Welcome to The Club!

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The Berkeley Branch is the founding branch of the oldest professional writers’ club West of the Missisippi.

CWC Berkeley Branch welcomes all California Writers Club members and guests to our monthly speaker program and affordable workshops on the art and business of writing.

Join us Saturday, November 24th, 2018 for WRITE NOW, a write in at the Octopus Literary Salon, from 1-6 p.m.

WRITE NOW Nov 24th

Click here to commit to your writing career.

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Winter Social for CWC Members

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Sunday December 16th

Feast & Share Your Best Holiday Writing

CWC Writers! It’s time to gather for our our second Winter Social at the swankiest club in town! Cover charge for members & guests is $10, but if you pre-purchased our discount meeting package this year, entry is included.

Reception at 5, Dinner at 6 & 7 p.m.

We’ll bring the wine for the reception at 5 p.m., and additionally you can purchase dinner seatings for 6 or 7 p.m. There are two options for the three-course dinner: red snapper or Indian tagine over quinoa (vegan).

Bring Writing of Good Cheer for our Contest!

Polish up your best holiday writing for our party contest! Fresh or previously published poems, short stories (under 1000 words), songs, skits, and letters of good cheer, especially about “the gifty part of the year” are what we are after!

MEMBERS: RSVP & Get Your Ticket today!

Pre-purchase your ticket and dinner via Paypal, or RSVP and pay at the door. Members may invite up to 4 guests.

Please dress to fit the opulence of the Bellevue and the spirit of the season—no jeans! 

Write with Us Next Saturday

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November 24th at 1 p.m.
Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

Join us Saturday at the Octopus Literary Salon for an afternoon of quiet writing. Bring your favorite writing tools and order drinks, lunch, or stay afterwards for dinner. At 6 p.m., the Octopus will host a Small Business Saturday. As we write, the Octopus Salon will be decorating, hosting a gift bazaar, and getting festive for an evening bluegrass jubilee.

Thanksgiving out of the way, this event is the day after Black Friday/Plaid Friday/Buy Nothing Day, a perfect Saturday to focus on GETTING SOME WRITING DONE. 

This event is free and open to the public and co-hosted by Authors Large & Small.

A Few Questions for Software Pioneer and Author, Gary Durbin

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This month’s featured CWC member is Gary Durbin, a retired serial entrepreneur and software industry pioneer. Instead of writing computer code and starting software companies, he now writes, hikes, and advises young entrepreneurs. He has published short stories and his first novel, Nano-Uncertainty.

Gary led a research project into the use of artificial intelligence for business systems and an experimental project in computer-aided tutoring. Mr. Durbin holds four software patents, one for distributed inference on massively parallel computers. He has published several technical articles in magazines and journals and authored a special publication of the National Bureau of Standards.

Sample Durbin’s writing at GaryDurbinWriter.com/work-in-progress/

Five Questions for Gary Durbin

What’s the most important piece of writing advice that you could give to other writers?

Beg, plead, or coerce people to read your stuff and give you honest feedback.

What one thing has helped promote your writing most?

Workshops like the Mendocino Writers Conference.

What other writers inspire you?

Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, Evan Currie, Salman Rushdie, Alfred Bester, Clifford Simak, Robert Heinlein

Where are you from and where do you live?

Native Californian. Born: Santa Monica, Raised: Oakland

What other facts would you like to share?

Married to Lori otherwise known as “Love of my life” for 50 years

Meet Gary Durbin and our Featured Guest Patricia Ravasio this Sunday, November 17th

Remember that our members are your community, so treasure this opportunity to get to know Gary and find out how he can help your writers career, and vice versa. Members, don’t forget to come at 11 a.m. to participate in the craft and marketing support groups!

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Nov 18th 2:30-4 pm Patricia Ravasio to speak on "Mission Utopia--Writing to Share an Urgent Vision."


Interview with Pat Ravasio

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Literary publicist and CWC member Cristina Deptula interviews our November speaker, Patricia Ravasio. Ravasio is the author of The Girl from Spaceship Earth, a book about Buckminster Fuller. She will speak to the Berkeley CWC about pushing past your comfort zones, finding your voice, and writing with a mission.

pat ravasio

November speaker, Patricia Ravasio

How do you handle it when you feel very strongly inspired by a project and it seems to go nowhere or have no outlet to get published?

You are describing my life! It has been very hard to drum up interest in Buckminster Fuller, even though he has brilliant answers to some of humanity’s most pressing questions. I handle it by never ever ever giving up.

Would you suggest that writers hang on to their unfinished drafts, or to their research notes from unfinished projects?

Definitely hang on to old research notes, but unfinished drafts better to let them go. Some of my best writing has come after I tossed old drafts of chapters and started over.

FrontCover-Spaceship Earth copy

How do you know when what you have to say is important enough to interrupt your regular life? How did you know that for your Buckminster Fuller book?

If you’re listening there’s usually a powerful voice inside you that holds these answers. You just know. It’s your intuition talking and if you don’t listen to it you’re making a big mistake.

Did Buckminster Fuller have any wisdom that you think would especially apply to writers?

All of Bucky’s wisdom applies to writers. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

The future of humanity rests upon our individual integrity and whether or not each of us has the integrity to only go along with the truth.

Another quote that’s easily relatable:

When something is broken, don’t try to fix it. Instead create a new model that renders the old one obsolete.

(This applies to writing and to government!)

Join us Sunday, November 18th for a lively discussion with Patricia Ravasio.

Nov 18th 2:30-4 pm Patricia Ravasio to speak on "Mission Utopia--Writing to Share an Urgent Vision."

SPEAKER 11/18: “Mission: Utopia—Writing to Share an Urgent Vision” with Pat Ravasio

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Nov 18th 2:30-4 pm Patricia Ravasio to speak on "Mission Utopia--Writing to Share an Urgent Vision."

As a young journalist, Patricia Ravasio was electrified by a day with iconic American genius and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), who urged her to share the vision of his urgent messages with the world, hoping to help humanity awaken in time. When Fuller’s dire predictions came true on 9/11, Ravasio realized she must face up to her commitment, and began her writing journey in earnest. Her memoir, The Girl from Spaceship Earth, launched on 9/11/17 to celebrate the Buckminster Fuller Institute moving to San Francisco, and was praised by Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. Anyone who is writing with a mission to change the world knows that sometimes this path of intensity can threaten your relationships and sanity. Any writer who has experienced an epiphany will benefit from hearing Pat’s struggle to climb out of comfort zones, find her voice, and live up to her promise.

Patricia’s book, The Girl from Spaceship Earth, brings forth the largely forgotten wisdom of a late American genius often called the Leonardo da Vinci of the twentieth century. It is a true story of her encounters with Buckminster Fuller; the urgent messages for humanity he shares with her during a 1982 meeting in Chicago; how she promises to share his messages and wisdom with the world; and how discoveries along the way challenged her to the core.

About Pat Ravasio

Ravasio has won awards for her radio reporting, advertising copywriting, and community volunteerism. She wrote a long-running weekly column for her community newspaper, and writes occasional guest opinion pieces for the Marin Independent Journal. Pat is the mother of three grown daughters and lives with her husband of thirty years in Corte Madera.

Learn more about Buckminster Fuller, Pat Ravasio or her book at BuckyIdeas.com.

But Wait, There’s More!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…

Preservation Park

Preservation Park, where Patricia Ravasio will speak this Sunday

Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this. Non-members and guests can audit any of our critique & support groups before joining. 

Enjoy the buzz of our networking time from 2-2:30 p.m. Have some coffee and make some great connections!

MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Success Group

2:00–2:30 – Writer Networking
2:30–3:00 – Welcome, Raffle & Club Announcements

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member Gary Durbin
3:15–4:00 – Featured Speaker Patricia Ravasio

NEW: 4:15 – CWC Open Mic

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members*

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket; additional tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Win a book written by our club authors!
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*Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are committed to supporting writers.

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

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See you Sunday! + Interview with Historical Fiction Novelist Linda McCabe

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It’s California Writers Week! This is an annual observation to “encourage the people of the State of California to reflect upon the contributions that California writers have made to humankind,” since 2003.

We will be meeting this Sunday, like every 3rd Sunday, for our monthly day of writerly activities. Networking at 2 p.m., Club meeting at 2:30, Featured club author Alice Jurow at 3 p.m., and our Keynote speaker Linda McCabe at 3:15. Come early for our Craft Group at 12 p.m. and our Marketing Success Group at 1 p.m., and stay late for our new Open Mic at 4:15! (The support groups are for members but guests may audit before joining the club.)

Interview with Linda McCabe

 

Our October speaker, Linda McCabe, is inspired by classical works, particularly the story of Orlando Furioso, a 16th century Italian work that is connected to the 10th century French “Song of Roland.” What do laboratory science, magical creatures, Harry Potter, a Muslim/Christian holy war, Kick-ass heroines and beta readers have to do with each other? Our speaker chair Cristina Deptula did a lengthy interview on her website Lois Lane Investigates Authors, and we’ve excerpted some highlights here.

How do you know when you’ve done enough research and you’re ready to write? 

linda-mccabe-quote-octThis is a gut feeling. There’s a point when I feel like I am procrastinating more than I am doing research. Sometimes I just have to shift gears and stop researching if the aspect I am trying to understand isn’t “knowable” or maybe isn’t all that important. I spent over a week wondering about diapering in the middle ages. This was all because I wanted to have a character do some action in a scene with her baby. I started imagining the characters in my setting and thought of where would the dirty diaper would be placed. Then I wondered how the diaper would be closed, (did they have diaper pins?) How often would they wash them? How many diapers would a noble household have for a baby?
Some research suggested that babies might not have been put in diapers at all. Instead, the parents would watch them carefully and hold them at arm’s length over straw to absorb urine flow.

I considered this matter for too long. I was obsessing over a minor detail that did not enhance or further the plot. I decided to take it out and not “go there.” Instead, I described the baby as been freshly bathed in the scene.

I notice you also write essays and editorials in addition to your  historical fiction. Would you agree with the advice I myself heard as an aspiring novelist, to get other pieces of writing published before you  go out there to agents and publishers with a first novel?

linda-mccabe-quote-tall-octWhile I believe that publication credits are important to demonstrate your authority as a writer, they aren’t as important to an agent as the sample pages of your completed novel. Writing an article or short story is like running a 100 yard dash while writing a novel is more like running a marathon.

Perfecting the art of the query letter or verbal pitching to an agent in order to get the request to submit sample pages is a different skill set than regular writing. Once you get the go-ahead to send your manuscript and synopsis, your overall craft will be on full view. The agent and subsequent potential publishers will only green light a publishing contract based on the strength of your finished product and not because you had an op-ed published in the LA Times.

Honestly, I think getting a pithy book description will do more for you with agents and publishers than having multiple credits to your name. However, it is a different matter if you are writing non-fiction. If you had publication credits in magazines or peer-reviewed journals and you were submitting a book proposal on the same topic – it might help influence the decision of the agent/publisher to sign you as a client/author.

 

Ask Linda McCabe your own questions this Sunday, October 21st at our monthly meeting.

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