Write Angles: March 2019

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The Wind in Your Sails

I woke up one morning and thought: What if I woke up one morning knowing we only had twelve years to save the planet? What else could I do that I’m not doing now?

At the CWC Berkeley board meeting this month, there were five talented writers sitting around the table going through the painstaking business of keeping this club going. As I struggled to get to the end of the agenda before we all had to rush off, this agitated inner voice yelled, “If we only have twelve years to keep global warming below 1.5°c, why am I bothering with this? Is this the best use of my time and energy?” Everyone stared at me. I guess I had kind of said it out loud?

Then someone else said, “I was just thinking the same thing.”

There was a rush of emotion in the room, and for a minute we all considered putting a “closed until the world is saved” sign on the CWC website, so we could turn our full attention to climate activism. But then someone mentioned Thomas Paine, and someone else mentioned the Prague Uprising, and before we knew it we were having another meeting to discuss the role our local and statewide club might play in changing this dangerous course of history. 

Jack London’s a libris

Sometimes as writers we do our best work with a deadline. Let’s work under pressure, together. Someone suggested the name “Wolf Pack Writers” for our club’s new writers action group, inspired by Jack London’s love of nature and activist writings. How can we encourage our members to work individually and together on creating understanding and action around this unfolding climate catastrophe? Billions of past decisions created this crisis. What if the writers in our club could help all of our our readers and leaders through the billions of decisions we must make now? 

Here come the lyrics. I wrote, once, about the “Seven C’s of the CWC” and here are seven more for humanity: through conservation, connection, and community, we can fight problems created by consumption, convenience, consumerism, and conveyance. In the next twelve years, every planetary traveler will need the encouragement of our motto, “Sail On,” in some form or another, to persevere through desperate times and keep focused on the human strengths that can transform society and stabilize our home planet.

Kristen Caven is author of The Souls of Her Feet 

Watch for announcements on how to get involved. In the meantime, please leave a comment about the writing YOU are doing to help calm the climate.

We’ll see you at this month’s events!

                                           Sail On,
Kristen Caven
Berkeley Branch Captain a.k.a. President

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See you Sunday!

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We are so excited to welcome Aquelia Lewis-Ross as our speaker on Sunday. Come and get inspired by this energetic and open-hearted poet, radio producer, journalist, activist, community storyteller. We’ll talk about the healing power of poetry to bring up emotions that need to be heard. Aqueila has been reading all over the East Bay of late, often in support of a good cause or to illuminate social injustices, and usually with an adorable baby on her hip! Here’s all the details…

Lucille Bellucci will be opening for Aquelia with her story,  Flammable Grudges, about dealing with injustice & emotions in a NOT so good way…. The story will be published in the West Texas Literary Review. Here’s more about Lucille!!

Meanwhile, our many club members who are soaking up (and creating) literary vibes at the San Francisco Writers Conference this weekend say HELLO!

Finally, don’t forget it’s our half-year special! Join the club between January 1 and April 15 for half-price.

$22.50 + $20 enrollment fee = $42.50

We also need your Application!

Read more about membership benefits and details on the membership page.

Three ways to join:

  1. Fill out the online membership form and pay via Paypal (includes bank fee), or
  2. Download a paper membership form and mail in with a check (see bottom of membership page), or
  3. Come to a meeting and join on the spot!

With questions or special membership categories, send an email to members.cwc.berkeley@gmail.com.

See you on Sunday!

Coffee and tea are provided, bring something to share!

Meet Historical Fiction Writer Lucille Belucci

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Lucille Belucci at CWC
Lucille Belucci

Lucille Belucci is not the most talkative member of Berkeley CWC, so you may not have realized yet what a delight she is. You may know our February Featured Member as the soft-spoken woman who runs the raffle, but she’s also the quietly feisty author of the historical fiction novel The Year of the Rat

Originally from Shanghai, on February 17th Lucille will share a story about how her early life affected her behavior one day in Hong Kong.

In Lucille’s long writing career, she has learned that 30 rejections of your book are not unusual, “so keep on with it and rewrite if you are lucky enough to receive comments on your offering.”

Three Questions for Lucille Belucci

What are your writing habits?

I write in the mornings and think about the writing the rest of the time.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had a mentor who insisted that I become like Dorothy Parker, The New Yorker roundtable writer.

What other writers inspire you?

I admired Irwin Shaw and started writing like him before developing my own style.

Meet Lucille and Keynote Aqueila Lewis-Ross at our February 17th Meeting

Young writers take note, because Lucille is most excited to offer mentorship to up and coming authors. If that’s you, say hello to Lucille at the next meeting. You can also network with other writers, get your marketing and craft questions answered, and learn about the power of poetry from keynote Aqueila Lewis-Ross.

Aqueila Lewis-Ross speaks Feb 17th for Berkeley CA Writers Club

Write Angles: February 2019

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read the entire newsletter here

The Wind In Your Sails

Some words from your president

February is the month of love, and it’s also Black History Month, a time to expand our focus on who has really shaped the world. The California Writers Club, going strong (or strong-ish) since 1909 (yes, it’s our 110th birthday), has been traditionally made up of mostly white writers, but we represent many cultures now, and the future is what we make it. Muses don’t discriminate based on color, race, or particular body parts. All of our voices are important, and all of us in this club support each other in getting our writing read, our voices heard.

We tend to use the iconic Jack London and Joaquin Miller as symbols, but this club has been shaped by many many others. Our amazing Karma Bennett has created a new marketing image for our Facebook and Twitter banners that better represents the diversity of historic East Bay writers, and of our club, today and moving forward.

How many faces can you name in this crowd? Take the quiz and see if you’re right. While you’re there, you can VOTE on a new slogan as well! You could win a prize!

If you’re going to the San Francisco Writers conference this month, stop by the CWC booth and say hi! If you’re not there on Sunday, I hope it’s because you’ll be at our February 17th meeting. I met this month’s speaker, the impressive Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross, at Joaquin Miller Park a few years ago, when our club did an open mic in collaboration with another arts group. She read a poem as the sun set, and just radiated with love and beauty—turns out her story about finding that magic is quite powerful. We have another open mic collaboration set up for May, who knows what will come of that? Scroll to the bottom for info.

Don’t forget we are running our annual half-year half-price membership special! Through April 1, only $42.50Be sure to fill in your application before you send payment! You can also pay with a check.

Check out all of the news this month in the full version of Write Angles.

Feel and share the love this month!

                                           Sail On,

Kristen Caven
Berkeley Branch Captain a.k.a. President

Welcome to The Club!

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CWCLogowithR

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

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 for our upcoming event:

“From Print to Performance”

Adapting Books to Film & Theater

with Victoria Zackheim

Sunday, March 17, 2019

We also have a comprehensive workshop April 3rd:

Setting that Works

Click here to commit to your writing career.

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Meet Historical Fiction Writer Kay Tolman

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Our January Featured Member, Kay Tolman, Is a Lover of 19th-Century Literature

Kay TolmanAuthor, Kay Tolman is the pen name of Janice Kay Tolman. Since 2017, Kay has been working on the coming-of-age novel The Compromise. It’s historical fiction based on her maternal ancestors, who were mid-19th century pioneers. In her youth, she rode her horse across the undeveloped land on the outskirts of the Los Angeles suburbs.  In college, she focused on 19th-century literature. She also studied literacy theory, research in education, and discourse analysis at the graduate level.

For nearly 40 years, Kay taught English in high schools and community colleges. Running parallel to studies and teaching,  she practiced Zen in Korea, Japan, and the US.

She says, “I’m writing the novel I wanted to teach. New readers need a kind and welcoming prose style. Teachers need generous extensions to the core curriculum and applications to community life. I want my fiction to help a new generation come of age as citizens and think more critically and feel more deeply about our cultural and political roots.”

Check out her website at Compromise.blog. But now, three questions for Kay Tolman.

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

The reader’s time with your text is precious, so make it count. Meaning happens in the reader, and that goes beyond what we can ever know. Be humble.

What one thing has helped promote your writing most?

Deciding on one thing to promote my writing is difficult because writing is a cascade. In the long-term, integrity between language and action, in other words, honesty, lets me trust my creativity. Reading and conversation engage my core emotions and big ideas. I always need more than I get. These days, fellow writers promote my writing when they trust my rhetorical purpose, respect my learning process, and also read critically. Then together we find those words and passages that hit or miss the mark. I am extremely grateful to my fellow writers, especially those at the Berkeley Writers Circle.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Easy. When I was a child I wanted to be a writer, so I guess I finally grew up. Teaching language and literature was a long, minimally sustaining, yet wonderful detour. Teaching involved a lot of storytelling. Working with tens of thousands of students, many of them new readers, was a reality check on what being a grown-up writer really means.

Get to Know Kay Tolman at our January 20th Meeting

Tolman is interested in exchanging guest posts with other writers. If you’re looking for someone to attend literary events, write-ins, or teaming up to send submissions, come out and get to know Kay.

Creative Awakening in the New Year, our Jan. 20th Meeting

Write Angles: January 2019

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Our newsletter is back on line! Click the link to read the first Write Angles of 2019.

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Note from the editor. There is a typo in every issue! This is there to remind writers to always get a proofreader. Can you spot it?

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