Wednesday, March 8th, 2023—6:30 p.m.

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by:

Daniel Sarah Karasik

Seán Carson Kinsella

Anto Chan

Yolande House

Special note: As we adapt with current social distancing regulations, we’re happy to announce our event will be hosted in-person at the Glad Day Bookshop, located at 499 Church St., Toronto. We will also live stream the event on the Brockton Writers Series YouTube channel! The event starts at 6:30 p.m.

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books are available for sale.

 If you’d like to donate, please do so here.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

OAC_REVISED_NEWCOLOURS_1805c

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GUEST SPEAKER

“Meditations on Heartbreak: A Writer’s Story” by Laura Pratt

Laura Pratt is a journalist, writer, and book editor whose second book, Heartbroken: Field Notes on a Constant Condition, was published in January 2023 by Penguin Random House Canada. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction. She lives in Toronto with her kids and dog.

READERS

Daniel Sarah Karasik (they/them) is the author of six books, most recently the poetry collection Hungry (Book*hug Press). Their work has been recognized with the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award, the CBC Short Story Prize, and the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Award.

Seán Carson Kinsella (ê akimihtt nêhi(y/th)aw/otipemisiwak/Nakawé/Irish) is migizi dodem (Bald Eagle Clan) and Indigequeer/aayahkwêw/tastawiyiniw with ancestors and extended kin who were signatories of Treaties 4, 6 and 8. They are a sought keynote speaker, storyteller, and smutty poet and are have been featured in the Toronto Festival of Authors, the Naked Heart Festival, and are a regular reader at Glad Day’s Smut Peddlers reading series.

Anto Chan is a queer HK Chinese-Canadian spoken word performance artist, writer, facilitator, entrepreneur, producer, and caregiver. He performed his one-person show Love So Far at the Montréal Fringe Festival in 2019. He currently co-curates and hosts the variety show FreeFlow Showcase, and his poetry chapbook Romantic Reflections was released in 2020. He is passionate about mentoring the next generation of artists to overcome personal obstacles, leading to sharing their stories authentically. His life’s work is to create and support meaningful art that centres around the journey of growth, self-love, and healing intergenerational trauma. He recently started studying Expressive Art Therapy with Create Institute.

Yolande House is a bisexual, disabled writer whose essays have appeared in literary magazines such as The RumpusGrainJoyland, and The Fiddlehead. Her writing has made it to the finalist round at Creative Nonfiction three times, and her Entropy essay was selected as one of the magazine’s “Best of 2018.” She can be found online at www.yolandehouse.com, on Instagram (@healthruwriting), and on Twitter (@herstorian). She is currently working on a childhood memoir, as well as an essay collection about invisible disabilities.

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BWS 01.11.22 report: “I Have a Voice Here”: Writing as a Doorway to Community, Belonging, and Agency

Chris Kay Fraser is a writing coach and founder of Firefly Creative Writing, a small business in Toronto that helps people reconnect to the joy and power of writing. She has devoted her life to walking with others to strange, raw and delightful places words can reach.

“I Have a Voice Here”: Writing as a doorway to Community, Belonging and Agency

by Chris Kay Fraser

Let’s start here: three million years ago, our early ancestors learned to throw, and we started to learn how to be in community.

Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the US, explores this moment in his book, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World (https://www.vivekmurthy.com/together-book). Once we could throw, he explains, we could hunt, which worked much better in groups. When hunting worked, we had more food than we needed. Working together made more and more sense.

But here’s the tricky part… To make community work, we needed trust. And to build trust, we needed a way to show each other who we were. That’s where stories came in. When we told stories, we saw each other’s inner worlds, found out who was safe to leave our kids with, who we should follow through the woods, who we should avoid. Murthy states that “humans survived as a species not because we have physical advantages like size, strength or speed, but because we have the ability to connect as social groups.”

Can we pause here? This is incredible to me. Stories are how we learned to trust. And trust is what got us this far as a species. And here we are in 2023, in a moment of collective loneliness so wide and deep that Murthy compares it to an epidemic.

What happened?

*

It’s a beautiful spring day in grade four. We come in from lunch to see that our desks are rearranged.  This is curious, and a little exciting. We dash around, looking for our new seats.

I find mine; it’s with most of the other desks in a big C-shape around the outside of the room, facing in. The other desks, six or so, are in a little cluster in the middle.

Class gets started and everything seems normal, and then something heavy moves through me. I don’t remember if the teacher explains it, or if I just know, but the island in the centre is for the good kids. These were the kids who have the best grades, who are polite and well-dressed, who don’t speak up or speak out.

The rest of us are the moat. Our job is to watch.

*

It’s fourteen years later and I’m 23, confused by everything and drowning in the hyper-competitive world of university. I find myself at a five-day film-making program in an old logging camp on a small island off the coast of Vancouver.

The school (gone now) is called the Gulf Islands Film and Television School, or GIFTS. It presents us with an impossible task—to learn everything about writing, shooting, producing, and editing a film in five days, working with a group of strangers.

It’s not the technical challenge that get us though. The first night, we’re put in pairs to play a game called, “That’s a great idea.” We face our partner, and take turns spouting every idea we can possibly think of for a film.

“Stop motion animation about chipmunk lumberjacks!”

“A documentary about the secret life of shoes!”

“A horror movie that takes place in an M&M’s plant!”

The other person can only do one thing. They say, “That’s a great idea,” over and over and over until the timer goes off.

I am sitting across from my partner, feeling my imagination melting out of its stranglehold. His eyes are bright, his enthusiasm genuine. My ideas start coming faster, filling the forest air. By day three, we are making dollies out of sofas and roller skates and throwing cameras in the evergreen air, just to see the footage.

We all become artists that week, not because of the quality of our films (though we all love every single one of them), but because we are taught to believe in ourselves and each other, and we are shown how.

On my way home, I stand in the fierce wind on the ferry deck, trying to figure out how I can spend the rest of my life in this feeling.

*

It took me a long time to understand why that experience at the film camp changed me so drastically, but few weeks ago I was talking to Toronto-based writer and teacher, Kate Klein, (https://rebelpedagogy.ca/) and I got a clue. Kate is working on a book right now called Rebel Pedagogy about how spaces of adult learning and connection can be a way to heal and repair school wounds.

And that term, “school wounds,” went right to my softest insides.

It was the moat of desks in grade four, but it was also standing in line in gym class waiting to hear my classmate finally call my name. It was walking home with a report card in my backpack that felt like a ticking bomb, my worthiness in a naked, little column.

It wasn’t just school; it was all the systems that hold this culture of evaluation at their core: colonialism, capitalism, classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and so much more.

We are taught young that human hierarchy is natural and inevitable.

Which is the opposite of what we were figuring out three million years ago, when we started to come together.

And it’s the opposite of what stories are for.

*

Let’s talk about writing, then.

For most of us, our first experiences of making stories happens in school, right at the heart of that culture of evaluation.

Our first collections of words are given back to us marked up in red pen with a number at the top announcing their worth. We’re told how stories work—beginning, middle, end, show-don’t-tell, avoid adverbs. We become trained to follow structures outside of us, and tokens of external validation (thank you for that term, Hannah Gadsby) instead of following our inner cues—the wild call of our imaginations, the comfort of creation, the joy of the way words can build trust.

If we don’t explicitly work against it, these patterns and assumptions follow us into adult writing spaces, and they push us away from each other when we get there.

*

My job these days is to build community for writers. I spend my time running workshops and retreats, and overseeing a stupendous team. And every day, school wounds get in the way.

When we’re stuck in the culture of evaluation, we think our job is to rank. We sit safely in the quiet of our minds putting other writers down (“Don’t they know an essay should only have one argument and three supporting facts?”), or we lift them above us (“I’ll never write like that”).

Better/worse.

Worthy/unworthy.

Middle of the room/moat.

And all around, loneliness surges.

*

I know we can do better. I believe that it’s our job as a writing community to believe in our imaginations, and to spread that to one another, even when it’s hard.

So, I want to leave you with four wishes:

  1. Remember that stories are a meeting place. They are how we learned to trust, and if we let them, they’ll lead us back there.
  2. Know that comparing yourself to others is meaningless, and it will leave you alone. When you start to feel the tug of the culture of comparison, recognize it as woundedness and not truth. Remember something better is possible.
  3. Keep close to the joy of writing. Writing is an act of joy. Whatever that is for you—the exquisite “yes” of finding the right word to finish a poem, the feeling of handwriting racing across the page—hold on to it. It will carry you much further than external validation.
  4. Whatever you want to write next, hear me when I say: That’s a great idea. That’s a great idea. That’s a great idea.

Murthy writes, “our ancestors’ default setting was togetherness.” Under all the pain and layers, I believe that hasn’t changed.

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BWS 01.11.23: In Case You Missed It!

Click here to see the recorded live stream of our January 11th event featuring Suzan Palumbo, Kathy Friedman, Liz Howard, and Fran Skene, and guest speaker Chris Kay Fraser who spoke to us about belonging, community, and feedback in our writing.

This was our first event of the new year, and we are so thrilled to still be offering our events in a hybrid format! Please stay tuned for more updates about our next events.

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Brockton Writers Series 11.01.23: Kathy Friedman

Kathy Friedman is the author of the short-story collection All the Shining People (Anansi, 2022). She was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and her writing has appeared in Grain, Geist, PRISM international, Canadian Notes & Queries, and the New Quarterly, as well as other publications. She is also the co-founder and artistic director of InkWell Workshops. She lives in Tkaronto.

Writing Towards Joy

I’m thrilled to be returning to the Brockton Writers Series. I came by last September as a guest speaker to share strategies and resources I use to maintain my writing practice while living with mental illness, (you can check out the recap here). I’m so excited to come back to read from my debut collection of short stories, All the Shining People. In this post, I wanted to connect the dots between my two appearances, since mental health has been a huge part of my life and my writing journey. It’s also one of the themes in my collection, which explores identity, connection, healing, and belonging among Toronto’s Jewish South African community.

In 2014, I was one of seven nervous women seated around a table at CAMH, pens in hand. This was day four of an intensive group therapy program, which had a creative writing component, and every time I took a smoke break on College Street I was terrified someone I knew might spot me.

At the time, I believed that writing, and the pressures of building a writing career, only worsened my chronic depression and anxiety, which had peaked while I was finishing my MFA and threw me into a full-blown mental health crisis. A couple of years later, still working on the same collection of short stories and trying to piece my life back together, I was sure I wouldn’t find writing for five minutes among strangers the least bit helpful.

For the first prompt—what did we like best about this time of year?—I wrote about walking to a bar through the long July twilight, bare-legged in a powder-blue summer dress. When our time was up, I was eager to read my paragraph aloud to the other women, and proud to hear them sigh when I finished, as though after a good meal. Not for the first time, writing and sharing what I’d written brought me real joy.

This incident led me to co-create InkWell Workshops, which runs free creative-writing workshops for people with mental health and addiction issues, led by professional writers with lived experience. In 2016, after partnering with a local drop-in centre, I taught my first workshop. It was a disaster: one participant loudly objected to the material I’d brought, and many of those who’d gathered out of curiosity slowly drifted away. But I persisted, and gradually, the project began to gel. Every Wednesday afternoon, the drop-in would overflow with writers from across the city, ranging in age from their early twenties to their eighties. As InkWell’s lead artist, I published their work in anthologies (see here and here), organized launches and public showcases, provided one-to-one mentorship, and arranged tours of local cultural institutions. Two weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, we shifted our programming online and continued to gather.

Some of our writers have called the workshops “lifesaving,” saying the group has given them a sense of belonging and purpose. They’ve found their confidence growing and their identities shifting. “I now feel like I’m a writer,” one told me recently.

The uncertainty of both the writing life and the publishing industry makes such assurances key: as the years passed, and my MFA peers were publishing their first and second books, I still couldn’t land an agent. “The writing is amazing,” one said via email about my manuscript. “But a story collection rather than a novel is going to prove difficult in the marketplace.” In response to the rejections, I kept revising. Meanwhile, through InkWell, I was building recognition and valuable connections in the literary community. I was also learning to stop hiding my mental health challenges, and to use my voice to advocate for the value of Mad people’s stories. Eventually, I grew confident enough to send my short story collection to publishers directly. To my terror and delight, All the Shining People quickly found a home with my dream press, House of Anansi.

Published last spring, my debut seems to have resonated with readers, a gratifying experience. But regardless of the response, my recovery journey has taught me that sustaining a literary life involves always returning to the simple pleasure of crafting and sharing stories. This task is made far more joyful when we pursue it with others. I may always have struggles, but these two goals—finding joy and community—have kept me writing, no matter what.

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Brockton Writers Series 11.01.23: Suzan Palumbo

Suzan Palumbo is a queer Trinidadian dark fantasy/horror writer, Nebula Award finalist and co-founder of the Ignyte Awards. Her debut short story collection Skin Thief: Stories will be published by Neon Hemlock in October 2023. Her novella, Countess, will be published by ECW Press in Spring 2024.

A Gothic Writer’s Tribute to Fog

I’ve loved the Gothic in all it’s literary and artistic forms my entire life. Give me damp castles, crumbling abbeys, ruined estates, dead space ships, becalmed boats, dilapidated strip malls, and abandoned apartment complexes housing dark secrets, in any region or even in outer space. I will be rapt. 

Unlike the tragic heroines fleeing dark mansions on the classic gothic Romance pulp covers we are familiar with, I run towards the Gothic. I seek out its aesthetics daily and use them as inspiration for my writing and art. A difficulty I’ve encountered in accessing the palpable, brooding mood I adore is that I live in a cookie cutter suburb. The Gothic, if it exists here, is fittingly hidden by sunshine, or perhaps more sinisterly, behind the closed doors of my neighbours’ homes. That is, unless a thick fog creeps into the community. Then, the Gothic arrives at my doorstep and seeps into my creative brain.

The fog was generous with me this past November. It enveloped our streets for several days, muffling sound and filtering light. Each morning while it remained, I ran out into its shroud to welcome it with my smartphone camera. Each day, the street where I live became otherworldly in a different way. Here are some of the transformations I captured:

(Suzan Palumbo, 2022)

The first day, the trees at the intersection were black silhouettes, backlit by a sickly sun. I half expected to encounter a horseman riding through the mist towards me, headless and determined. The light was so beautifully eerie, like the world was part of an old black and white movie. It was cool, noir-tinged, and glorious.  

(Suzan Palumbo, 2022)

The next day, the gazebo near the play structure had transformed into a spectral meeting place. The light was warmer. I sensed that if I walked the path of fallen leaves between the trees to the benches, I would encounter the ghost of a child waiting to whisper a secret to me. If you stare hard enough, you can almost picture someone sitting on the bench, waving at you, hoping you’ll come sit with them. 

(Suzan Palumbo, 2022)

On the third day, I ventured to the nearby catchment pond. There was no wind and the heavy fog had turned the water into a silver mirror which blurred the boundaries between the water and sky. I found myself staring at the monochromatic reflection of a dead tree near the edge of the pond. Angled the way it was, it was as if the tree was watching its doppelgänger reach its branches deep underwater, where they didn’t belong. 

(Suzan Palumbo, 2022)

The fog did not return on the fourth day. The weather pattern changed and there was sunshine and blue skies for a week. It reappeared however, at the end November, with ice and snow. I went out to the catchment pond again. The mood there had shifted. Ice added sparkle where before the grays and whites produced by the filtered light were flatter. This was glorious Gothic glamour. I imagined a fog queen wrapped in a charcoal cloak, walking along the icy edge of the pond, her face forever hidden by mist. 

The fog hasn’t returned since November. I look out for it every morning. It’s beautiful and fleeting. I never take its presence for granted. Its transformative qualities are an endless source of inspiration for me as writer. 


If you’re ever craving something Gothic, I encourage you, if it’s safe, to go out into the fog when it descends. Perhaps you will see the fog queen or envision a child whispering, or maybe you’ll be haunted by a vision that is uniquely your own.

If you’re interested in seeing how my love of gothic has worked its way into my published short stories, my short fiction collection Skin Thief, published by Neon Hemlock, will be out in fall 2023. I’ll have updates on my website, Suzan Palumbo: Horror, Dark Fantasy, Weird Writer (wordpress.com)

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Brockton Writers Series 11.01.23: Fran Skene

Fran Skene is a retired librarian who has written in a variety of forms. Two one-act plays were produced in the 1990s and later she published a poetry chapbook. She is a co-author of the SF novel Windship: The Crazy Plague, available from Amazon. Most recently, some poems and stories were accepted by the online magazines Polar Starlight and Polar Borealis.

Journaling is one way I cope with all that’s going on in my life and the world. Here are two of many pieces that were written during a Callanish Society writing workshop. Callanish, a nonprofit society in B.C., supports people whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Late Dusk to Dawn

May 2020

It was late dusk, my one full day in hospital. I’d been sleeping. I heard a voice reminiscent of my daughter’s and opened my eyes. There she was, standing at the foot of the bed.

“Sweetie pie, how nice to see you!” I exclaimed.

Then I blinked; no one was there.

Of course not, since no visitors were allowed. After a moment of shock and a feeling of loss, I realized I’d dreamt her, between sleep and waking. “Oops,” I said, again out loud.

A nurse came into sight from behind a curtain. “Are you all right?” she asked. I explained what happened and she laughed and said something intended to assure me I’d not gone crazy. What I didn’t say to her was that I was all too ready to imagine someone I loved, there in person.

It was easy to feel okay in that hospital while medical staff came and went, some of them students in the nursing program at the nearby junior college. But early evening was slow. Hour after hour of light fading and no one there except for two roommates sleeping behind curtains. I could text people on my phone, or read more Covid news.

I’d not brought my laptop, so I begged paper for writing on, but I was so involved in a project that I couldn’t get into a new story or poem. The feeling of isolation increased. And I wondered why no one had come to clean the bathroom, or why staff were not in PPE, or why I’d been asked only the most cursory of questions during admission to this non-Covid wing the day before, which meant that’s all they’d asked my roommates as well.

But the vision of my daughter, and the assurances of the nurse, her friendliness, did help. The rest of the night was okay, and I made it through until morning.

***

Finding Hope 

It was early 1980. I was flying across the country, the last leg of a trip home from a visit to a friend in New York state. I was still mourning the end of a relationship.

I wrote a poem about that flight. Look down, it starts. Look down as you follow the afternoon sun to the west. Look at the amazing geography of the country you live in. And that did help. For a short while, I could look into the future without despair.

Looking at and smelling and hearing the world around me has always brought hope with it. I remember as a child seeing the Milky Way across the night sky in our small town, or more recently when the planet Mars was at its closest, so close that it reflected off the Fraser River near my home. A reflection of Mars! Not just the moon, or lights from airplanes coming to or from YVR.

I remember the sound of chopping wood in a section of forest by the river path. I got to the source, and saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers the size of ravens. And I remember an actual raven in a highway rest stop, a bird far bigger than I expected. Yes, it was scavenging, but to my eyes it was magnificent. My brother and I were returning from a trip to bury our mother’s ashes in Revelstoke Cemetery.

Poetry itself, the writing and reading of it, also gives me hope. Also journaling, or writing plays or fiction or creative nonfiction, or drawing and painting, or printmaking. And I love learning about the lives of famous artists, women especially. I envision myself in a studio doing what they do, perhaps getting inspiration from the forest or desert outside.

At the same time, sitting here at my desk, typing this, lifts my spirits.

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Brockton Writers Series 11.01.23: Liz Howard

Liz Howard is the author of Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, which won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize, and Letters in a Bruised Cosmos, which was shortlisted for the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Trillium Poetry Prize. Born and raised on Treaty 9 territory in Northern Ontario, she currently lives in Toronto.

To learn more about Liz before her upcoming reading with BWS, please look at the Griffin Poetry Prize‘s page about her work.

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Wednesday, January 11th, 2023—6:30 p.m.

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by:

Suzan Palumbo

Kathy Friedman

Liz Howard

Fran Skene

Special note: As we adapt with current social distancing regulations, we’re happy to announce our event will be hosted in-person at the Glad Day Bookshop, located at 499 Church St., Toronto. We will also live stream the event on the Brockton Writers Series YouTube channel! The event starts at 6:30 p.m.

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books are available for sale.

 If you’d like to donate, please do so here.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

OAC_REVISED_NEWCOLOURS_1805c

 —

GUEST SPEAKER

“I Have A Voice Here: Writing as a Doorway to Community, Belonging, and Agency” by Chris Kay Fraser

Chris Kay Fraser is a writing coach and founder of Firefly Creative Writing, a small business in Toronto that helps people reconnect to the joy and power of writing. She has devoted her life to walking with others to strange, raw and delightful places words can reach.

READERS

Suzan Palumbo is a queer Trinidadian dark fantasy/horror writer, Nebula Award finalist and co-founder of the Ignyte Awards. Her debut short story collection Skin Thief: Stories will be published by Neon Hemlock in October 2023. Her novella, Countess, will be published by ECW Press in Spring 2024.

Kathy Friedman is the author of the short-story collection All the Shining People (Anansi, 2022). She was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and her writing has appeared in GrainGeistPRISM internationalCanadian Notes & Queries, and the New Quarterly, as well as other publications. She is also the co-founder and artistic director of InkWell Workshops. She lives in Tkaronto.

Liz Howard is the author of Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, which won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize, and Letters in a Bruised Cosmos, which was shortlisted for the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Trillium Poetry Prize. Born and raised on Treaty 9 territory in Northern Ontario, she currently lives in Toronto.

Fran Skene is a retired librarian who has written in a variety of forms. Two one-act plays were produced in the 1990s and later she published a poetry chapbook. She is a co-author of the SF novel Windship: The Crazy Plague, available from Amazon. Most recently, some poems and stories were accepted by the online magazines Polar Starlight and Polar Borealis.

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BWS 11.07.22 report: Revision and the Four Seasons of Story

Jessica Outram is Cobourg’s 4th Poet Laureate. She is a Métis writer and educator with roots in the Georgian Bay Métis Community. She works by day as Principal of Indigenous Education, supporting all schools, for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. Jessica is co-host of The Hummingbird Podcast, a weekly podcast about identity, healing and wellness, the spirit of place, and the pull of mystery. She recently published her first collection of poetry with Piquant Press, The Thing with Feathers. In Spring 2023, her first children’s novel will be released by Second Story Press, Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold.

What Do the Four Seasons Teach Us About Revision?

By Jessica Outram

Nature has many lessons to offer writers. Lately I’ve been thinking about the four seasons and the lessons from them that connect to the writing process. Like this process, the seasons follow a cycle. Each season directs our behaviours and interactions.

Imagine you’ve been writing a while now, exploring forms and following stories. One day you decide this story will become something more. You enter into a revision process, an opportunity to see again. You return to the early writing of this story and re-engage using the seasons as a guide. Give each season enough time to fully realize its potential. Pay close attention to the transitions from one season to the next and how you will shift and adapt.

In the spring, consider why this story and why this form? Why did this story first find you? What about this story was important to you? This is a time to ask and answer all the ‘why’ questions. Free-write using questions to open the portal. Step into springtime. Revisit the story with curiosity, an open heart and open eyes. Be open to surprise. Watch for new ideas to bud. Connect to your inspiration. Define your form (will it be a play or a poem or a novel?). This is where you fully commit to the project. Your relationship with the project changes and as you work through the ‘why questions’ you can’t imagine your life without this story.

The transition to summer is easy. The days get warmer. Your relationship with the story is like a hot summer romance. You spend every day together now, lingering in playing with scenes or phrases. You may even feel like you’ve arrived as a writer. You are in love with this project. Your creativity blooms like a field of wildflowers. The story moves like a river. The project is fully alive. This is a lovely time for a writer. When I think of writing and everything I love about writing, it’s always the summer of writing that I’m thinking about. Sometimes we may choose to linger in summer for years.

Fall is about letting go. We often resist this transition. This is when we begin to prepare to share the story with others. It won’t be yours for much longer. Consider the audience and shape the story to meet their needs, too. What is your dream for this story? Who will enjoy it? Who needs it? What changes does this story need so it can impact readers? We pay attention to style and polish. We tend to the technical elements of craft. We check the facts and the plausibility of each scene. We share finished drafts with our writing group for feedback. And when we are done, our project glows with the radiance of October leaves. We know that soon it will be time to give the story to others.

By winter, we’ve often forgotten the warmth and joy of summer. It’s time to send the story out into the world. We don’t feel as close to it as we did in the other seasons. Sometimes we forget a scene or a character’s name or we read a whole page and wonder how/when we wrote it. We have spent so much time with the story, the writing has frozen. It’s time to share the story, to publish. Some days feel like a blizzard with gusting winds of uncertainty and blinding views of possibilities. To thrive in winter we seek out the company of friends. We collaborate with people we know (and people we don’t know) to publish. We learn about marketing and bookselling. What actions do you need to take to share this story with others? Who will help you along the way? And then, one day we notice the way the sun lights up the snow and find joy in the frost on the branches. Winter is a time of darkness and it is a time of light. When the story finds its way to the readers who need it most, we are already lost in springtime working on another project.

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BWS 09.11.22: In Case You Missed It!

Click here to see the recorded live stream of our November 9th event featuring Marlo K. Shaw, Edwige Jean-Pierre, Ayaz Pirani, and Emily Urquhart, and guest speaker Jessica Outram, who spoke to us about approaching writing in the metaphor of the four seasons, titled “Revision and the Four Seasons of Story.”

This was our second in-person BWS event since the beginning of the pandemic, and we’re so excited to be back! We even experimented with a hybrid presentation. Please stay tuned for more updates about our next events.

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