Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Meeting Minutes June 16, 2022

 Attendance: Eileen Williams, Don Lefebvre, Ev Larson, Nancy Fuller, Michelle Willard, Scott Martell Becky Rupp

Meeting commenced at 6 pm. 

Events

Bookstock Vermont, June 24-26 2022 "Come to Woodstock for this premier literary festival with a boutique feel and a big heart! Showcases literary luminaries and cross-cultural voices, including Pulitzer Prize winners, Poets Laureate, National Book Award winners, plus debut and best-selling authors from Vermont and beyond. Features a huge sale of used, rare, and vintage books, along with author book signings, live music, food, and entertainment all on The Green in this storybook New England village. It’s free, walkable, and fun for all ages. Be part of the story!" Find all the information HERE

Green Mountain Book Festival, September 23-25 2022  "The Green Mountain Book Festival honors free expression, embraces diverse voices, and encourages a deeper understanding of self and community through a shared love of reading and books."  Find more information HERE

Brattleboro Literary Festival October 13-16 2022.  Find all the details HERE  

Also, if you are in the area considering attending their monthly Literary Cocktail Hour.  Description: "The Literary Cocktail Hour is an fun, informal monthly event featuring a pair (or more) of speakers in an entertaining, illuminating virtual event that opens with the notion of cocktails!" Schedule found HERE

Tuesday, June 21, is World Make Music Day! Scott will be performing on the Swanton Green - and NW Access TV is an official venue and is looking for volunteer helpers (anywhere from 10 AM - 10 PM). If interested - or if you're a potential performer - contact Roger Lindala at   EMAIL

Tuesday, June 21: next meeting of the But I Progress Book Club (renamed club), 6 PM at the Swanton Public Library. A group devoted to feminism and related cultural and political issues. Book for this meeting is Rebecca Solnit's "Men Explain Things to Me."

Resources

Literary North "Literary life in Northern New England"

Burlington Writer's Group

Workshops

Joy Choquette, self-publishing coach and author will hold two workshops in the next few weeks.  

Tuesday June 28th 6 pm: "Writing your first novel: Tips and Tricks to help you get to the end"

Tuesday July 5th 6 pm: "Book publishing options: Traditional, Indie Hybrid-Oh My"

Location: The Swanton Public Library.  Preregistration is required.  EMAIL the library to register.  Call for additional information (802) 868-7656

Book Recommendation

"Several Short Sentences about Writing" by Verlyn Klinkenborg "An indispensable and distinctive book that will help anyone who wants to write, write better, or have a clearer understanding of what it means for them to be writing"

In between discussions several members read their work.

Michelle read "The Pay-loader" Artifact story: a poignant account of her conflicted relationship with her dad and a favorite toy

Eileen, who has been watching a front-porch robin's nest, read "Mama Robin," a poem that showed that there's much more to robins than just robins.

Ev read "Catching a Break," in which everyone's favorite characters Grub and Hook provide entertainment at a vineyard.  He elaborated on his writing process by discussing an ever growing list of nicknames he has collected and how the names help inspire stories-sometimes loosely based on characteristics of the name holders. 

Nancy, inspired by Eileen's memoir "The Gosling Bride", read a great account of her experiences with religion and spirituality, which began with a Nigerian phone call and progressed through transubstantiation and cannibalism.

Scott shared the first episode of "Around the Back Food and Drink Reviews," in which he revealed the awful truth about coconut water. (Scott! This could be a great blog!)

Next meeting is July 21st at the Swanton Public Library.  In person at 6 pm.  Zoom is available.  Our ongoing writing assignment is to pick an artifact in your home/office and write a piece no longer than 1,000 words.  Essay, poem, story.  Please share and bring a picture of the item if you can.  Hope to see you all soon!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Meeting Minutes May 19 2022

Meeting commenced in person at 6 pm.  Attendees: Michelle Willard, Ev Larson, Scott Martell, Emmet Matthieu, Nancy Fuller, and Becky Rupp.  So nice to see some of our core members!  


Events


Bookstock Vermont, June 24-26 2022 "Come to Woodstock for this premier literary festival with a boutique feel and a big heart! Showcases literary luminaries and cross-cultural voices, including Pulitzer Prize winners, Poets Laureate, National Book Award winners, plus debut and best-selling authors from Vermont and beyond. Features a huge sale of used, rare, and vintage books, along with author book signings, live music, food, and entertainment all on The Green in this storybook New England village. It’s free, walkable, and fun for all ages. Be part of the story!" Find all the information HERE


Green Mountain Book Festival, September 23-25 2022  "The Green Mountain Book Festival honors free expression, embraces diverse voices, and encourages a deeper understanding of self and community through a shared love of reading and books."  Find more information HERE and read the VT magazine "Seven Days" article HERE 


Poetry Slam was a hit on April 22, though it was generally agreed that prizes not a plus and should be discontinued in the future. It was suggested that a monthly poetry slam –perhaps wirh added opportunity for varied short readings – might be an excellent program for the library – perhaps on Saturday mornings. (Input welcome!)


Ev suggested Whitcomb’s Community Space in Whallonsburg, NY, which holds open-mic storytelling sessions on the second Wednesday of every month: check it out HERE


Resources and Groups


As always find a wealth of information as well as workshops and support from The Burlington Writer's Workshop


A splinter of BWW called The Green Mountain Writer's Group offers workshops and reviews.  Check it out!


A new SPL book club – name is Fiercely Femme, but is open to everybody – meets for the first time on Tuesday, May 24, at 6 PM at the Swanton Library. Book to be discussed is Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men  by Caroline Perez.  Come and share discussion and opinions. Book club leader: Bianca Braman.


Member news


Emmett has acquired an editor and is about a third of the way through his sci fi novel.  Michelle submitted the first chapter of her novel "The Cage" to a second contest. Eileen Williams will be doing a book signing for her memoir, "The Gosling Bride", at the Swanton Public Library  on Saturday, June 11, at 10 AM. (Accompanied by Lovin’ Lattes.)  Scott has produced a new album with music which centers around depression, medication and love. Becky just won a national grant from Candlewick Press and the ALSC, for providing programs for underserved kids (and is thrilled) spent most of the past month planning a kid’s Native-American themed camp. Also doing VHC talks, writing book proposals, and reviewing a book on the history of orchids. 


Book Suggestions


"Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead" by Olga Tokarczuk

"Old Sparky" by Anthony Galvin


Our discussions were decidedly dark and included the history of prisons in the US, Insane Asylums and Depression and the purpose of 'burn letters': hence the book recs!  We did have a few laughs regarding discussions overheard in bars and the questionable nature of the new 'empowerment' mottos printed on Girl Scout Cookies.  "I'm a Risk Taker' could be problematic!


Readings


Ev presented a pair of hilariously politically incorrect list poems (“Michigan: Burlington Style” and “Michigan: North Country Style”) and a short piece, “Lemon Up,” which combined the electric chair at Sing-Sing prison and the new Girl Scout cookies.  Nancy read a journal entry.  Scott recited the lyrics from the title track of his new album.


Next meeting is June 16th at the Swanton Public Library.  In person at 6 pm.  Zoom is available.  Our ongoing writing assignment is to pick an artifact in your home/office and write a piece no longer than 1,000 words.  Essay, poem, story.  Please share and bring a picture of the item if you can.  Hope to see you all soon!




Friday, April 22, 2022

Meeting Minutes April 21, 2022

 Hello All!

Sorry for such a long lag in updating.  Didn't realize it had been a full year!  And this was our first in-person meeting in two years!

Attendees: Becky Rupp, Ev Larsen, Don Lefebvre, Michelle Willard, Eileen Williams

Announcements:

 The upcoming Vermont League of Writers Spring program, featuring Ralph Walker with exercises on “Techniques for Building Tension into Any Story.” Saturday, April 23, 10 AM–1 PM. Available via Zoom.  Go HERE
 
Poetry Slam at the Swanton Public Library, Friday, April 22, 6-8 PM. Cash prizes, musical entertainment, and a chance to cheer for your favorite poet!

News

 Eileen’s memoir, The Gosling Bride, will be available on June 8. We’re hoping to host her at the SPL for a book signing.
 
Group discussion

We talked about various genres of writing and how they have evolved over time.  Favorite authors over the last two centuries were mentioned.

Ev read his short piece “In Mysterious Ways” which got us all thinking about gambling gods and taught us the meaning of the phrase “above the snake line.”

 Michelle shared her poem “I Don’t Know Who I Am.”

Upcoming group activities 

We discussed a number of plans for group writing projects – Tarot cards? The Machine of Death? - and decided to try Artifacts: pick one from your home collection and write a short (no more than 1000 words) story, essay, poem, or other genre of your choice about it. To share at next meeting. For an example of this concept see The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities – an anthology of stories by writers such as Kelly Barnhill, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, and Holly Black based on objects that range from a saint’s thighbone to Lord Dunsany’s teapot.

Our next meeting is Thursday, May 19th 2022 at the Swanton Public Library.  The meeting is in person but members can join via zoom.  Unvaccinated attendees must where a mask.

ZOOM link.  Passcode: 289902

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Meeting Minutes for April 22, 2021

 A bit of a whoops for us all.  Four people attended this one week delayed meeting via zoom.  We are all hoping July will see us in person once again. Ev, Nancy, Becky and Michelle met for an hour.  Our discussion was a bit random but did include some book recommendations and local writing/contest/zine news.

The Hate U Give art and essay response zine is now available at the Swanton Library for anyone who is interested.

April 28th is the deadline for submitting to the poetry zine

Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. The deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

Proposed Workshops/Panels

Becky proposed approaching regional authors who specialize in Memoir Writing. An in person panel which would be held later this year.  The focus: the process and the research involved in writing a memoir.

Book Recommendations

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. Fantastical anthology of written and visual art edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer. 

Amber and Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz. Young Adult historical fiction/fantasy

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen

Mayflower, Voyage, Community, War by Nathaniel Philbrick

Not Quite What I was Planning. Six Word Memoirs. 

Our next meeting is via Zoom on May 20, 2021 at 6 pm.  Click on this LINK and use the passcode 289902 when prompted. Hope to see you there!


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Meeting Minutes March 18, 2021

 There were five members in attendance via zoom.  We are all hopeful in person meetings will resume in early summer.  The attendees agreed zoom meetings might be more practical for winter meetings.   

Contests

April is National Poetry Month.  The Swanton Arts Council is sponsoring a poetry compilation contest. The prompt is "Kindness".  There will be adult and youth categories judged professionally. First and second prizes in each category: $50 and $25 respectively. The deadline for submissions is April 16th. Entrants will be published in a zine, which will be available at the Swanton Library.  There will be an online poetry reading, or possibly recorded at NW Television on April 30th.  Please contact Judy P with questions EMAIL

The artist response to "The Hate U Give" is due by April 1st, 2021.  Written responses must be 1,500 words or less.  The responses will be published in a zine available at the Swanton Library.  There will be a random drawing of all entries for a cash prize.   On April 8th, there will be an online zoom discussion of the book. Contact Judy Paxham with questions and log in information  EMAIL  

Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. Proposed deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

Exhibitions/Performances

Vermont Libraries summer reading 2021 - TAILS & TALES. If anyone would like to read a favorite story about animals or their own work of the same vain, the Swanton Arts Council is planning a recording session for late April or early May. If interested in participating please contact the Swanton Public Library.   

Group members discussed the idea of offering book reviews as a service to Swanton library patrons.  As well as offering monthly recommendations to each other during our meetings.

We had a 20 minute writing prompt session during our meeting.  Members offered the following prompts for consideration: Sunshine, Lemony, How to Express Happiness, Is she lost? and Frankenswan. It was an enjoyable exercise which we will continue for the foreseeable future.

The next meeting is April 15th 2021 at 6 pm via zoom.  Login via this LINK and enter password: 289902 Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Meeting minute for February 18, 2021

 We had six members who met via zoom. After about 30 minutes of catching up and news, we launched into a new format.  Writing to a word prompt for 20 minutes and then sharing the result.  For this meeting, we knew the prompt in advance.  Starting in March we will all bring a random prompt to the meeting and people can choose to use one or all of the prompts in a 20 minute free writing session, excluding their personal prompt.  

Becky reminded everyone to check the Facebook page for contest and resource ideas.  She posts them as she finds them.  

Book Recommendations

For those interested in books for middle grade readers (reccs courtesy of Becky)

"They Threw Us Away" by Daniel Kraus.

"Scary Stories for Young Foxes" by Christian McKay Heidicker

"Trigger Warning" by Neil Gaiman (recc courtesy of Renee)

Contests/Community Events

The artist response to "The Hate U Give" is due by April 1st, 2021.  Written responses must be 1,500 words or less.  The responses will be published in a zine available at the Swanton Library.  There will be a random drawing of all entries for a cash prize.   Contact Judy Paxham with questions EMAIL Get reading and get writing!

Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. Proposed deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

Writing Prompts

This month "Lust", one of the seven deadly sins, was our writing prompt.  Judy floated the idea of publishing a monthly zine with our prompt responses.  A deadline would be imposed for authors to polish their free writing responses and submit.  Ev suggested we move to the surprise format as outlined above.  After 20 minutes all members shared their responses to Lust.  Ev shared a poem by another member, Becky shared her writing diagram/brain storming tool.  George, Judy, Renee and Michelle read their short pieces. 

Our next meeting via zoom is Thursday, March 18th at 6 pm.  All are welcome.  Follow the link below and enter the code when prompted.  Happy writing!

ZOOM LINK Code:  289902 




Saturday, January 23, 2021

Meeting Minutes January 21, 2021

Six members participated via Zoom: Becky, Judy, George, Ev, Renee, Michelle.  Discussion included writing contests, prompts, and a revamping of our meeting format. Three people read short pieces of poetry/prose. 


Writing Contests


Vocal: “a platform for creators.” They sponsor periodic challenges with cash prizes – a number of these are currently open. “Hometown Feature,” for example, is looking for stories with original photos about what your hometown means to you; “Little Black Book” – which comes with a $20,000 grand prize – is looking for fiction stories about someone who unexpectedly comes into a large sum of money involving a mysterious little black book.

 

Fractured Lit Publishes flash fiction – open year round. Current contest on fractured ghost, fable, and fairy tales, with prize of $3000. Entry fee of $20. Deadline February 16.


Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. Proposed deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

 

Exhibitions/Community Events


The Swanton Public Library is sponsoring a Writers’ Response to "The Hate U Give" this year’s Vermont Reads book, Angie Thomas.  Art or written entries are welcome; written entries can be up to 1500 words. Deadline April 1.  A cash prize picked randomly from all entries may be offered.  The book is available to buy, there is also an audio version and a movie available to stream on various platforms. To borrow a copy contact the Swanton Public Library and for more information contact Judy Paxman: Email1 Email2 


Resources:


Iron Writer Challenge: Facebook group.  Jason Brick is the owner/moderator.  He has been pretty active in the past and is very accessible via messenger.  Been 'in the biz' for quite some time.



Readings:

 

Renee Willard on a broken coffeemaker; Ev Larson – “Air Dry” – involving an ex-husband and a disastrous shower; and George Connelly read “Rain Shine High,” a poem loosely based on John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

 

Upcoming:

 

Per the suggestion of Ev and after much discussion, we have decided to change up our meeting format for the foreseeable future. The plan is to have our usual period of social gossip and discussion followed by 20 minutes of writing and a post-sharing/discussion. Writers will finish their pieces offline for possible inclusion in a zine. Details at a later date.  Our first series of proposed prompts: the Seven Deadly Sins, starting at the February 18 meeting with LUST.

 

And for those who don’t remember the Seven Deadly Sins, they are: Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth.


Our next meeting via zoom will be February 18 at 6 pm.  Follow this LINK and use the passcode:  289902 Hope to see you all there!

Meeting Minutes June 16, 2022

 Attendance: Eileen Williams, Don Lefebvre, Ev Larson, Nancy Fuller, Michelle Willard, Scott Martell Becky Rupp Meeting commenced at 6 pm.  ...