Special Event Harvest / Halloween / Celebration on October 22ndwith special guests: Lisa Towles, award winning author of Hot House Ana Manwaring, award winning author of Nothing Comes After Z October 22nd 12pm – 4:00pm 16851 Cull Canyon Road, Castro Valley CA 94552 Space and parking are limited.
The Witness Protection Poets Chapbook Collective Presents
Lies and lockdowns
elections and insurrections
uprisings and upheavals
fires and floods—it’s been a world of dread
and extinction hard pressed to find distinction.
with changes and challenges
inspiration often perspiration
this group of poets has grabbed
turned lemons into sweet, sweet pies.
On Mayday, the Witness Protection Program Poets exchanged their first ever collection of chapbooks. Seventeen writers dug deep into their hearts and souls to make sense of the world around us—for the happier or sadder, the bolder or the fearful, in awe or anger.
Take founder Nick Triglia‘s 21 Reasons to Slit One’s Wrists—“2. ” ( you fill in the blank!) in The Backroom of the Believe It or Not Museum of Prose and Poetry, or Betsy Roman’s, A Chronicle Through Chaos: A poetic preservation of unhinged history sifted from the debris of Election 2020— “Black lives white lies orange skies” perfectlysums it up.
Antonia’ Allegra’s ConverSAYtions offers clever word play and solid advice: “Considering conflicting news/rushing at us like/water from a fire hose,/take U and E from FAUCETS/to reveal the FACTS.” Valli Ferrell’s Lens, tells us How To Be Cheerful, “Do appreciate/ do say it/ out loud to no one/ to the bird trill in the brittle cold air.” And Dina Corcoran’s Christmas Cards reminds us: “My life is richer for [our] continued contact. . .[they] are treasures.”
The poems take us on journeys of discovery, of contemplation, joy and song. Marianne LyonTravels with Aruba, her Love-Dog— “Come love-dog let us take a meander. . . ” Cathy Carsell‘sOf Earth and Sky filled with poetic lyrics and refrains transport us away: “There’s music in the wind/in New Orleans late at night/as it moves through the treetops/on a warm spring night. . .Music in the wind/Listen in. . . .”
These chapbooks offer us reflections on nature. Marilyn Dykstra writes in Full Circle Reflections—Sycamore Grove Park Haiku #3—”Black ashen earth/Soaked with recent autumn rains,/A green carpet sprouts“. Nathaniel Winters advises us, “Without the birds and bees no flowers appear/food becomes scarce/animals and man become endangered/love can’t bloom” in Art of Living from his collection, Seeking Sunshine. And from Yvonne Henry’s poems and art work,6:57 AM “The sun rose slightly/ askew/ causing/ for a moment/ the dove and I to tilt our heads.”
“Ekphrastic fantastic” poet James McDonald reflects on art in Visual Language, “Diego the last thought, always Diego/ my essence reaches out/ for rebirth in the rich soil/ fertile in death/ barren in life/ from Diego On My Mind.
These writings cause us to consider our losses and our longings—from “Tangential” by Sarah Miller in Off on a Tangent:“Like the time my hand brushed her hair/ from her dying forehead/ like you wished you had” or, “Give me back that summer/ even the tattling sister/ once a waterskiing champion, destined/ for deep, slow rotting in her bones.” from “Deep, Slow” in Little Palace of Illness by Ana Manwaring, and from Things I’m Wrestling With , “Miscarriage” by Noel Robinson, “Pregnancy loss does not define a woman. It is merely the involuntary actions of the uterus that brings death to the fetus. If the life inside the mother perishes, she survives along with her dreams and hopes. I know, I am part of the woodwork containing the sorrow of the past. . . .”
Finally, many of the poems, essays, and memoir written in these chapbooks make us look at our lives and into our hearts to know the truth of our own humanity. Through the eyes and words of others we come to complete ourselves. In the words of Arthur T. Robinson in his introduction to Riding the Goat: An Anti-memoir, “. . .writers of all cultures , genders, and ages have wrestled with the tricky stance of writing. . . one’s past real, seeking out . . . patterns, and deducing vital lessons.”
Do you have a book in you? I bet your, husband, aunt, boss, grandchild, best friend, Prime delivery person or. . . has said your life is so interesting you should write a book. Go on, I double dare you! Studies reveal over 200 million Americans, or more than 80% of us, think we have a book in our future. But how many of us actually write it?
Penning a book, or even a 500-word article, is hard work. Much harder than those helpful, hopeful friends and relatives could know (unless they’ve taken up writing), and writing a book worth reading is harder yet. I’ve published two novels and am close to finishing a book length memoir. I can attest that the writing at times is more like mental slavery, full of doubt and frustration than the rapturous “writer’s trance” induced during flights of creativity. Most of the job is just plain hard work. Thomas Edison said “success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration” and this about sums up writing a good book. It’s a flush of creativity and a slog of editing, revision, rewrites, more editing, more revision. (But the good news is, the more you do it, the more fun it gets!)
I wonder how many “you have a book in you” authors actually give it a go? In America alone, up to a million books are published annually, between traditional publishing and independent publishing. Is yours the one in a million?
Now that you’ve read the warning label, why exactly would you take the writing plunge?
5 Reasons Why:
Maybe because writing is a solitary pursuit, authors love to congregate and share knowledge. We’re a congenial community, with interesting vocabularies and great conversation. Joining with other authors is stimulating and informative, and you can’t beat the heady feeling of being in the limelight, all eyes and ears on you, as the talk turns to your book. But like all “clubs,” you must join to reap the benefits.
While few books sell more than 250 copies in a year, not enough to subsidize the time you spend writing, your completed book is a great accomplishment akin to what a college degree used to be before 70% of Americans started attending universities. Think of the expanded knowledge you’ll get from the research you’ll need to do. Think of the boost to your self-esteem!
Even if you don’t become famous (80% of famous authors are dead!), your book can help give you a leg-up to other opportunities. Want to give talks on a cruise ship? Want folks to learn about your expertise? Speak at book clubs, become a blogger, create podcasts? Speaking of podcasts, one of my students, an 86-year-young writer, now is the queen of podcasting with her own show: Kosher Style Stories. You might be “discovered” too!
It’s been argued that writing helps us thrive into old age. According to cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, “[fiction] can help us prepare for problems we might face and allows us to develop strategies for dealing with those problems, thus giving us survival techniques.” Neuroscience suggests that intellectual activity is important to keeping a healthy brain as we age. We ‘ve all experienced difficulty in retrieving words and names, but time spent writing is all about words and retrieving them, using multiple parts of the brain. There’s an added benefit if you write by hand. The combination of motor-skills, memory, and slower pace that handwriting brings to the experience activates more parts of the brain. It’s just good science: writing keeps your brain in tip-top shape.
Writing is a way to leave a record of your life, a legacy for your family. The greatest gift you can give!
I have a suggestion, start by joining our writing workshops in Wine Country and see if you’re one in a million. You’ll make new friends, learn new things, broaden your horizons, keep the ole synapses firing and create a unique and enduring legacy—what an accomplishment!
#Wine Country Writing Workshops Fall 2019
New!Mondays in Sonoma The Creative Writing Workshop September 9-December 9 2:00-4:00 PM Fee Vintage House Senior Center 264 First Street East, Sonoma 95476
Ongoing!Tuesdays in St. Helena The Brunch Bunch Creative Writing Workshop Upper Valley Campus Room 4 10:00-12:30 Fee. Class size limited to 12 Section 1: September 3-October 15 (no class 9/24) Section 2: October 22-December 3 (no class 11/26) Pre-register here
Free!Autobiographical Writing Section 1: Memoir over Lunch1:15-3:15 at Rianda House Section 2: Happy Hour Autobiographical Writing4:00-6:00 atUpper Valley Campus Library Pre-register here
Annual Writers Showcase at Rianda House December 10th 1:00-3:15
Vintage House 264 1st Street East Sonoma CA 95476 707-996-0311
$80.00 Members / $100.00 Non-member
Ana Manwaring’s creative writing classes through Napa Valley College have served writers since 2006. For a decade, her editing business, JAM Manuscript Consulting, has helped many local writers realize publishing dreams. Her short stories, memoir, essays, and poetry have appeared in The Petaluma Post, The Press Democrat, the HLG Valentine, Women’s Voices, KRCB Morning Haiku, Ravenspatch and many anthologies.
By integrating Jane’s 13 thinking, writing, and revising tips into your writing processes, you will write tighter, more polished first drafts. Improve your story’s pace, while ratcheting up suspense. Use Jane’s tips as a checklist and a mandate toward your best writing ever.
When: June 1, 2019 from 1-4 PM
Where: Unity SF
Address: 2222 Bush St. at Fillmore, San Francisco, CA 94115
Jane K. Cleland writes the multiple award-winning and bestselling Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries [St. Martin’s Minotaur]. The 13th in the series, Hidden Treasure, will be published in spring 2020. Jane also writes about the craft of writing, including Mastering Plot Twists and the Agatha Award-winning and bestselling Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, both from Writer’s Digest Books.
SinC-NorCal and Capitol Crime members free. Non-members: $40.
On when and how to make promises and reveal information, read Mastering Suspense, Structure and Plot.
—Dan Brown, New York Times #1 Bestselling Author, in his Masterclass on writing
P.S. I’m not missing this event! Do join me in San Francisco on June 1st! ~Ana
I’ve been asking myself this question for some time now. There are some great reasons to blog, and sometimes I think there are greater reasons not to blog. Really, is anyone listening? If you’re interested in a rousing discussion on the topic, drop by tomorrow. And bring questions.
To Blog or Not
Friday, May 17, 2019 – 12:00pm
Join the MI writing community for a stimulating panel with three authors who will share the pros and cons of blogging. Please welcome novelist Ana Manwaring, WordPress expert Linda Lee, and non-fiction writer John Lumea of The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign.
Author of thrillers, Set Up and The Hydra Effect, Ana Manwaring founded JAM Manuscript Consulting and teaches creative writing. She blogs at anamanwaring.com.
Linda Lee is a writer, speaker, educator, and website designer who demystifies the online experience. She specializes in WordPress design, WordPress Websites, instruction, and problem shooting. Linda is the founder of WordPress Bootcamp, Smart Women Stupid Computersand Askmepc-Webdesign. She offers remote training domestically and internationally. Linda has been the Volunteer Director for the San Francisco Writers conference since 2007.
John Lumea is founder of The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign. His work in San Francisco history has appeared in the SF Chronicle, KQED, Mother Jones, WSJ, LA Times and more.
57 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94104