Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Dear Women Who Write,
The above question from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day,” is easily misinterpreted when pulled out of context. It sounds like the speaker wants her audience to make resolutions for self-improvement. In fact, the poem’s speaker is kneeling in the grass, in silence, studying the grasshopper she holds in her hands. Oliver writes, “I know how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields.”
Is it possible to make silence in the natural world one of our New Year’s intentions? Has the pandemic made it easier or more difficult to feel blessed when idle? Is there something you now pay attention to that you might have ignored previously? Or something you enjoy doing that you did not enjoy before? This writer now bird watches, cooks new dishes for pleasure, binges the Great British Baking Show. How about you?
Hope this New Year brings a balance of pleasurable idleness and satisfying work within a supportive community. And we hope you choose to continue as a member of our writing community! We are proud to have not missed a meeting in these last two years. And we’ve managed to have three retreats, four guest speakers and teach two classes for University of Louisville students.
In this newsletter, you will find dates and plans for upcoming meetings, a writing prompt, and a request to nominate yourself or another member for our Women Who Write leadership team, and a list of opportunities for writers of all genres.
Our January 11 meeting will be on Zoom. The meeting link was sent in the January newsletter. If you need the meeting link, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve postponed our in-person meeting until February, due to the current spread of the virus.
- Be prepared to tell us your publishing story. A function of our writing community is sharing. This month we will begin our meeting by sharing publishing stories! Tell us about the process—the frustrations, the rewards, the lessons learned.
- Bring a poem, a chapter, a short story, a personal essay, or memoir piece for peer commentary. Send up to five double-spaced prose pages or three poems as a Word attachment to email@example.com by noon on Tuesday, January 11. The host will screenshare your manuscript while you read it aloud. And each of us will offer strength-based comments along with helpful revision suggestions.
Our February 8 meeting will be in-person and on Zoom at Kimberly Crum’s studio at Mellwood Arts Center, 1860 Mellwood Avenue, Louisville 40206 in Studio 123 (or by Zoom). Zoom participants will be visible on a television in the studio, and Zoomers will be able to view in-person participants on a rotating office laptop.
- This gathering will include a business meeting. Members will review and approve our 2022 budget and elect a new leadership team.
- We will provide peer commentaries, as usual. Bring a poem, a chapter, a short story, a personal essay, or memoir piece for peer commentary. Send up to five double-spaced prose pages or three poems as a Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Tuesday, February 8. The host will screenshare your manuscript while you read it aloud. And each of us will offer strength-based comments along with helpful revision suggestions.
Help your writing community work for you. Melony Dixon and Pam Lafollette, who’ve fulfilled a two-year term (in Melony’s case, terms) on our leadership team. Melony kept track of our revenues and expenses, paid our bills, submitted our reports, negotiated with vendors. Pam took charge of our social networks, offered encouragement and leadership. Both offered time, humor and support to the community. We do hope they’ll continue as active members and share their new writing with us. Thank you, Mel and Pam! And thank you, Alisa for continuing to serve!
With their departure, we need two to three members to join the leadership team with Alisa and Kim. Please nominate yourself or others. Nomination does not obligate the person to serve. We’ll get together to discuss details in late January. Persons who choose to join our leadership team will fill a position or job that best suits their interests and skills. Here is the link to nominate.
Writing Prompt—Losing Something or Being Lost
“Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either way, there is a loss of control.
Loss creates tension, requiring the character to respond. Consider what happens when you lose a thing. You try to solve your problem. You empty drawers, get down on your hands and knees, retrace your steps. You might even clean the closet, which leads to finding things you weren’t looking for. Losing requires thought, action, and interactions with people who might be able to help you find what you’ve lost.
The same goes for losing yourself, on a trail or a journey. Simply being in a strange place, by choice, is one way you lose yourself. Story comes from the situation when characters face the unfamiliar, when there is something at stake. The story is what happens to the character as she works to solve her problem.
Tell a story or write a poem in which a character (which might be you) loses an object or loses her way. Be vivid and specific. Use details. Show the character taking action. Have her think silently or aloud.
We Want to Support Your Writing Life.
- Chestnut Review describes itself as a “literary home for stubborn artists,” publishing prose and poetry in their quarterly journal. Writers are paid for publication.
- Submit to Prime Number magazine’s writing contest for short fiction and poetry. Deadline is March 1, 2022. First prize is $1,000.
- Go local!Good River Review is an up-and-coming online literary journal hosted by the Spalding University School of Professional and Creative Writing here in Louisville. It’s a wonderful resource for writers who want to read about the craft, authors and poets and book reviews (a WWW member Laura Johnsrude writes book reviews for Good River!). The journal accepts submission in all genres, including children’s stories and drama.
- The Awakenings Project is currently accepting submissions for prose and poetry by writers who have struggled with mental health or addiction, personally or with family /friends. The project prints one book per year.
- Here is a list of writing retreats for women at The Write Life website and blog.
- Interested in writing and editing jobs that pay? Here are twenty ways to find freelance writing and editing jobs at The Write Life.
- Here is the “Big List” of Writing Contests from NewPages.com.
- Submit to the Women Who Write blog— We accept short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry (less than 1,300 words of prose) from current members. Please pitch a blog idea or paste your writing in an e-mail to email@example.com. You can read the most recent blog post, by Alisa Childress, WWW secretary, “Soundtrack of a Life
- Submit to Landslide Lit (erary), a Medium.com publication by WWW members Kimberly Crum and Bonnie Omer Johnson. The platform publishes poetry, fiction, and short memoir. Learn more about submissions here. This is an online publication, technically a blog, easy to post on social networks and find via browsers. Kim and Bonnie are happy to advise you on the process—email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Consider submitting to Image Journal, which publishes fiction, poetry, and personal essays re: “sustained engagement with Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. That engagement can include unease, grappling, or ambivalence as well as orthodoxy.”
- 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.”
- The HerStry blog invites regular essays and has a monthly theme. All published submissions earn a $20 payment. You can write a personal essay about any subject or write to a theme (makes a good writing prompt). HerStry is currently collecting essays on Home (due February 1) and Breasts (due March 1).
- Literary Mama publishes creative nonfiction by mothers of any age, about motherhood. They accept submissions on a rolling basis.
- 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!
Attend our monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. Our next meeting is Tuesday, January 11 at 6:30 PM on Zoom. Our February meeting is Tuesday February 8 beginning 6:30 PM (hybrid on Zoom and in-person at Mellwood Arts Center).
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!
Please share your ideas for future programming! You can attend two meetings as a non-member, before joining for $50. Students 18 and older enrolled in school can become members for $25.
Visit our Facebook Page and stay awhile—@womenwhowriteky. Help us exceed 1000 followers. Answer questions. See video interviews of WWW meetings with visiting writers.
Be safe. Be strong. Be peace.
Love your writing life!