Write Angles: May 2019

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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
                        
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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

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

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?

California Writers Week 10/15-10/21

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WHEREAS, The California Writers Club was founded in 1909, with Jack London, Ina Coolbrith, George Sterling and others as members; and

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.18.51 AM

WHEREAS, California’s literary tradition dates back to the works of Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Mary Austin, Nobel prize and Pulitzer prize winner John Steinbeck, Delilah L. Beasley, Joaquin Miller, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Barrio, Gertrude Atherton, Raymond Chandler, Pulitzer prize winner William Saroyan and a great many others, and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club honors all California writers, past and present, and continues to nurture the talents of new writers as well as established authors, and to provide a forum for the sharing of their writing experience, and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club’s mission is to teach, mentor and encourage all writers for the good of our society; and

WHEREAS, California libraries are the forum where the writing of Californians is preserved and provided to the public, and

WHEREAS, the California Writers Club encourages all California libraries to showcase the works of California writers through displays, author programs and reading clubs; and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club urges all educational institutions to place more emphasis on developing the writing and reading skills of everyone; and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club is observing the third week in October as California Writers Week; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED BY ASSEMBLY MEMBERS TIM LESLIE, JOSEPH CANCIAMILLA, GUY S. HOUSTON, BILL MAZE, GENE MULLIN, JOE NATION, AND PATRICIA WIGGINS AND PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE JOH

N L. BURTON AND SENATORS NELL SOTO AND JACKIE SPEIER, That they recognize the third week in October as California Writers Week, and encourage the people of the State of California to reflect upon the contributions that California writers have made to humankind.

Members Resolution No. 2170.     Dated this 4th day of September, 2003.

See more information and signatures

 

Join the CWC!

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Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 1.01.03 PMNow is the best time to join the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club!

Our membership year *officially* begins in July, so why not start a few months early?  Join because we have great speakers every month. Join because we’re having a party this summer.  Join because it just plain feels great to be part of a professional writing club!

You can join renew online, at the June meeting, or send in a check by the end of July. There is even an auto-renew link on PayPal!

Here are your quick links!

More details here. It’s going to be a great year for the club!

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