Counting my blessings today. My book, Moving to Atlanta: The Un-Tourist Guide, went to press today and I should have plenty of copies for my Feb. 21 book launch party.
I also met with a great group of women as we kicked off a new Writer’s Group. Heron House, a nearby venue, in Mountain Park, is a 501-c3 non-profit center for sacred studies nestled in a wildlife refuge on the dam between Lake Cheerful and Lake Garrett in the City of Mountain Park. Upon walking into the space it immediately feels restful and spiritual, and definitely lives up to its name as a “Sacred Earth Sanctuary.”
This is just the setting I’ve been hoping for to return to writing and editing my debut historical novel, Torrential. I’ve missed immersing myself in my characters, including Kieran, a traumatized Irish sailor who must confront his past when a massive flood threatens his life and those he cares about.
My group includes old friends Mari Ann and Carolyn, who I’ve known from our writing group days with Jedwin Smith, and three new friends: Kathleen, June and Marla. Our group’s philosophy and approach honor writing mentor Rosemary Daniell and her Zona Rosa (meaning the “Pink Zone,” or the “Women’s Zone” in Spanish) workshops. In fact, Rosemary plans to offer a one-day writer’s workshop this spring in the Atlanta area (I will provide more details on my blog once the workshop date is firm).
A writer and a teacher of writing, Rosemary is known for her provocative poems and personal memoirs. Rosemary’s book, The Woman Who Spilled Words All Over Herself: Writing and Living the Zona Rosa Way, grew from her teaching
and writing experiences. “Support, stimulation and standards of excellence are the three attitudes that make Zona Rosa work,” Rosemary writes. “Make sure that you receive all three in any writing group in which you participate and in any discussion of your work. Insist that your strengths be supported, your weaknesses, while you are still conquering them, be treated with respect. Remember that what is commonly called criticism can be positive, and experienced as support.”
Each member of our writing group brings different life experiences and is at a different phase in our writing journey. We all, however, share a common hope — to connect and grow in our craft while making a genuine connection. The quality of the readings today bode well for our group. I’m going to learn a lot and am thankful to once again have a supportive circle to share my writing with, especially as I tackle the hardest part of my manuscript revisions around voice and pacing.
As we finished our first session, I asked each person to share one word that most describes how she felt about being here. Here’s what each woman said:
- Marla – Courage
- Anne – Sacred
- Carolyn – Inspired
- Mari Ann – Peaceful
- Kathleen – Flying
- June – Leaping
These are powerful sentiments and are indicative of feelings of friendship, acceptance, growth and excitement that can lead to transformative writing! As Kathleen notes, referencing a Walt Whitman quote from the movie, “The Dead Poet’s Society”: “The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.’ What will your verse be?”
I can’t wait to see where we go from here and the stories we will share.