See You Sunday! Kickoff with September Williams + GARK!

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Don’t miss our speaker series kick-off!

The Wind In Our Sails

Some words from your captain president

Kids are back in school, and what that means for me is my husband, a teacher who blogs (or a blogger who teaches?) is back in school. Which means, with no one to talk to, and the music of my choice on in the background, words are now flying from my fingers for hours at a time! I hope your summer was productive or, on the flip side, a nice break.


We’re ready to start up our monthly meetings, and there are some big changes happening, some that we’ve been talking about for years! The first big change is that  Write Angles will now be dropping in “nuggets” into member email boxes through our Google Group.

The second big change is that our meetings are “flipped around” now: we’ll be starting with our speakers, and doing our support group breakouts afterwards. Hopefully this will not inconvenience anyone too much. We weighed the pros and cons carefully, and are always sorry we can’t please everyone.

The third big thing is a huge triumph: we have booked every month of our Speaker Series! (Notice we’ve also renamed our monthly meetings “speaker series,” because that’s what it is, and has been for 110 years!). We have a wide range of topics that we hope will appeal to our members.


Now is a great time to pre-pay all of your meetings to commit to your writing career. Don’t plan to come to them all? Any unused fees will help other writers. Jack London would have been proud. More information here.

Our membership is at a nice fat 104 right now, let’s keep it that way! If you haven’t renewed your dues yet, please do so today by check or Paypal. Renew on or before our September 15th meeting, or risk having to pay extra to reinstate your membership! Here’s the renewal link.

Hello to our new members Gark MaviganAnn Harleman, and Penn Hughes. They’re all pretty dazzling. Gark (like Mark with a G) is unafraid to hit the mic as our first featured member in September — I think he’s our first rapper! Ann is already enjoying an inspiring literary career, and Penn has just published his first book, about Oakland history. 

We are looking for ways to involve every member in the life of the club this year, both giving and receiving support. There will be a volunteer opportunity sheet on the sign-in table at every meeting. Shoot a message to Gary at members.cwc.berkeley@gmail.com if you can help on the Member Relations Team this year, creating a smooth and friendly flow. Write me if you can join the Wolf Pack at the Watershed Poetry Festival on October 5, 12-4pm, focusing on environmental writing. Contact Fred at Fdodsworth@comcast.net if you want to talk about publishing a Literary Magazine in our branch or holding a contest. And if you love and support kids, we would still love to revive our 5th Grade Writing Contest!

Sail On!

Kristen Caven
www.kristencaven.com

BB President 2017-2020
berkeley.cwc@gmail.com

CWC-Berkeley.org

Write Angles: May 2019

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Read the entire newsletter here

The Wind In Your Sails

Some words from your captain/president

In the big book of work-life balance, writing fits in both categories for most of us. In Chapter seven of my memoir, Perfectly Revolting: My Glamorous Cartooning Career, “Doodling for Dollars,” I write: 

There are five or six ways to have art in your life when you’re living in the real world.

1) drawing for free
2) drawing on the job
3) drawing as a job
4) drawing off the clock
5) getting successfully published
6) becoming independently wealthy.

Insert “writing” for “drawing” and you’ve got the setup for our May panel, The Working Writer. Come meet our interesting panelists on May 19th, and share your p.o.v..  Sheryl Bize-Boutte is the first to chime in… check out her piece in “The Writing Life,” in the newsletter.

Now, volunteering for the CWC is both work-related for those of us working writers, and life-related for those of us who find any sort of happiness in helping and working with others. 

posing with the Jack London Award & CWC sealEvery other year, the CWC gives out an award to one volunteer in each of its branches who has gone “above and beyond” in supporting the club. When I received the 2017 Jack London Award, it felt SO good to be recognized for my efforts that I volunteered even more! 

> With uber-volunteers JoAnn Ainsworth and Kymberlie Ingalls, plus fellow Jack London Award Winner Linda Brown, I pose with the 1913 woodcut that became our club seal. Other Jack London Award Winners from this branch include David Baker, Anne Fox, and Lucille Bellucci.


And at a board meeting earlier this spring, it was such a pleasure to ask Karma Bennett to leave the room for a second so I could nominate her for this year’s award. The consent was unanimous and uproarious!

Karma has been your web mistress, your workshop host, and even your president! She sets up our meetings, month after month! Karma is the first and last person to hold up her hand when volunteers are requested, whether or not she’s got the time. She’s always eager to explain something or juggle something or hold the door. Karma has been a force of playfulness and possibility in this club since the day she arrived, and is always willing to offer her advice and support. Karma will be honored by the Central Board at a luncheon here in Oakland on July 21st.

More calendar notes: May 19th is our last meeting at Preservation Park this year. (It’s also our election! Come cast your vote!) Reserve NOW for our June 5th workshop on setting and plan to attend our club party and book launch at the Octopus on June 15th before we break for summer. We might be looking for a new home come September…. Then it’s California Writers Week in October and Litquake and then who wants to run away to the islands with me in November? The Kauai Writers Conference has offered our club members a 20% discount off attendance fees. Let me know if you’re interested.



                                           Sail On,

 —Kristen Caven
 Berkeley Branch Captain a.k.a. President, 2017-2019

 Author, The Souls of Her Feet
 Co-author, The Bullying Anditote
                        

See You Sunday + Monday is EarthDay

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SUNDAY! Bring a notebook or laptop and get clear on your next novel!

MONDAY! IT’S TIME. Post your climate commitment statements online, add #wolfpackwriters. Get and give inspiration.

SUNDAY:

Members craft & marketing groups start at 12pm;
networking from 2-2:30.
Our speakers begin at 3 and …
we wrap things up at 4.

Catch our speaker, the amazing Beth Barany, online! Dial in after the meeting right here!.

MONDAY:

Members of the Wolf Pack Writers Action Group will be releasing their climate commitment statements on social media. Please join us! Here’s all you have to do:

  • In one paragraph, include your reasons for joining the pack, your intentions as a writer, and a call to action or encouragement for other writers to raise our voices about changing the course of our climate catastrophe.
  • Record yourself reading your climate commitment statement, with or without video, and post it on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Soundcloud, anywhere… on, before, or after Earth Day on Monday, April 22. (Declare every day as Earth Day!) Use the tag #wolfpackwriters and feel free to share links to other actions.
  • We also invite you to join the Wolf Pack WAG FB Group and share your statement, plus resources for other writers. Memes, links, ideas, movements…start howling!

Write Angles: April 2019

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The Wind In Your Sails

Some words from your captain/president

It’s spring and today for some reason I am thinking about eggs. Eggs! There are good ones and bad ones; they come before and after chickens; they are delicate and ubiquitous, beautiful in form, mysterious in their inscrutability, and downright miraculous in their function. Eggs are potent symbols in literature, and inspiring poetry prompts! They are both delicious and nutritious. (Also, have you ever given your dog an egg to play with? They get all wolfy. Hilarious.)

I once even had a mystical egg experience! On New Years Day, 2016. I split open a dozen boiled eggs to bring to a party, only to find they were already “bedeviled” —eight of them had double yolks! What an omen that was for the astonishing and divisive year that followed! (And yet, I must add, they were quite delicious.)

For some reason I was thinking about eggs while reading Chapter Four of Gary Durbin’s sci-fi novel, Nano-Uncertainty, which features intelligent little orbs but really has nothing to do with any of the above. However, in a way, cracking the cover of a book is like cracking an egg. You get to all this good stuff inside, for it to take life in your own mind. And cracking open a book is like cracking open a writer. In our club we all know each other as people but until we crack open each other’s books, each other’s writings, we cannot really begin to fully understand each other. We find out how truly diverse and interesting each one of us is, behind our smooth (or brightly colored) exterior.

Meanwhile, the Catholic church always seems to schedule Easter in direct conflict with our monthly 3rd-Sunday meeting, no matter how many letters I write asking them to change it! This year, though, we’re outsmarting the system with technology! For years, people have been asking if we could put our speakers and meetings online, and we’ve finally “cracked the code” thanks to the up-and-running business of another incredibly capable writer and teacher who is also now a club member. So if you need to spend Sunday, April 21 doing egg-related activities, no worries! Thanks to Beth Baranyyou can see the lecture online, at your convenience! Scroll down for details, or just register NOW at this link.

April, what else? Showers! Flowers! Taxes! Endless reasons to write. If you write NOTHING ELSE this month, write a note to the nomination committee (below, in yellow), with the name of that person whose book you read (or want to read) who you think is smart and could really help this club sail smoothly. Even if it’s YOU. And if you get a phone call that YOU’ve been nominated, think seriously about it. If you have to say ‘no’ to the position, please consider what else you could contribute. 

Ask not what your club can do for you, ask what you can do for your club.

I am about to complete my second year as your captain president. There are some who are egging me on to continue. I would be honored to serve another year so that I can continue to shape and strengthen the club (we want to expand our membership, create more connection and community)—BUT life is hinting that it might soon pile more surprises on my plate. I don’t want to end up with egg on my face, so I’d love to find a successor to groom into taking a turn at the helm. Do you see yourself stepping into my shoes? (They’re pretty fabulous…) Call me if you have any questions. 

                                           Sail On,

 —Kristen Caven
 Berkeley Branch Captain a.k.a. President, 2017-2019

 Author, The Souls of Her Feet
 Co-author, The Bullying Anditote
                        

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

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!

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

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