Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lessons in having "not made it"

    This past Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Catherine Rankovic’s lecture “Holy States of Authorhood.”

    Ms. Rankovic, a published poet, essayist, and journalist in her own right, is also a professor of English at both Washington and Lindenwood University and an editor. Simply put, this woman knows her stuff. Even better, she is funny. I was immediately struck by Catherine’s wit – sharp, cutting. Listeners needed to participate in her lecture or you might miss a clever zing inserted in the midst of her talk. 

    Catherine took us through three stages of authorhood or as she called it, writerhood. During her presentation, I surveyed the room to view of a sea of heads bobbing up and down in agreement. It is not an easy time to be an author, to know how to be successful. It is easier to have self-doubt as a writer, especially during these changing times. If we had been in church a chorus of “Amens” would have followed!

    She discussed grief, failure, and self-deception. During each theme, Ms. Rankovic shared poignant moments or thoughts, perfectly attuned to the feelings and needs of a writer. The Holy States of Authorhood is her talk, not mine to copy or steal, but I want to share just one major take-away from each of the themes. Listening to her on Saturday was just what I needed during this particularly rough time. With self-doubt about everything taking over and writer’s block in full effect, Catherine appeared on the horizon at just the right time for this wannabe writer. 

The Holy States of Authorhood:  
Grief: Catherine reminded us that everyone suffers. She continued on, telling us that grief is not a burden but “instead a privilege because it means you have written and despite your grief, you plan to write again.” This comment stuck with me long after she left for the day. What powerful words!

Failure: There is much I wish I could “borrow” from Ms. Rankovic here. Her words on failure rang out like a beacon in the night. She told us we are not alone in our failure, especially that Saturday, surrounded by a supportive group of writers, colleagues, and friends. We are a shared spirit, helping each other succeed when experience success and rise again when we fall. Perhaps her words sum it up best, “Accepting failure is a state of grace.”

Self-Deception: Catherine, while bold during her entire presentation, was particularly strong about this theme. An independent woman by nature, I thought I could see sparks igniting behind her eyes in this section.  My favorite from this part was short and to the point. Ms. Rankovic said, “We should only write because we enjoy writing.” Agreed. 

    Catherine’s talk was so much more than I could attempt to outline here. The best I can do is share that I needed to hear it and appreciated her candor and spirit. Write on friends, write on!

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Recognition after tragedy

     Last night I struggled to pull myself away from the television and internet. Heart-wrenching stories of the devastation in Oklahoma flooded my screen. Tears streaming down my face, I sat in my comfortable chair in my sturdy house, safe from that pain and horror. I am a fortunate woman.

     Sometimes I forget that, I think many of us do. Sometimes it takes the tragedy and loss suffered by others to help us reflect on the countless gifts we have. We get caught up in the little things, making mountains out of molehills and finding fault over the slightest of missteps and mistakes. Today Madison, at almost eleven years of age, turned a large shipping box into a house complete with a hanging light (a flashlight), crawled into it, and read. I stared at her, memorized by the gift of my daughter, her creativity and imagination, and love for life. I am a blessed woman.

     Oklahoma, I am sorry for the pain you are experiencing now and will continue to feel as you attempt to salvage your lives, homes, businesses, and schools. Mother Nature, much like illness, does not discriminate. She takes no sides, but rather runs wild in her doing. You will continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of this ever-grateful woman.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Youth Writing Camp - June 11, 2013

  Saturday Writers Presents our 2nd Annual Youth Writing Camp!

I’m very excited to announce our second annual youth writing camp. Last year’s camp was a tremendous success and we have great things in the works for next month. As the Youth Outreach Coordinator, I have the pleasure and privilege to coordinate the camp and hopefully, create a wonderful learning opportunity for our young writers.

Join members of Saturday Writers on Tuesday, June 11th for an interactive workshop created with the emerging writer in mind. Our writers have designed a collaborative, stress-free day focused on exploring the craft of writing and helping the young writer explore his or her talents. This one-day camp is for kids entering 3rd-6th grade and will be held at the Cultural Arts Center in St. Peters, MO. 

Saturday Writers offers your child an opportunity to have fun, learn new skills, share writing and celebrate themselves as writers. The workshop will kick-off at 9:30am and run until 3:00pm. Space is limited and advanced registration is recommended. For more information, registration, and to pay online using Paypal, please visit:

Youth Writing Camp
Camp Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cost: $15.00 per camper

Camp Hours: 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Location: Camp will be at the St. Peters Cultural Arts Center, located inside St. Peters City Hall- Enter through the WEST Entrance

(One St. Peters Centre Blvd. St. Peters, MO 63376)
What to bring: Campers should bring their preferred writing utensil(s), a spiral notebook, a sack lunch, and an optional water bottle. Lunches cannot be refrigerated or heated so plan accordingly. Snacks will be provided.

Photo Credit: Saturday Writers

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In the Works

   I am excited to announce that two of my short stories have been chosen for publication in Well-Versed. What an honor to be among the authors chosen for this work!  

   Well-Versed, an anthology by the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild, has been in print for ten years now. Last year it was named best anthology published by any Missouri Writers Guild chapter. I am excited to be included in such a fine literary work and can only hope my stories do it justice. 

   No word yet on the release date, but we have all been busy with edits. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover in the meantime. 

Photo Credit: Columbia Chapter Missouri Writers Guild