Friday, August 23, 2013

CBB Breaks Ground

For all of you interested in writing for children, or who just plain love children's literature, take a look at the new organization, Children's Books Boston just opening its doors this September. CBB is dedicated to providing a shared space for interaction and discussion among greater Boston companies, institutions, groups, and individuals who work with children's books.  Membership is free and open to librarians, teachers, publishers, booksellers, authors, illustrators, agents, and scholars and students of literature for young people."

In addition to The Horn Book, the long-time, Boston based champion of children's writers and their work, CBB "partners" include, Candlewick Press, Charlesbridge, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simmon's College Center for the Study of Children's Literature.

An opening reception will be held Septmber 15th, at Simmon's College. RSVP by September 5th.

Hollis Shore

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why We Write - One In An Occasional Series

I was seven years old when I wrote my first poem.  A neighbor’s flower garden had captivated my attention.  Yellow Black-eyed Susans cavorting with purple Russian Sage and white Daisies tittering amongst each other had beckoned me merrily to come closer.  As I watched butterflies dance in and out and around the flowers, a bubble of unexpected joy expanded within me, and suddenly I knew that I must capture that feeling before it burst.

34 years later I still marvel at those two verses:
The flouers are lauffing; the butterflyes are dancing.
My heart is ful becuz the world is romanzing.

Even at that tender age, I had learned the power of words, albeit misspelled.  I wanted to convey my emotions, and the written word became my medium.  In that moment, the words Maya Angelou would one day speak:  “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you,” became my reality. 

As writers, we write for many reasons.  Some write so our ordinary lives will be extraordinary.  Others write to impact the world around us.  A few write for the money.  Many write as a way of bringing meaning to our world.  Most of us, though, write simply because we must.

Aimless thoughts ambling about our minds become coherent strands, weaving an articulate argument, only when our pens hit the paper.  Random images fluttering here and there turn into scenic descriptions, enchanting the mundane, once typed into our computers.  Hurts and disappointments evolve over time, creating stories of strength, mirth, or truth, as we journal in our diaries.

No matter why you write, we offer you an opportunity to enjoy the benefits we provide as a writers’ collaborative.  Craft workshops, creative writing groups, author events – our hope and desire is that you will find a supportive community that encourages your personal writing endeavors, whatever they may be.  As French novelist, Ana├»s Nin, once said:  “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  We invite you to savor all that writing can be.

Paula Castner

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cultivate Your Own Garden

In 2010 my friend, and fellow writer, Mary Dowling walked in to our beloved local library, the Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster, Massachusetts, and suggested to the equally beloved Assistant Director, Nancy Hayes Clune (now supervising two branch libraries in Springfield, go Nancy!), that maybe, just maybe, there might be enough interest to get a writers' group going.  Mary is an alum of  a writers' group in Western Massachusetts affiliated with Amherst Writers and Artists, a group dedicated to the idea that we all have stories tell, and that by providing a safe, supportive, non-hierarchical environment, writers at every level of experience would feel free to share their work and to encourage the work of others.

Mary was right. In fact, there was more than enough interest. And from that first group, gathered that fall at the roundtable downstairs at the library, Seven Bridge Writers' Collaborative, under the auspices of Thayer Memorial (and our new, fabulous, Assistant Director, Karen Silverthorn), now offers multiple programs, including: creative writing groups, formal public readings by local authors, open mic afternoons, craft workshops, a writers' reading group, and an ongoing schedule of readings and lectures by authors, agents, and others working professionally in the field.

Writing is lonely work, and the only thing a writer needs more than isolation and time, is the company of other writers. Encouragement, honest feedback, a fresh eye (or ear), commiseration even, a hand out of the creative muck; these things are gifts from one artist to another.  And there is no more fertile ground than when a group of writers, working at every level, in multiple fields, join together to learn from each other and explore their craft. 

With than in mind, the Seven Bridge website is designed to keep local writers (dabblers and professionals alike) informed of our programs and services, to provide a platform for observation and discussion, and to offer a window on the wider literary and artistic world. 

Like Candide, Voltaire's besieged protagonist, we believe that cultivating our own garden is the best way to serve ourselves as people, as writers, and as members of a wider, cultural community.  We hope that you will join us.

Come on, pick up a spade.... 

Hollis Shore