Kubrik’s Mysterious Symbols: an Interview with Featured Member Nicole Berg

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At this Sunday’s final meeting before our summer break, the Berkeley California Writers Club celebrates author and film critic Nicole Berg. Berg’s fist book Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism is now available for pre-sale from McFarland Books. This is her second year in the CWC. She says, “I really enjoy getting to know the other members here.”

Berg’s career began in animation, gaming, & software industries such as Walt Disney, DIC, Sierra, Symantec, and a number of dot coms during the “Tinker Bell” economy. Later, she taught college-level courses in Animation, Art, & Digital Media in Los Angeles & Portland. When earning her MFA degree, Nicole trained in film pipeline processes at PIXAR & ImageMovers Digital.

One day she happened upon a showing of Kubrick’s 2OO1: A SPACE ODYSSEY and asked herself, “what if other repeating symbols existed in 2OO1 that helped explain the monolith?” Nicole soon realized that indeed there were. This started the research journey of her book Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism. That grew to include bombshell discoveries within all of Stanley Kubrick’s iconic films such as Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, & Eyes Wide Shut.

Six Quick Questions for Film Writer Nicole Berg

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

Write a list of subjects you think you would enjoy writing about for inspiration.

What one thing has helped promote your writing most?

My push in contacting both publishers & agents whose interests even slightly covered my book’s subject matter.

What are your writing habits?

Having a quiet place like an office is essential for concentration.

Nicole Berg’s forthcoming book

I aim for two or more hours. Some time in the morning & two or more hours in the afternoon or evening, at least 4 days a week.

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

I wanted to be an animator and was in the animation & multimedia business during the nineties.

What other writers inspire you?

Riane Eisler (Chalice & the Blade), Richard Adams (Watership Down), Margot Adler (Drawing Down the Moon) & Terry Pratchett.

Meet Nicole Berg this Sunday May 17th

Stanley Kubrik Esoterica, Electing Board Officers, and Finding the Discipline to Write

At Sunday’s meeting, Berg will show us some of the mysterious symbols throughout the films of Stanley Kubrik, as a teaser to her forthcoming book. Following, she will take questions.

In addition to writing about film, Berg enjoys anthropology, archaeology, animals, word religion, & folklore. In our Zoom breakout sessions, Berg would love to find other writers who share her interests in film, animation, or graphic design. She wants to support other writers through mentorship and promoting one another’s works. So be sure to drop her a line in the chat window this Sunday, especially if you know of a website or journal that might be interested in film criticism.

Following Nicole Berg’s presentation, we’ll get to hear from former pro basketball player Paul Shirley. Shirley is now an author and productivity coach. He will teach us how to apply the athlete’s discipline to our writing. Commit to your writing this Sunday!

This Sunday We Elect Board Members

Get to know the candidates and have your say in the direction of the club. She we steer this ship into the ice berg, or the gaping maw of the Kraken? Or is there another course? Have your say, Sunday!

Get Tickets for our Zoom Meeting or Learn More about Sunday’s Meeting

A Few Words about Haiku Poet Leena Prasad

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Leena's Photo

Leena Prasad writes to find comfort in her foibles and her triumphs, to take snapshots of her thoughts and emotions, to explore the beauty and the ugliness of the world, to leave a legacy… and, most of all, to connect by finding resonance with her readers.

Leena will be our featured reader on Sunday before Keynote speaker Victoria Zackheim. Here’s a little bit about her:

Born in India, Leena grew up in Louisiana, lived in San Francisco for 15 years now lives in El Cerrito with her husband and soon-to-be-born daughter! She has a full-time professional career in Computer Science which feeds her intellectual life and has allowed her to live the life she wants. She enjoys writing and art as a way to explore her creative spirit. Leena has written a book on urban art, a neuroscience column, scripts for short films, profiles, blogs, and much more. She likes to explore all genres of writing from facts to fiction to poetry.

Leena says, “We are all poets. We just need to remind ourselves and practice practice practice to fine-tune how we express our poetry.”

CWC members, Leena is interested in:

  • Getting together to send out submissions
  • Critique groups, and
  • Promoting each others’ works

Check out Leena’s FishRidingABike.com writing portfolio, and buy haiku book, not exactly haiku.

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

See You TOMORROW! End-of-year BOOK LAUNCH!

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Our final meeting of the year will take place TOMORROW at 3pm at our Member Book Launch! Here is information on the event and links to purchase all the books!

  • Thank you to Fred Dodsworth for emcee-ing the event…
  • Welcome to new member, Jane Anne Staw, author of Small: The Little We Need for Happinesswho will be joining us last-minute…
  • Say you are coming on Facebook HERE! Please bring a friend!
  • Plan to come a little early to find parking… and stay after for another book event and/or some socializing!
And now a word from Laurel Bookstore:

Featured Member: Poet Fred Dodsworth

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Fred Dodsworth will open for Amos White’s The Art of Giving Live Readings tomorrow. We asked him a few questions… this is what he said!

What’s the most important piece of writing advice that you could give to other writers? It’s hard to start writing but if you don’t start everything anyone might tell you about writing become wasted words.

What one thing has helped promote your writing most? Actually taking the time to promote yourself. That means submitting everyplace you can. I learned this in sales. You don’t make a sale unless you make a pitch and if you make enough pitches you’re guaranteed to make a sale.

What are your writing habits? I really learned to write in a newsroom. At the time I was pulling down about $70,000 a year as an editor and my new boss, the Executive Editor wanted to fire me but he couldn’t so he tried to drive me out by making me a front page columnist [column one above the fold, six times a week]. I liked the money so I worked in the middle of the complete madhouse of a major daily, folks on the phone shouting, several TVs running, people standing around chatting about their work or this sex lives, and did what had to be done. A year later I took my first creative writing class. My writing habit is simple. I type on a computer anywhere I can but only when I have a goal. I know I need to write everyday and I write whenever I sit down to write, whether I’m on a computer in an office or on a composition note book (I buy them on sale for 50¢ to $1 each) but .

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to grow up. As I grew older my goal became moving away from home. I first moved out when I was 15. I had my first salary job at 14 and shortly thereafter I moved out.

If you could truly be the writer you wanted to be, what would your career look like? I’d be Joyce Carol Oates, able and willing to write every day relentlessly. When I do that it scares me. I lose touch with everything else for days at a time.

What other writers inspire you? George Elliot, John Gardner, Virginia Woolf, Aimee Bender, Haruki Murakami, Alain Robbe-Grillet (le voyeur), Miguel de Cervantes, Mary Gaitskill, Julie Otsuka (Buddha in the Attic), Leslie Marmon Silko (Ceremony), so many.

Come hear Fred read his poetry tomorrow!

Making the Most of Nature in Your Writing: Interview with Featured Member Judith Newton

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A discussion between CWC members Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Memoir Writers Association and Judith Newton, Professor Emerita, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at UC Davis

Editor’s note: Judith Newton is the featured member at next month’s CWC meeting. Catch her reading from her new book, before our keynote speaker LeeAnne Krusemark Sunday May 21st.

Making the Most of Nature in Your Writing

Linda: We both have new books coming out this spring. My book, Song of the Plains is a memoir about a family of women who abandon their daughters and about the ways their history contributed to this. Your book, Oink, is a mystery about the struggle between corporate and communal values in the university. I think it’s striking that we both chose elements of the natural world for our titles. What does it mean that you chose “Oink” for a title?

Judith: In writing Oink, a send up of the university for its increasing devotion to self-interest, competition, and profit, I also wanted to emphasize a counter perspective on life: a belief in the importance of values that are more about the common good. I planned to do this, in part, through my positive characterization of the protagonist’s campus community. It is comprised of faculty in women’s and ethnic studies who have come together to support each other and to resist having their programs defunded by an increasingly More

CWC Marin One-Day Writing Conference April 2

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CWC Berkeley member John Byrne Barry alerted us to the CWC Marin Conference on April 2.

The day-long conference will cover fiction and nonfiction writing, with three literary agents available for five-minute pitches. Registration includes morning coffee and rolls, along with a bag lunch. Vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available.

Presenters include keynote speaker Constance Hale on “The Seven Stages of Manuscript Grief,” Linda Watanabe McFerrin on “Writing About Places Real and Imagined,” Tanya Egan Gibson, Robert Pimm, Teresa LeYung-Ryan, Krissa Lagos, Mary C. Moore, and David Colin Carr.

Find out more at cwcmarin.com/writerslife.

Flyer for April 2 CWC Marin event

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