Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let the Words Flow

Let the words flow at the March 13 meeting of the Women's Writing Circle.  Together we offer up the joy of the readaround.  What is a readaround? Each writer reads their work aloud. Then members of the circle read back lines they liked and give critiques at the author's request.  This flow of give and take between writers provides the support and encouragement we need to keep at what we do.

Free coffee and tea are provided at Wellington Square Bookshop in Exton.  For directions to the bookstore, click on the link under Favorite Places.

Please bring at least one extra copy of the work you plan to read.  This is a chance for writers in the Philadelphia area to meet, network and inspire.  Hope to see you at the bookstore at 9 a..m. on the 13th.  If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Susan Weidener at: 610-304-5370 or at sgweidener@comcast.net.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Readaround

This morning's monthly meeting of the Women's Writing Circle was again a pleasure and a revelation.  Arleen read a story about a diabolical gardener who murders a fat, bossy woman and hangs her body for decoration in a tree at Longwood Gardens.  Barbara read an excerpt from her novel about faith and renewal after the failed lynching of an African American man in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  For my part, it was Chapter 4 from my memoir, Again In a Heartbeat  - describing how I ended up popping the question to my husband!

Wellington Square Bookshop in the Eagleview Town Center offered a cozy atmosphere for the readaround on a cold winter's morning, giving us our very own corner tucked away by the rare and used book collection. There we were joined by a skeletal muse who listens with much interest and reminds us that it is the journey not the destination that matters!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Men on Center Stage

As I  watch the heavy curtain of snow descend, I am thinking about last night's Story Slam at Ryan's Pub in downtown West Chester.

Organized by another writer, the idea is to tell a story without notes or props in five minutes or less. Judges rank each story teller and the winner gets a chance to compete in the "Grand Story Slam" contest in November. I love the art of storytelling and thought - fine, I'll give this a try. The topic "love is hard" appealed to me. My stomach fluttered a little nervously as I stood up, took the mike and starting talking about my son, Daniel - first when he was a little boy heading off to summer camp and then flashing forward to when he was graduating from the University of Arizona to enter the work world.  My theme - leaving the nest is hard on both mother and child.

Strangely,  among the eight storytellers, I was the only woman.  Why? What was happening here? Was it testosterone that made the difference between telling a good story and listening to one? Or was it society's message that women quietly sit back while their male counterparts run the show?  Whether it was a story about a dead cat or the guy who had a crush on a rock singer until he figured out she preferred women, it was all the same.  Males wildly gesturing, joking and using sarcasm while the women in the audience obligingly laughed and clapped. One woman liked my story, too.  I heard her say, "It almost made me cry."  Maybe that was the difference. Guys are better at jokes and women better at tears.

In the end machismo won the day although I think I may have come in second.  I suppose I should feel good all things considered. After all, when it comes to Story Slams, guys win hands down.  And I am betting that when November's competition rolls around, it'll be the men on center stage.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Editing and Writing Services

One of my hopes for those of us in The Women's Writing Circle is that we can network and share our professional expertise.  Obviously, we would not ask a doctor to see us for free, nor should we ask a seasoned writer or editor to help us with our writing projects for free.  It was through "The Circle" that I met the editor for my memoir, Again In a Heartbeat.  I paid for her work and she has been an invaluable asset in helping me become a better storyteller.

Please consider this when asking one of our members to critique or edit your work. Even creative people need to eat. Thank you.

And, as always, our read-arounds at Wellington Square Bookshop on the second Saturday of the month are free. Hope to see you there!
The best to my Sisters in the Writing Circle.
Susan