Edward Rowland Sill (1841–1887) An inspiring teacher, a poet and essayist, came to California for a teaching position at Oakland
High School in 1871. In 1874 he became the second English professor at the newly created University of California, Berkeley.
“What we all need is to keep clear of restraining influences – these obscure, subtle ones, that throw us out of rapport with ourselves and make us think of the writing instead of the thing to be written.”
–a letter to a student, transcribed in Edward Rowland Sill: His Life and Works by William Belmont Parker
View from the Mountain Top
By Linda Brown
Members, This issue of Write Angles will be the last one for the Club’s fiscal year, which ends June 30. Great work by Tanya Grove and all the volunteers who made it happen. Watch for your next issue (and alerts about September programs) in late August. When I wrote in last month’s column about not writing on my book, I think I moaned. With this column, I will reflect and catch you up on what’s planned over the summer. Just writing this column, having it copyedited by Anne Fox, and attending the craft workshops have all helped improve my writing style. I can add this column as recent work on my résumé. (The last time I wrote columns was nearly nine years ago.)
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Linda Brown, president
President’s Message June Speaker May Workshop Highlights Leadership Conference Don’t Forget & Thank You Guest Column—C. Hope Clark Member News & Tidbits Contacts Picnic Invitation Speaker Flyer Other branch announcements
Through Write Angles, I have learned more about writing and gotten to know more members, most in the Berkeley Branch and some in other branches. I am energized today. We had a successful branch board meeting on April 30. A week later, on May 7, NorCal held its Leadership Secrets of Successful CWC Branches, with nearly 50 people from the 10 NorCal branches participating. Last Sunday, May 8, we held our final workshop, with 20 people attending and an excellent leader. On May 15, I learned about what I needed to know a year ago when I first set up my own website. Six of your board members participated in the NorCal workshop, and we have more than 13 ideas to cogitate on and then discuss and prioritize at the Planning Retreat July 16. The Planning Retreat is a six-hour visioning/strategic planning session open to all members. I hope many of you will join the board members in creating the strong blueprint for next year. Our goal is to end the day with the Club’s priorities set forth in writing with these documents: Five-Year Goals Rolling Three-Year Business Plan Approved Budget for the Next Fiscal Year Meanwhile, I hope to see you on June 4 to support the winners of the FifthGrade Story Contest, at our last speaker program on June 19, at the Planning Retreat on July 16, and at the statewide picnic at the Fire Circle (where Jack and his friends hung out) in Joaquin Miller Park on July 30. Research on California cover author by Karren Elsbernd About Us: The CALIFORNIA WRITERS CLUB, founded in 1909, is a 501(c) (3) educational nonprofit dedicated to educating members and the public-at-large in the craft of writing and in the marketing of their work.
6/5 – 5th Grade Story Awards Ceremony 6/19 – Speaker: Cara Black
“How to Pull the Reader into Your Created World”
7/16 – CWC-BB Board Planning Retreat 7/30 – CWC Annual Statewide Picnic
1:00-4:00 pm Fire Circle in Joaquin Miller Park
7/31 – Jack London Awards
Sharpen Your Senses, Create an Experience
By David Baker
Strains of Arab hip-hop remix drifted in from the street. The narrow café overlooked rue des Cascades; no entrance to a back room was in evidence at first glance. Pinball machines from the sixties, their silver patina rubbed off in places, stood blinking in the corner. The words provide a setting, foreshadow difficulties for the protagonist, who expects to meet someone in a back room, and introduce us to the Belleville district in Paris. Not bad for a short paragraph. The passage appears in Murder in Belleville, the second of the Aimée Leduc Investigations, an eleven-volume noir mystery series written by Cara Black, our featured speaker for the June 19 meeting. Black will talk to us about creating a sense of place with settings that draw the reader in. For her, the place is France. Daughter of a Francophile father, Black attended a French-run Catholic school where nuns taught her archaic French and gave her summer subscriptions to Elle magazine. She also made numerous visits to Paris. In 1984, while standing on cobblestones in the Marais, the old Jewish district, she heard a story from a friend about a fourteen-year-old girl who hid alone in a hotel room after her family disappeared during the German occupation. The story stayed with Black, and, ten years later, provoked her to write Murder in Marais, the first book in the Aimée Leduc series. Black spends a lot of time sketching locations to prepare for the work of crafting scenes in her books. She also interviews people and joins historical societies in the districts she’s writing about. Her efforts yield descriptions that make readers feel they’re having a real experience in a real place. We can learn to do the same. At the June meeting, Cara Black will tell us how. May Workshop
Memoir Writing Workshop Delivers
By Shereen Rahman
Linda Joy Myers conducted a workshop on memoir writing on May 8 at the Independence Plaza auditorium. The lively interactive workshop drew upon writing exercises on turning points and timelines. The main topics included these: Why are you writing your memoir? (The reason decides the path.) What do you want to say, show and share? (That’s the theme.) Issues of truth and family (solving the obstacles on your writing path) How memoir writing is different from journaling Transforming your “turning points” to scenes. (That’s the story.) As an experienced therapist for over three decades, Myers described how she had seen the healing power of writing memoirs. Participation was high in this well-attended workshop. At the end, the consensus was that three hours was too short a time. “Excellent speaker and workshop. I have heard this speaker before and really enjoyed hearing her again – many helpful suggestions,” wrote one of the participants. Once president of CWC’s Marin branch, Linda is the founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW).
Redwood Writers Lead by Example
By Kathleen L. Orosco
President of CWC’s Redwood Writers Linda Loveland Reid led a dynamic presentation at the May 7 conference, “Leadership Secrets to Successful CWC Branches.” Her reputation for enthusiasm and natural leadership preceded her presence. Under her leadership, the Redwood branch membership has increased by more than 125 percent, to 226 members, the largest in the state. The attendees’ eagerness to listen and respond to Linda’s thought-provoking questions and creative ideas was clearly proof that her secret formula works and works well. The bigger message was to rise above the average, mundane, and self-defeating mechanical steps that branches often mistakenly use to recruit volunteers and attract new members.
Linda said, “Most organizations have what they need to be successful. If they only knew how to use all their tools to the highest advantage, they could double their membership in one year.”
from left to right: Madelen Lontiong, Barry Boland, Kathleen Orosco, Tanya Grove, Linda Brown, Jane Glendinning
Six members represented the Berkeley Branch at the conference in Pleasant Hill: President Linda Brown, Treasurer Madelen Lontiong, Speaker Chair Jane Glendinning, Write Angles Editor Tanya Grove, next year’s Workshop Chair Barry Boland, and Nor-Cal Representative Kathleen Orosco. Linda offered many excellent suggestions, the most important ones focusing on the following points: 1) maintain high professional standards by personalizing approach 2) encourage voluntarism 3) increase new memberships to include younger members But the one theme that Linda consistently linked to all of her points was to pay attention to how people are treated, which brings to mind these words by esteemed poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Linda Loveland Reid, CWC-Redwood president
While we learned and acquired many essential tools that attract potential members, it is also important to note that in the process we are essentially “writers helping writers.” Linda Loveland Reid leads by example with a high level of professionalism and a desire to treat all members with respect. She also projects a commitment to enrich and promote growth in the California Writers Club, and in doing so, inspires us to do so as well. Special thanks to co-NorCal delegate Jeff Kingman for the professional manner in which he handled branch reservations and notifications.
By Cliff Hui, Membership Chair
She emerged from out of the shadows, walking towards me in a black leather miniskirt, her hips swiveling like well-oiled ball bearings. She stood next to me at the bar while I drank in her blond curls brushing her shoulders and the buttons on her fiery red blouse straining to stay closed. She turned to me and fixed me with her baby blues. I was struggling to think of an opening line when she said, “Time’s up.” Was this a password? Did I miss the coded message drop? At the risk of blowing my cover, I responded, “Time’s up?” “It’s time to pay your writers’ club dues for 2011-2012. Just bring a check made payable to ‘CWC-BB’ to the next meeting.” She paused. “Ask for Madelen.” She looked me up and down and with a slight smile added, “Or check the website for a mailing address if you prefer delivery service.” She turned to the bartender. “I’ll have what he’s having.” I was stunned. “Dues?” “For active, associate, and supporting members it’s forty-five dollars. For dual and student members, the rate is twenty dollars.” My eyes narrowed to mere slits. There’s more to this code than the usual. I racked my brain for the right response. Finally, I asked, “So?” She smiled, her eyes twinkling in the glow reflected from the mirror over the bar. “So if you get dropped from the rolls because you’re late, it’s gonna cost you an additional twenty bucks plus your dues to get back on the rolls. That’s the word from the big boys at the Central Board.” I raised my eyebrows. Now we’re getting somewhere. Her drink arrived. She held it up to eye level and examined the ice still swirling inside. She locked her eyes on mine as she took a sip. She uttered a soft purr. I gave up on trying to find the code and searched my brain for a good opening line but stopped searching when she pressed the glass to her cleavage and asked, “Is it hot in here, or is it just me?” I could feel my eyes getting big. My pants felt tighter. “How about …” She pressed her finger to my lips and leaned forward. Her warm breath caressed my ear as she whispered, “Don’t forget.” Then she left, walking back into the shadows. Her drink remained on the bar with a perfect impression of her lips on the rim.
Thank You to CWC-BB Volunteers
Some people volunteer to help on committees or to lead committees. Others volunteer for “spot” jobs. Still others provide meeting space or make paid staff available to help on occasion. Whatever the method, special thanks to the CWC-BB members who volunteered their time and expertise to make new and ongoing things happen during the July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011 fiscal year. Your efforts served our 99 members + five additional members who joined the CWC-BB as a dual member and the larger 1,500 members throughout the CWC’s 18 branches. Special thanks to those who volunteered for multiple activities.
Continued on page 5 __________________________________________________________________________
-My writing sucks, so I'll skip the novel for a while and take a break. -Just a few more emails (or games or blogs or Facebook). Those are tangibles. The serious games we play, however, are along the line of: -I don't need to edit this. I like the way it's written. -Three agents rejected me, so no point in writing more. -I don't understand platform. I'll go ahead and post my book on Amazon anyway. Somebody will see it. -I put myself out there writing this book, so I'll take a break now and see how it sells. I have a friend who thinks I edit my novel too much. I can find something wrong with it every time I pick it up. That's why I pitched 12 agents, then after those rejected, I edited the book hard again. I did that through 72 agents. Each time the story improved. When we are our own boss, it's easy to be lulled into stopping short, skipping steps and finding reasons not to work so hard. Rejection is ours to own. Whether we submit premature work or pitch to an agent that doesn't fit, it's all on us to edit, research, rewrite, and submit without pulling punches or cutting through the neighbor's yard to take a project home.
The Games We Play
By C. Hope Clark
As writers, we test ourselves, and those tests often take the form of games. We give ourselves deadlines, obstacles to overcome, and benchmarks to tick off our calendar. -write 500 words per day -submit an article per week -find five new markets each week -speak to two new people in a conference workshop -bring a new chapter to the next writer's group -use social media no more than an hour each day -read email only after we've drafted a chapter We throw up challenges, limits, and goals so that we know what we are doing, where we are going, and how long it'll take for us to get there. But I bet we play other games as well. We don't often talk about these games. They are mental tug-of-war games. -I stayed up late last night, so I'll only write 200 words today. -I have a headache, so I won't submit an article. -I won't post to the blog this week, because nobody commented on it for the last three times anyway.
C. Hope Clark is the editor of FundsforWriters, www.fundsforwriters.com, Writer's Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers - 20012011 and author of blog - www.hopeclark.blogspot.com Continued from page 4___________________
Executive Board & Past Presidents: Al Levenson, David Sawle, Linda Brown, Lloyd Lofthouse, Barbara Ruffner, Kymberlie Ingalls, Madelen Lontiong, Contests: Lucille Bellucci, Tatjana Greiner, Jeff Kingman, Debbie Frisch and everyone who read submissions and made selections Support/Critique Groups: Anne Fox, Barbara Gilvar, Bruce Shigeura, David Baker, Debbie Frisch, Jennifer Snow Central Board & NorCal: Dave Sawle, Jeff Kingman, Kathleen Orosco, Linda Brown, Lloyd Lofthouse, Vernon Dolphin, Alysa Chadow Marketing Group: Lloyd Lofthouse, Alon Shalev, Barbara Gilvar, JoAnn Ainsworth, Dodie Katague Membership: Barbara Gilvar Barbara Ruffner, Cliff Hui, Francine Howard, Shelley Wagner, Shereen Rahman
Publicity, Social Media & Website: Linda Brown, Lloyd Lofthouse, Lynn Fraley, Madelen Lontiong, Matt Matthews, Eva Merrick, Kristen Caven Speaker, Workshops, & Special Events: Jane Glendinning, Barbara Ruffner, Barry Boland, Tanya Grove, Lucille Bellucci, Vernon Dolphin, and the members who led a workshop or gave a speech or author reading Write Angles: Anne Fox, Tanya Grove, David Baker, Kristen Caven, Karren Elsbernd, April Kutger, and everyone who submitted an article If your name is not here and you volunteered in the past 12 months, please accept our apologies for the omission and send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know about your contributions. We’ll note your contribution when Write Angles resumes with the September 2011 issue. –California Writers Club Board of Directors, Berkeley Branch
Francine Howard will have a book signing for The Sisterhood Hyphen and Page From a Tennessee Journal at Alexander Books in San Francisco on June 3 between 12:30-1:30. Over 100 people attended an exhibit opening, "Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley—A Noble Venture," at the Berkeley History Center in downtown Berkeley, on May 15. A panel of 7 people, former Co-op employees and experts in the field, enlightened the crowd. The program and exhibits were videotaped and will go on YouTube. Co-curators are Therese Pipe and Linda Rosen. This exhibit continues to September 24. Info, Therese (510) 841-5493, or Berkeley History Center (510) 848-0181. Irv Hamilton Jr.’s novel, A 20-Minute War: A Cold War Novel, was reviewed by Judith Gallman in the Media Shelf section (New Releases from the Bay Area) of Oakland Magazine, May-June 2011. Write Angles editor Tanya Grove took third place in a contest for short, short fiction (under 750 words) sponsored by the Sacramento branch of CWC. She will read her winning story, "A Serendipitous Visit," at that branch's June 18 meeting. Sacramento’s newsletter, Write On!, will carry the story.
Write Angles welcomes letters to the editor, book reviews, and articles of interest to writers. Submit to email@example.com. If you are a member and want to share news, please write “Member News” in the subject line. Deadline is the 15th of the month.
Memoir Writers Critique Group Forming
A number of Berkeley CWC members have expressed interest in forming a critique group for memoir writers. It is proposed that the group meet once every two weeks on a Wednesday afternoon. Pieces to be critiqued should be sent by e-mail no later than the previous Friday. There will be a planning meeting to organize the group in June in Berkeley. If interested, please contact Shereen Rahman, 510-845-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where Are the Survey Results?
The data from the tech survey that was handed out at our last two meetings and was featured in the May issue of Write Angles has not yet been analyzed. The results will be in the September issue.
Oakland Indie Awards Honor CWC-BB & Member Kristen Caven
The Oakland Indie Awards focus on positive social and environmental impacts of Oakland’s businesses and artists. Member of CWC’s Berkeley branch Kristen Caven was nominated in both the "Oakland Soul" and the "Pillar" categories, and the club was nominated as “a Pillar” for independent writers. The awards ceremony took place on Friday, May 13, at the Lakeside Theatre, followed by a party with food representing Oakland’s gourmet melting pot, live art demonstrations, a photo booth, and a DJ spinning tunes from Oakland.
President Linda Brown and member Kristen Caven at the Oakland Indie Awards. Between them is Kristen's mother, Louise Hart, also an author and independent publisher (Uplift Press).
More from the cover author:
E.R. Sill’s words inscribed on his memorial chair at the UCB Greek Theater:
CLUB OFFICERS President: Linda Brown Treasurer: Madelen Lontiong Secretary: Kymberlie Ingalls VP Administration: Al Levenson VP Membership: Clifford Hui VP Communication: Position Open VP Writing Groups: Barbara Gilvar VP Programs: Barbara Ruffner VP Marketing Writers’ Products: Position Open COMMITTEE CHAIRS Marketing Writers: Position Open Publicity Chair: Position Open New Member Orientation: Barbara Gilvar Speaker Chair: Jane Glendinning Workshop Chair: Barry Boland Write Angles Editor: Tanya Grove Copyeditor: Anne Fox Central Board Delegate: Position Open CWC-NorCal Delegates: Jeff Kingman & Kathleen Orosco Web Manager: Position Open Write On! Story Contest: Position Open 5th-Grade Story Contest: Debby Frisch
'Tis not in seeking, 'Tis not in endless striving Thy quest is found. Be still and listen, Be still and drink the quiet Of all around.
Excerpt from “On a Picture of Mt. Shasta by Keith”:
What is this breathing atom, that his brain Should build or purpose aught or aught desire, But stand a moment in amaze and awe, Rapt on the wonderfulness of the world?
Visit our web site @ calwritersclub.wordpress.com
Oakland Public Library West Auditorium 125 14th Street 94612
Our monthly meetings are free and open to the public and feature a speaker, an author event, or both.
Entrance on Madison Street between 13th & 14th
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SOUTH BAY WRITERS PRESENTS: A Workshop Led by Nina Amir How to Write a Book Fast! 4 Ways to Compile & Publish a Manuscript in Record Time June 25, 2011 9:00 am – 2:30 pm Lookout Restaurant 605 Macara Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94085 Registration @ 8:30; workshop begins promptly at 9:00; continental breakfast and lunch included. Students w/ID (up to age 25), anytime $25 Early Bird (before June 10, 2011) CWC members: $35 Non-members: $45 After June 10 and at the door CWC members: $45 Non-members: $55 Do you want a published product to sell while you build your platform by speaking? Do you have tips you’d like to put into a full-length book but no time now to write it? Would you like to write your book quickly? Do you have blog content you’d like to recycle into money-making published products?
If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, you’ll find the information you need at this workshop. Learn how to write and publish tip books, booklets (short books or condensed versions of full-length books), blogged books (manuscripts written while blogging), and booked blogs (books created from blog posts). Discover how to repurpose your written material while producing salable products. You’ll leave with outlines, written material, plans, how-to info, and tons of ideas (+promotion tips) for writing a variety of books fast. About the presenter: Nina Amir, Your Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires writers to create the results they desire— published products and careers as writers and authors. An author, journalist, freelance book editor, and writing, blogging and author coach, she has 5 blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW and How to Blog a Book, and writes 2 on-line Examiner.com columns. She is the founder of Write Nonfiction in November, a blog and challenge. Find out more about her at www.NinaAmir.com. With Nina you…Achieve More Inspired Results!