices up to date. The treasurer oversees finances, keeps records, pays (our few) bills, oversees the budget, files simple reports, balances our bank statements, helps collect membership dues. We want more than your attention to detail. We want your ideas! Nominate yourself or another member. Questions—write to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our Facebook Page and stay awhile—@womenwhowriteky. Help us get to 1,000 followers! Don’t forget to like us and follow us. Also, send us links to your published writing. We will include your writing on our Facebook page! Answer polls. See video interviews of WWW meetings with visiting writers.
Members, please email email@example.com with your comments, requests, or suggestions.
Be safe. Be strong. Be peace.
Love your writing life!
Kim, Megan, Alisa, and Irene