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
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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

Aqueila Lewis-Ross Shares the Power of Poetry February 17th

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Poetry is defined as “a type of literature, or artistic writing, that attempts to stir a reader’s imagination or emotions.” But poetry is also the most powerful tool that we can use for self-healing when our emotions are already stirred. Reading and writing poetry can even help us to survive when we have lost everything.

At our February event, Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross will talk about the relationship between poetry and survival, starting from her own experience of using poetry to find her way through pain into healing and powerful, world-shaking love, and giving insight on current events. She will share wisdom from her workshop, “From a Victim to a Thriving Survivor: Learning How to Revive the Soul,” in which she helps others connect the heart to the gut, giving voice to the “unspeakable things” that call so many of us to be writers.  Finally, she will share how others can learn how to rewrite their own story by finding positive and powerful life-changing outlets within their own community.

Participants are welcome to bring stories, poems, journal writing, and songs as examples of survival with intention to heal past wounds to create a thriving future. Weather permitting, Aqueila will host a short open mic session after her Q & A.

About the Keynote Speaker, Aquelia Lewis-Ross

February keynote Aquelia Lewis-Ross
Poet Aquelia Lewis-Ross

Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross is a multi-talented, award-winning Bay Area Native well-versed in singing, poetry/spoken word, and journalism. A graduate of Napa Valley College, University of California, Berkeley, she has studied and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Aqueila’s work has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies including: Reflections: A Collaboration Between Painting and Literature, Women in the Feminine: Stepping into Our Shoes, Our Stories Will Never Die: Ancestors, Place, and Memory, and Standing Strong: Japantown and Fillmore. Her book of poetry, Stop Hurting and Dance, published by Pochino Press, is a collection of stories overcoming fear, oppression, gentrification, and police brutality; she honors what it means to live with resilience, love and prosperity. Aqueila is a radio news producer on Peralta Community Radio 96.9 FM KGPC, holds the titles of Ms. Oakland Plus America 2014, and SF Raw Performing Artist of the Year 2015. She was an Oakland Voices-KALW Community Journalist awardee in 2016 and Greater Bay Area Journalism Awardee in 2017.

You can follow Aquelia’s work on Twitter and Facebook.

But Wait, There’s More!

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

Preservation Park

Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing support 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 Lucille Bellucci
3:15–4:00 – Keynote Aquelia Lewis-Ross

NEW: 4:15 – CWC Open Mic! Bring up to 5 minutes to read outside, weather permitting

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

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket; bring a few bucks to purchase additional tickets at $1 each or 6 for $5. Support the club and win a book written by our club authors!

*Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are committed to supporting writers.

1204 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612

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.

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

  • March 17 From Print to Performance: Adapting Books to Film and Theater with Victoria Zackheim
  • April 03 Setting that Works! Workshop with John Byrne Barry
  • April 15 Planning Your Novel with Beth Barany
  • May 19 The Working Writer: Day Jobs as Writing Inspiration Panel Discussion
  • June 16 Member Showcase at a bookstore near you!

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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An Interview with This Sunday’s Speaker, Albert Flynn DeSilver, on Writing as a Path to Awakening

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This Sunday, Jan. 20th, Albert Flynn DeSilver will show us how to take our writing to that next mysterious level. What happens when life gets in the way? How does our writing practice open us up emotionally, psychologically, and even spiritually? DeSilver will teach us the steps we can take to stay focused, to stave off fear, doubt, and procrastination. He’ll also tackle issues with editing, completion, agents, and publication.

But first get to know poet, memoirist, and novelist, Albert Flynn DeSilver in this conversation he had with our speaker chair, Cristina Deptula.

What are some ways that writers and creators can heal from addictions and other struggles? Can writing be a tool in personal recovery? 

Albert Flynn DeSilver
Albert Flynn DeSilver will be our keynote speaker for Sunday’s meeting

Writing is the ultimate tool, for becoming more conscious, more compassionate—first with our selves and then with the world at large. But it’s not just writing. In order to get conscious we have to slow way down, be still, sit in silence, or stretch, move, walk in silence. Let nature be our sounding board and mirror. Regular mindfulness meditation practice is an excellent gateway to awareness and therefore healing. How do we know what we think and feel until we write it down, or speak it aloud? We want to become more open to the totality of ourselves. That includes shining light on the dark parts, coming to understanding and then self compassion. A great therapist, support groups, a healthy diet and exercise are also essential. It’s never just one thing that heals us but many voices.

Do you think that writerly types are especially prone to certain struggles? There are all those tragic artist stereotypes—is there truth to that? Are there certain ways we can organize our lives as writers to stay both creative and healthy? 

To a certain extent, yes. I mean writers, musicians, artists of all kinds tend to open themselves to the rawness and immediacy of experience, they don’t look away, when others do. They tend to move toward the visceral and emotional elements with a certain willingness to investigate awareness, clarity, complexity—to be sensitive observers of the human condition. This is not without its dangers. As we expose ourselves to the great mysteries of human consciousness and experience, shunning little, opening much, we enter the unknown, the unpredictable, the risky. But of course that’s where the magic and juice of life lies (not to mention, the great stories).

As to organizing our lives, yes, we can remember this very fact of our vulnerabilities and sensitivities—if that’s true for us and take care of the wild body and roving emotions. This is why I wrote Writing as a Path to Awakening, to remind us to take care, to get quiet, be still, eat well, hydrate, move your body, be generous and kind. The world needs conscious kindness more than anything right now.  

Do you need to go to retreats or travel in order to enhance and awaken your creativity and awareness or can you do something in your own daily life and practice? 

No. Not at all. It’s always available in any given place, at any moment I actually am willing to buck-up and surrender to reality. Of course travel for me is a great inspiration, but ultimately I’ve found I don’t write that much when I’m traveling, outside of notes and keeping track of experience. Daily life is where the creative and spiritual rubber hits the road. One can travel magically far, internally in the comfort and safety of their own home via silence and in turn exploring the vastness of their imagination. Taking time to reconnect with that infinite wellspring of creativity via silence and time in nature is essential for me in order to stay connected to the deeper truths and imaginative dynamism that I want to share with the world in my writing.

You write both prose and poetry. Do you approach writing in different genres differently? 

The process is different. Poetry mind is different than fiction mind. I like to fill my heart, mind, and body with poetry and the poetics of the world when I’m writing poetry or thinking about taking on a new poetry project. Same with fiction. I want to fill my soul with stories, great novels, voices and dialogue, character, and settings—so I read lots of novels. With fiction and other prose, at the onset I free write a lot. With poetry I contemplate sounds and images, and riff and play with language. I have no set word count goals.

In fiction I like to generate quickly and immediately in a rush of accumulation at first writing a minimum word count number per day, then seeing what I have, where the energy is and when my attention should go next. I move quickly, allowing myself to write crap at first, so then at least I have something to work with AND after writing this way for several weeks or months and accumulating 50,000-100,000 words, it all feels like a lot (as messy and unformed as it might be) and something I couldn’t possibly abandon!  

How can you harness your inner creativity and inspiration when you’re tackling an aspect of writing that doesn’t strike you as especially creative? (i.e. synopses, query letters, revision, copy editing, etc)? 

There is a truth about writing that none of us want to really face and that’s the inherent drudgery, the hard grueling work, the gnarly mountain range of editing, the times when we’re stuck and tapped out. But the sooner we can acknowledge and accept, and then integrate these aspects (even make friends with them)—knowing that they are just as essential to the process as the fluid creative fun flowy parts are—then the sooner we can get on with the work of writing and get something completed. And when we get in to that frame of mind, the creativity tends to open up and become available for the revisions, queries, and copy editing. 

Make Time for Your Writing This Sunday

Mingle with writers, tackle your marketing and craft issues, and get set for your best writing this year with DeSilver’s keynote “Creative Awakening in the New Year.”

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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