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And so, she just started typing. As if she was trying to dig herself out of some hole that was filled with words, perhaps that she never said but had always wished she could. She typed and dug and typed and dug as if letter by letter, word by word she would finally uncover who she was—why she was . . . 

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Thanks Rose!

posted Oct 5, 2021, 5:45 AM by Colleen Getty

About
We are so grateful to have Roseline Giglio as part of The Room to Write's Board of Directors. She will be picking up where current board member Roberta Hung left off as Treasurer. Rose comes to us from Saugus, MA and is a talented lady who wears many hats: Accountant, Realtor and mother of three young boys! 

The Room to Write is fortunate to have such a great team behind the wheel supporting our mission to connect and support writers of all ages, abilities and means.

Welcome Rose!


(Photo: Roseline Giglio and Colleen Getty)

A Lovely Chat with Essayist and Author Linda Malcolm

posted Sep 29, 2021, 5:36 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Sep 29, 2021, 5:42 AM ]

It was such a pleasure to get back into the WCAT Studios for our Journey of a Story series where we talk to local authors about how they write, what their inspirations are, then follow their journey from rough idea to finished, published product. As we transition (hopefully:) out of this pandemic, a chat with Linda Malcolm is something we can all benefit from. She is as calming and comforting as her collection of essays, Cornfields to Codfish, is. Despite having to wear masks--the studio location is inside a school--her voice shines through just as clearly as it does in each of her essays. Such a wonderful discussion! 

Be sure to tune into the Studio page on our website to watch the interview with Linda Malcolm along with several other local author interviews we have filmed over the past four years.

If you are looking for Linda's book or would like to read her essays, be sure to visit her website at lindamalcolm.com.



Rebecca Caprara launches Worst-Case Collin Sept 29th!

posted Sep 22, 2021, 6:57 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Sep 22, 2021, 6:58 AM ]

On Wednesday Sept 29, 2021 at 6:00 pm at the Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton, MA, Rebecca Caprara will celebrate the release of her new middle grade novel, WORST-CASE COLLIN, and chat with special guest Rajani LaRocca (if you haven't read her gorgeous verse novel RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE you really must!). 

Join in for a lively conversation about poetry, heartfelt middle grade novels, navigating between STEM careers and writing for kids, and lots more. Hope to see you there!

More about Worst-Case Collin: 
Twelve-year-old Collin has a plan to survive any worst-case scenario. Avalanche? No problem. Riptide? Stay calm. He’s 100% prepared for every disaster…except maybe his home life.

To keep everyone safe, the event will take place outside the Silver Unicorn Bookstore. Free & kid-friendly (+ snacks!) 📚 Signed & personalized books will be available. If conditions change, the event will be virtual. 


The Commonwealth Pen Show: Sunday, Sept 12th

posted Sep 8, 2021, 9:13 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Sep 8, 2021, 9:13 AM ]


Sunday, September 12, 2021, 9.00 am - 5.00 pm, at the Holiday Inn Bunker Hill, 30 Washington Street, Somerville, MA. 

This year, with expanded space, we expect to have some 30 exhibitors offering vintage and modern pens, inks, paper, and ephemera! Look for the following exhibitors:

Yigit Bagdas - DAYartSTORE
Jim Baer - Monomoy Pens
Bailey - The Penman
John Bedard - Fantasy Snorkel Pen
Andy Beliveau
Richard Binder
Bromfield Pen Shop / Appelboom
Rowland Butler
Alan Cohen - Crazy Al’s Emporium
Myk Daigle - MaD Mercantile
Jimmy Dolive - Total Office Products
Paul Erano
Federalist Pens and Paper
Pier Gustafson
Tim Holl
Jeffrey Krasner
Neil Lander
Joshua Lax - J. J. Lax Pen Company
Gary Lehrer - GoPens. com
Nikola Pang
Michael Quitt - Charm City Pens
Lindsey Rand
Michael Riggs - Riggs Pens
Bob Slate Stationer
Jonathan Steinberg
Nathan Tardif - Noodlers



A reminder of the fine print ...

Please note that for everyone's protection, there will be strict COVID-19 protocols in place at this year's show. Mask wearing is required at all times within the venue! By order of the City of Somerville, a mask covering the nose and mouth is required of everyone aged 2 years and older while on the premises. Persons unable to wear a mask for medical or religious reasons must present official documentation at the admissions table before entry. Violators are subject to a City-imposed fine of $300. The Commonwealth Pen Show will not be liable for the fine.

For any enquiries, please feel free to email dwattsjr54@gmail.com.

Post Sabbatical September:)

posted Sep 1, 2021, 7:26 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Sep 1, 2021, 7:27 AM ]

It's September 1st! 
It's been one year and here we are -- post sabbatical, clean slate in hand, and ready to see the mission of The Room to Write resume. 
Back to work:)

It's been twelve whole months since The Room to Write decided to lie fallow and we hope it has only made the soil richer and ready to start growing again. How? Here's a glance ahead:
  • September:
    • We will get back into the WCAT Studios and talk to local authors in The Journey of a Story series.
    • The creation of a new website for TRtW will start to take shape.
  • October:
    • Visit us at the Festival by the Lake (Wakefield) on October 2nd.
    • Join us for our first-ever (date to be determined) TRtW Community Appreciation Party where people (YOU!) who support The Room to Write and like to read, write or draw get together to eat, drink and be merry.
 
We have missed all of you so much! Truly, we hope to see you again soon. If you are a published author or illustrator and would like to participate in our
interview series, email us.

There will be more events and initiatives to talk about once we get our wheels oiled up and moving again, but we want to take this opportunity to let you know we are back and looking forward to supporting creativity in our community once again.

Please send us a note to tell us about other happenings that you'd like us to include in a future newsletter, to offer us suggestions, or to simply say, "Hello!" 
We LOVE getting mail!



Writer as Witness

posted Mar 19, 2021, 11:52 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Mar 19, 2021, 11:53 AM ]










 https://www.fyamelrose.org/


Jennifer Mancuso, who moderated the Artist as Witness event, is giving a series of classes. 

You can sign up for all of them or the individual classes themselves. 

Click the image to link to Follow Your Art Community Studios.










International Women's Day 2021

posted Mar 17, 2021, 6:44 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Mar 17, 2021, 6:48 AM ]

TRtW: International Women's Day Interview

Founder and Director, Colleen Getty, was invited to take part in an International Women's Day celebration series coordinated by the Wakefield Human Rights Commission as a way to celebrate inspiring women leaders in business, community involvement, and civic service. Visit the WHRC page on the Wakefield town site to see all the videos! Or--visit WHRC's facebook page here.

Special thanks to Kim Ring of Ring Communications (another amazing woman business owner) who volunteered her time to interview and edit the videos spotlighting women owned and directed businesses and organizations in Wakefield.

Want to support a woman-owned business? Go buy a book at Whitelam Books in Reading or Book Oasis in Stoneham or get your art on at Create Artisan Studio in Wakefield--among so many others! 



** If you do not already subscribe to our newsletter and would like to read our 6-month mid-sabbatical update, click here to read it.**

Stepping Away for Sabbatical

posted Aug 14, 2020, 7:33 PM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Oct 29, 2020, 6:18 AM ]

Summahtime---it's a good time to contemplate the direction I’m going in. 

This past spring offered an unexpected twist for us all. In the interest of holding onto any of my remaining sanity I must trim the sails by trimming some responsibilities. My four young children are non-negotiable keepers!:) 

Life in the summer months has been easier for me, but I cannot forget how very overwhelmed I was in March, April—and May. Responsibilities piled up fast while four sets of wide eyes looked to me for explanations, normalcy, occassional laughs, school instruction, motherly love, story time, screen time, entertainment, patience, three square meals, many snacks and some almost impossible undivided attention.

Everything real became virtual and the effort needed to fulfill commitments doubled while the time allowed to focus
and complete tasks fractured. I still have yet to replenish the well I drew so heavily from those three months.

As I look toward the uncertain fall season and the winter that follows, I have decided right now is a good time to take a sabbatical—let one of the fields I usually tend lie fallow. 

"A sabbatical is an extended break from your job that gives you time to enhance your academic qualifications, reflect on your accomplishments and decide how to prioritize your life and career or to take an extended rest period due to professional burnout."

Interested in reading about the value of a sabbatical? Here’s what Forbes has to say about sabbaticals: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2017/12/22/the-untold-value-of-a-professional-sabbatical/#3d0512587141

Stepping away from The Room to Write to lessen my load will not only help preserve my sanity, but will also allow me to use any available time to move forward with my own professional writing projects and allow me to develop more fully as an author. 

I hope to continue revising my YA novel, Lucy Bound in Lyrics, and finish the first draft manuscript for my MG novel-in-progress, Eleanor with the Weeping Eye. Maybe I’ll even revisit some drafts of poetry or neglected picture book manuscripts. It will all depend on schooling, health and an unpredictable virus.

Community is so very important to the creative process and to growing a career as an artist, which is why furthering The Room to Write's mission has been such a passion for its Board of Directors and for me. But, we cannot deny that so much of what is valuable about TRtW requires in-person events, networking and community building which is not currently possible and cannot be replicated authentically through virtual efforts alone.

The good news: We are not dissolving—only pausing—to catch our breath, conserve energy, and lay low while the world finds a way to get back up on its feet again. For those gardeners and farmers out there—we are letting the field lie fallow knowing it is an investment in future production. 

I hope the soil around The Room to Write grows richer as it rests. 

I’m choosing to view this sabbatical year as a good thing that’s been thrust upon me by the universe forcing me to slow down and look within for a while. This swerve in the course can be a gift, an opportunity to make time to write and prepare for the future if I choose to accept it as such. I choose to accept.

Having recently re-read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea reminded me that sometimes it’s best to be quiet and introspective. The path forward in life is never one straight, uninterupted line.

We must learn to shift with the ebb and flow.

The Gift of Empathy

posted Jun 23, 2020, 9:32 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Jun 23, 2020, 1:36 PM ]

Several years ago my oldest daughter broke her arm speeding down a slide. The word “surgery” was mentioned by doctors. It was the day before Easter and instead of a basket of candy, she went home with a cast. We were grateful she didn’t need surgery. 

We all hoped her arm would be free of the cast in time for her dance recital. Despite having the cast removed in time, she woke up sick the morning of the recital. I remember driving around the block an extra time to compose myself before telling the dance teacher she wouldn't be joining them. 

When we were both feeling down about it, I told my daughter (and myself) to be grateful because she was receiving the gift of empathy. "In the future," I explained, "when someone you know breaks a bone and is in pain or misses out on something they worked hard for, you can offer them genuine empathy." She spent the day throwing up along with her younger sister and I did a lot of laundry. 

Neither were interested in the "gift" they were receiving at the time, but later on I repeated what a gift it will be for someone to come to her sad and broken, to tell her a struggle they are going through, and for her to truthfully be able to say, “I have gone through something similar.”

Recently, I was driving down the highway when I saw a crowd of people on an overpass. Traffic slowed. I saw “Black Lives Matter” signs among the silhouettes of people gathered to demonstrate for equality. Tears began to well up in my eyes and it caught me by surprise. Why was I getting emotional? I wasn’t sad. The feelings swept over me—and, who am I to hold back tears that are peacefully demonstrating. 

I realized they were tears of pride. For the first time in so many years I was proud of my country—of the people in my country. They were gathered up there on that overpass together trying to insist we all realize that each of us is a human being underneath our skin. The humanity of us all is a beautiful commonality to be forced to recall.

I think of Covid-19 and how it has made so many of us afraid to leave our homes, to shop for food, to go out in public, to hug. The virus has caused so many people to fear for their loved ones—especially those with underlying conditions. That’s when I realized the gift we are all being given, if we choose to accept it and keep it in mind going forward: the gift of empathy. 

This gift may be a memory before too long, but perhaps we people—especially we white people—can accept the fear and the uncertainty of an invisible virus like Coronavirus, as a lens through which we are better able to witness the fear and uncertainty racism causes every day for so many in our country and around the world. Could this devastating virus be the closest we ever come to gathering what's needed to gain empathy for people of color while remaining in the skin we were born into? 

How amazing is it that one of the most pivotal movements toward racial justice and against systemic racism is taking place at the exact moment in time when the world is simultaneously being offered an epic-sized gift of empathy. Will we allow ourselves to receive the insight we are being offered? 

This virus, which has brought people of every class and color to their knees, may be the only hope we have of even remotely experiencing the fear our black brothers and sisters feel each time they step beyond the thresholds of their homes their entire lives without the hope or relief of a vaccine. It is a window into the fear a mother has for her son as he grows to be a young man, knowing that the color of his skin is a dangerous, underlying condition that leaves him vulnerable to the destructive disease that is racism.

When times are difficult—when inconvenience, illness, pain or death cause us to feel sorry for ourselves—let us instead by grateful. Be grateful for the gift of empathy because it is only through our struggles that we can begin to genuinely empathize with those among us who suffer.



Alone or Among?

posted Apr 2, 2020, 2:04 PM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Apr 8, 2020, 1:07 PM ]

It seems that the default for life right now in the age of the virus that shall not be named toggles between: ALONE and AMONG. You are either quite alone, meaning you live alone and now you cannot even go and meet up with others or happen upon others as all others stay home, or you are among said “others” who are your family and with whom you are now in constant contact with and perhaps even homeschooling (aka: home-zooming).

A writerly friend of mine, Dom Capossela, publishes a daily blog—yes daily! He is dedicated to celebrating words and sharing thoughts on a daily basis and that third week of March, when things started getting “real” and humanity started to disappear from public view, Dom wrote something beautiful in his blog. He wrote of the change of landscape and how that changed his life’s pattern as well as a homeless woman’s disappearance from that pattern.

His poem prompted me to write a poem, too. I wanted to dance alongside his poem and create a mirror image of every move he was making. He had toggled “alone” while I was toggling “among.” It is not often a writer can dance with another writer through words, but his daily blog allows it. I will include below his poem of "alone" followed by mine of a life "among." As time goes on it is likely these two viewpoints will take on various tones and nuance, but I feel they both serve as a snapshot in time that reflects what has become a very fluid situation and a landscape that we may never again return to. And so, with that introduction—let’s dance!

----------

2.0   Commentary by Dom Capossela [ALONE]

Yan walks past me,

Looking asleep on her moving feet.

Ten minutes later walks past me again.

 

An older woman,

Whose lower jaw and teeth dramatically forward of her upper,

With legs misshapen and repulsively sored,

Of very few words, they guttural and barely intelligible,

Who has worn the same burlap-looking outfit that matches the burlap bag hanging round her neck,  

Which bag one feels contains her life’s possessions,

since I’ve become aware of her.

 

Yan,

Obviously homeless,

Uncared for,

Shunned because

Uncared for,

Adrift in the Prudential Mall, passes me once,

In ten minutes, a second time.

 

It’s Monday and the Blue Bottle café is closed for the first time

Since its opening on July 11, 2018,

Since the time I made it my workplace, seven days a week.

 

Sometime between then and now,

Closer to then,

Yan approached the cashier.

She drew attention: few homeless-types wander such a space: being as it is,

Dedicated to the pleasures of the well-to-do.

She ordered a drink and a yogurt cup.

She paid and she left a tip.

 

She waited for her order and carried it to the Blue Bottle communal table,

Shyly taking the chair most isolated from the other patrons

Who did little to mask their distaste.

 

She slowly ate and drank.

Did not dribble.

Did not slurp or spill.

She wiped her lips

And remained sitting.

Just sitting quietly.

Her head drooping.

Nodding.

Dozing.

Jerking awake.

To the disgust of the others.

 

Blue Bottle management was contacted.

Little they could do:

She a paying customer.

“Hello,” they could say, and

Did.


To wake her.

To tell her,

“You cannot sleep here.”

She smiled that distorted smile,

Although not without its charm –

The innocence of a child,

Willing to please,

Wanting to please,

Wishing to please. But

Needing to sleep.

 

Security was called.

But she not disturbing the peace.

A paying customer.

Warnings issued.

 

Eventually Yan got to know the names of a couple of us other daily customers and

Told us her name in return.

She smiling.

Happy to be acknowledged.

 

Eventually Yan got up the courage to move a chair to a space convenient to her:

A bit distant from the communal table.

A place where she was close enough to claim ownership of the two purchased cups but

Far enough away from the communal table so as not to

Discourage others from sitting.

 

And so matters rested for several months:

Yan asleep in a  chair warmed by the sun,

Not bothering anyone,

Her body healing itself, perhaps,

With a most-needed sleep,

Management, security, and random patrons accepting her presence.

Bliss.

 

For the down-trodden, too good never lasts.

Today the Blue Bottle Café in the Prudential Center closed for several weeks to come.


And Yan walks past me.


Squatters’ right taken from her.

No replacement chair in the entire mall:

All restaurants closing.

The mall’s own common seating off-limits:

Any homeless caught sitting, evicted.

Yan.

Adrift.

Passes, not noticing my wave.

Asleep, perhaps.

On moving feet.

Disappears down one of the mall’s walkways.

After twenty minutes, walks past again.

Still asleep.

On moving feet.

 

**Here is my response to Dom’s beautifully written portrait.**

 

New Normal, for Now by Colleen Getty [AMONG]

 

How to relate—

without comparing.

How to complain—without complaint.

Gratitude. A noble focus. A necessity.

“The good ole days” seemed something none of us ever lived,

but now, those “days” just last week, just two days gone—five hours prior.

Closed. Shut. Cerrado.

Alone we—

echo.

Early motherhood, romantic as a memory

now thrust back upon me. 24/7—but,

no playgroups, no museums, no libraries, no grandparent visits, no, no, no—no nada.

No time and yet lots.

Water, water everywhere—you know the rest.

Gratitude. A noble idea. A legend, perhaps.

Homeless, lifeless, desperate—

a useful comparison.

Yan, a gift held now. A reminder.

Can I complain?

I shouldn’t—but it’s human. We still human, even if only virtually so.

Virtuous? A goal.

Virtual. A reality. Visits sans hugs, sans human.

Gratitude. Keep it close. Focus and refocus on it.

A home. A family.

Not completely isolated and yet—

a few hours

alone

sounds

delicious.

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