“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
~ Melody Beattie
We are now on the cusp of Thanksgiving, the ritual of abundance that precedes the ritual of gift-giving. The cherished tradition of giving thanks over dinner emerged from the celebration of the harvest (and survival) in early America. The tradition continues, though surviving another year is often taken for granted.
Throughout the year, we are urged to nurture an “attitude of gratitude.” For this writer, the phrase feels cliché and hard to execute. “Gratitude” is an abstract noun. And in the writing life, we learn that abstract nouns, especially those conveying emotion, should be made concrete. What does gratitude look like? Do we know it when we see it?
Dictionary.com defines gratitude as,“. . . the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Note, that the dictionary uses active voice in this definition. To “show” and “return” kindness suggests an act of doing. What if we change the passive voice question “What am I grateful for?” to active voice— “Who (and what) should I thank?”
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say,” says novelist Alice Walker.
Your leadership team— Kim, Megan, Alisa, Ashley, Janet, Irene, and Katie— must fill three positions on our leadership team—Director, Secretary, and Membership Coordinator. Kim and Alisa have completed two terms. Janet will devote herself to revising the memoir she completed this spring, at Loretto. We will also need one at-large member, who will assist other leaders and be available to move into vacant positions.
The joy of leadership is collaboration. When we see programs we’ve planned in action. When we get to know new members, when a successful fundraiser enables us to offer our members excellent programming at low (or no) cost. When we expand our reach into the community. When we resolve challenges together, reaching a consensus in creative ways. When we witness the community we’ve helped sustain, a community founded in 1992 by Carrider “Rita” Jones who imagined a “go-to” place for women writers. A Place. A Space. A Voice.
Consider nominating yourself or another member on our website. If you have any questions, please contact Kim at
OUR RETREAT AT THE LORETTO MOTHERHOUSE FARM RENEWED OUR WRITING LIVES
Photograph by member Irene Sulyevich at our Loretto retreat on October 14/15
“We may not have it all together, but together, we have it all.”
Here we were at a morning meeting at the Loretto retreat. After each meeting, we would write, hike, sit, walk the labyrinth, meditate, read, nap, and snack. Each afternoon, we read excerpts of our work. At Loretto, we learned so much about ourselves, writing, and the value of peace among the trees.
The retreat reminded us of our group’s value to members. Many of us join WWW for the critiques offered by our peers. Some of us simply want to meet people who share a love of the written word. Others hope membership will jump-start their writing. One can find these things in most writing groups. But a group exclusively for our gender provides other benefits—
We deserve to write—Women sometimes feel selfish when they choose to write. We have been socialized to think of the needs of others before our own. At WWWW, we encourage each other to take the time with your writing.
We can feel safe sharing stories— We recognize that sharing writing can feel risky. No matter your genre—fiction, essay, memoir, or poetry—you are sharing your view of the world, your experiences, and your quirkiness.
We can feel comfortable sharing uniquely female stories—We are among women who understand. We can share uniquely female stories without worrying about male reactions.
The process is as important as the product. Listening to and reading stories and poems, and participating in group commentary, enhances our writing lives as much as sharing our work. The resources we share during our gatherings grow our writing lives.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, November 14 at 6:30 PM, at the Highland-Shelby branch of the library at 1250 Bardstown Rd. in Mid-City Mall. There is ample off-street parking outside the mall. It’s not too early to think about what you might want to bring to our meeting. Persons interested in receiving peer critiques on November 14, please bring 8 printed copies of the manuscript you want to share. No more than 1300 words for prose or two pages of poems. If the prose piece you’d like for a critique is longer than 1300 words, please bring an excerpt. Please let us know if you plan to share your writing no later than noon on Tuesday, December 12. Email
Plan to join us for our holiday party at The Bristol Bar and Grill at 1321 Bardstown Road across from Mid-City Mall. We’ll gather on Tuesday, December 12 beginning at 6:30 PM. Last year, we enjoyed a book exchange of gently used wrapped books. This year, we’ll repeat the book exchange. Each of us will order from the menu. The private party room is upstairs, but there is an elevator available upon request. Register to come to our December 12 holiday party here!
Our first meeting in 2024 will be on Tuesday, January 9th beginning at 6:30 PM, at the Highland Shelby LFPL branch at 1250 Bardstown Road in Mid-City Mall.
THE WRITING PROMPT
Gratitude with Attitude
The writing prompt—
The theme is “gratitude with attitude.” Begin by brainstorming a list of people, things, ideas that make you want to say, “Thank you!” Write in any genre—a poem, story, essay, or memoir. Or try a different form—a list, a recipe, or operating instructions, for example. Try to use an active voice, remembering gratitude is not a state of being, but a state of doing!
If you are feeling especially creative, write a piece that makes gratitude concrete. What does gratitude look like? You can also use other senses (smell, taste, touch, sound).
Let your writing take you where it wants to go.
Here are some readings—
Thank you, Brevity.com for posting beautiful flash essays for our inspiration. Here are two related to gratitude—
“What Joy Looks Like,” by Dorian Fox
“Slowly, Slowly,” by Heather M. Surls
WE WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR WRITING LIFE
Grants are open for women wanting to apply for a solo residency at the Loretto Motherhouse farm, compliments of the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Complete the application here! Janet and Kim are pleased to share their experiences with you!
The Eunice Williams Nonfiction Prize is open for submissions. Submit a personal essay of no more than $5,000 words. Submission deadline is December 15. Read more about this contest here.
The Women Who Write website blog accepts submissions from members. No more than 2,000 words, please. Publishing on our blog will expand your writing platform. And you’ll help WWW show off the variety of talents within our writing community! Browse our web blog now! For more information, email and tell us about your story, poem, or essay—the one you’ve written or the one you want to write! We will provide suggested edits, for flow and clarity.
The Jelly Bucket journal requests submissions of prose or poetry by neurodivergent writers: General submissions are $2 through 12/1. Special section (no fee) thru 12/15. jellybucket.submittable.com/submit
Sand Hills Literary magazine, in print since 1973, is thrilled to announce submissions are OPEN for a special online Fall issue. “Our theme is the fantastical, unusual, and macabre. Speculative, thrilling, eerie, gothic, supernatural, or anything in between.” Both emerging and established writers and artists are encouraged to submit. Get creative. Get to writing. Submit your prose, poetry, and art by November 7th. sandhillslitmag.com/submit/
Submit a story to Landslide Lit(erary) on Medium.com, a publication edited by two WWW members—Kimberly Crum and Bonnie Omer Johnson. We will provide developmental and editorial suggestions. Here are the submission guidelines.
Duotrope is a fabulous resource for writers who want to publish in literary journals and anthologies and enter contests. You will receive a listing of submission opportunities in your inbox, specifically for your genre. Learn more here. Cost is $5 per month or $50 per year.
ECOTONE is an award-winning literary magazine “dedicated to reimagining place, “welcoming work from a wide range of voices. Open Submissions
Chestnut Review is reading both poetry and prose submissions between July 1-Sept 30 for the Winter Issue Open Submissions
Thimble Literary Magazine is primarily a poetry journal, but we happily publish plenty of short prose and art. Next submissions August 1 through September 30. Thimble Literary Magazine: Open Submissions
Folly is an international journal of poetry, prose, and art (published in New Zealand). Submissions are year-round. “We are drawn to dark humour, satirical takes on the social scene, and starkly honest accounts of ordinary life. Diversity is celebrated, adversity is welcomed, and, above all, personal expression is championed. Open Submissions
Green House wants poetry, short stories, creative essays, and flash fiction for bi-monthly digital issues. The website is worth a visit! Clever, unique, and informative!
Green House: Open Submissions
Sad Girls Club: Open Submissions —”We want to see writing that explores what it means to be human. Make us laugh until our stomachs hurt, ugly cry, and everything in between. We accept poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and creative nonfiction.”
HerStry literary essay/memoir blog seeks to empower women through their writing. Submissions for general admissions are ongoing. Submissions for monthly themed issues are by the end of each month. Find out more here! The next themes are, What I Learned Along the Way (due 12/1, My Body/Myself (due 01/01), and Second Chances (due 02/02).
Poets and Writers has an extensive list of literary magazines to which you can submit. Learn more here.
N+1 literary journal accepts new fiction, drama, personal essays, criticism, and translation on a rolling basis. Find out more ">here.
Gionsko Literary Journal. Gionsko means, “to perceive, understand, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth from experience.” Accepting short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, social justice, and literary insights. Learn more here.
Sky Island Journal is an online journal that publishes emerging and established writers. Prefers flash fiction and creative nonfiction (less than 1,000 words) and poetry. Rolling submissions. Inquire here.
Halfway Down the Stairs publishes quarterly themed issues of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and book reviews. Learn more here
Consider writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Some upcoming themes— The Power of Positive Thinking, Angels, Dogs, Cats, and Make Me Laugh! Learn more here
Consider submitting to this online magazine of personal essays—Dorothy Parker’s Ashes has as its tagline, “Brazen words by witty dames. Everything true. More or less.” https://www.dorothyparkersashes.com/the-writing-life
Thimble Literary is “based on the belief that poetry is like armor. Like a thimble, it may be small and seemingly insignificant, but it will protect us when we are most vulnerable.” The online journal publishes quarterly. Find out more here!
The Fictional Café is a unique literary venue inviting fiction and poetry. This international platform does require membership (looks like it’s free) to submit. They describe themselves as a Coffee Club, and their editors and staff as baristas. Here is their invitation— “Want to submit a short story or poetry? A chapter from a novel-in-progress?”
The Blue Mountain Review publishes poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, on a rolling basis, for publication in this quarterly print journal. “Blue Mountain Review is a Southern publication, but it draws no boundaries or borders on that interpretation. It seeks pieces that boldly create something new.”
The Keeping Room is an online magazine for women writers, poets, and artists, interested in “Women’s Wisdom, Lessons Learned, Self-care, Bodies, Relationships, and Community.” Find out how to submit here.
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. Our membership chair will notify persons when they are due to renew. Regular annual membership is $50. Student annual membership is $25. Scholarships are available. Membership entitles you to discounts on workshops and retreats.
Attend our monthly member meetings on the second Tuesday of each month for a brief program, peer critiques, and conversations about the writing life. Not currently a member? You can attend two meetings before deciding to join.
Thank you, WWW members, for joining our nonprofit group, for sharing your unique voices, and for supporting each other with open hearts and minds.
Love your writing life!
The Leadership Team
Kim, Alisa, Megan, Janet, Irene, Ashley, and Katie