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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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Reflections on In-person Connections

posted Apr 9, 2019, 8:20 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Apr 9, 2019, 8:37 AM ]

After an event, people want immediate photos, feedback and reflections of what they just experienced. People who attended want to see themselves having a good time. People who were unable to attend want to see what they may have missed out on—or were fortunate to avoid. However, the organizer is often exhausted and sated, still processing and recovering from the exertion that went into connecting others to each other and to the focus of the event.

The Room to Write’s mission was to connect writers and illustrators to each other and to what has been or will be written and illustrated. Two weeks in a row meet and greet events were devoted to the act of connecting people and what they have created or hope to create.

The first week was for adult writers and illustrators. We met at Cedric’s Studio and it felt great to pack over twenty people into a comfortable space on a winter’s eve. No matter how many Meet & Greets we organize, it is still pleasantly surprising to experience such a healthy mix of friendly faces and new faces, published writers and emerging writers, visual artists representing everything from photography to painting, and storytellers from every age and outlook.

The second week event was for youth writers and illustrators. Adults aren’t the only ones who crave creativity and to be surrounded by others who want to talk shop. With sports and science being the big money-makers these days—kids don’t always get a chance to tuck themselves into words or to sit one-on-one with published writers and illustrators who stand as proof that real human beings are behind the creative words and images kids connect with.


A whopping fifty people popped into the Boys & Girls Club of Wakefield on March 28th and thirty-five of them were young people. Thirty-five! How refreshing. The best part is that every parent and grandparent who I have spoken to since that event tells me how their child or grandchild could not stop talking about the experience.

The young people who came out to revel in words and illustration and walked away with a journal and pen as well as a free book, signed by the author were smitten—smitten with storytelling, both the creation of stories and the act of taking them in.


March turned out to be a wonderful celebration of words for old and young alike. It is always inspiring to see how the simplicity of words and endless possibility of creativity can still win the day despite all that beeps, bumps and blurts around us.
 

Thank you to all the authors and illustrators who joined us, giving so generously of their time on a weekday night: Carol Gordon Ekster, Jannie Ho, Rajani LaRocca, Dianna Sanchez, Laurie Stolarz, Dirk Tiede and Rob Vlock.


Thank you to the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham and Wakefield, The Savings Bank, Whitelam Books and Follow Your Art Community Studios. Last, but not least, a very special thanks to Jeanne McGonagle for volunteering to help with this event.

If you know a young person who would like to read any of the books given away at the youth event, a copy of each book is being donated to the Beebe Library in Wakefield, along with the second and third volume of Paradigm Shift donated by Dirk Tiede.


If you would like to see more events like this in your community feel welcome to contact us, donate to The Room to Write and help spread the word about words.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

                  

Eleanor with the Weeping Eye

posted Mar 11, 2019, 7:19 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Mar 11, 2019, 7:19 AM ]


As March digs its boots in, I feel the pull to dig back into a writing project. My first project was a YA (Young Adult Fiction) novel. Four people have read it completely on Swoon Reads and offered up much-appreciated encouragement and the focused and actionable feedback I was hoping for. Receiving detailed feedback was my main reason for making it available for people to read on the Swoon Reads platform. If you didn't get to read it yet, please take a look and tell me what you think about LUCY BOUND IN LYRICS. FYI: Kavanagh (with a "k" and no "u":) is my maiden name. 

Here are a few comments from readers who finished the book on Swoon Reads:

Kris wrote, "I’m happy your poetic writing style continued throughout the piece. I also think you’ve captured something very raw and real with Lucy and it was a pleasure to experience her journey of self-exploration! This if one of the most unique coming-of-age stories I’ve read, and Lucy is refreshingly complex."

Cheryl wrote, "I liked so many things about this and hope you keep refining it and move it to publication! I really really loved Lucy!! What a great teen character. She’s strong, she’s smart, she’s literate. I liked the supporting characters, although Lori took some time to grow on me. Not sure if it was intentional or not, but at first I really disliked her. Their initial interaction in the ice cream shop felt a little choppy, and their make up conversation in the parking lot felt too quick of a resolution. But, after that scene, I enjoyed Lori and liked their friendship. I think the family dynamic is great. It has depth, realistic conflict, and the beginnings of some resolution by the end of the book. I like that some relationships do not get resolved all contritely perfectly, but more realistically complicated. As I mentioned previously, some of the back and forth dialogue didn’t flow as naturally as the narrative sections did, especially in the begging of the book. Sometimes, old fashioned words and phrases were used by the teens in the book that I just don’t ever hear real teens saying. I love the time spent on Maya [Angelou] and her works. Wonderful addition to the story!"

Marcia wrote, "I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lucy Bound in Lyrics! There was a steady build of character development and I was totally invested in Lucy's coming-of-age. I wouldn't change a word of the scene where she has the opportunity to read her poem--well done. The timeline is accurate and consistent. 

Similar Stories: This story felt quite unique to me, so I'm unable to think of any others it brought to mind.
"

Now I feel the pull to start (or continue on) with a new project. It will be MG (Middle Grade Fiction) since my kids are too young for YA, but old enough to be interested in reading what I'm writing--so, I'd love to write something they are able to read. I started this in November thanks to NaNoWriMo and, as you can see, I didn't get far. But, you have to start something before you can ever finish it and so I am giving you a taste of the very first (very short) first chapter of ELEANOR WITH THE WEEPING EYE in hopes that it will help remind me to continue on and write some more and more and more--until that too is finished.

Spring will prevail regardless of winter's last efforts to cast its chill. Here's to tree buds, flower sprouts, new life and completing projects!


ELEANOR WITH THE WEEPING EYE

The first time I saw Eleanor with the Weeping Eye, I thought she was just plain Eleanor. She sat, barely visible, to the side of the second floor window with a lace, rose-patterned sheer as her translucent shield from the outside world. Only the right side of her face breached the protective cover with its eye perfectly and yet impossibly violet and most definitely dry. In fact, I wouldn’t have seen even that much had the baseball not reached the height of that very window making her startle and sending a waft of air through that rose-patterned sheer. My eyes drawn to that trembling swath of fabric caught her, only for a flash, though, and she was gone while the lace hung limply once again.
        As I turned back to my friends yelling to me from the street, I already started to doubt what it was I had seen in that second-floor window. I had never known a girl to live there and certainly not one with violet eyes. 
        “Did you see that?! There was a girl up there with violet eyes—or at least one. One big violet eye!” I said in a fading, far-off voice that told them I was still looking at her in my imagination. 
        The violet detail was the part that made my friend Vance clench up one half of his face and swat at me with a, “Psst!” while Ian turned away with an, “Ok, sure!” 
        For a moment I doubted myself. 
        “It must have been the reflection of the ball in the window,” Owen said. Len insisted that I was taking them off the subject to distract from the fact that I should have been rounding bases and running home, but had instead stood staring uselessly at a window. I was tagged out before I even made it to first base. Ethan snarled his upper lip and nodded his head.
        “Hey Violet—start concentrating on the game,” Tommy mocked. 
        I shook my head as if to wake myself up. Had I imagined the violet part? I checked the window once more but it was empty and seemed to stare back impatiently as if it was one big eye, urging me to “Get on with it! Go play the game and stop looking at me. Leave me be!”
        And so, I went back to my team, now in the outfield, and tried to keep my eye on the ball. 

. . . to be continued:) 

P.S. If you see me--tell me to finish my MG project. Don't take "No" for an answer. Don't accept "I've been busy." for an excuse! Hold me accountable:)

Tulips & Clockwork

posted Feb 14, 2019, 10:22 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Feb 14, 2019, 10:32 AM ]

Not everybody is a fan of Valentine's Day, but I have an affinity for flowers and chocolate, bubbly drinks and poetry. Also, it's a good excuse to tell people I care about that I care about them, that I'm thinking of them, that I appreciate what they're trying to do in life. That means, for me, anybody from kids to teachers to mothers to friends could be the intended target depending on the day, the mood, the time. So, that's how I see today: a good reminder to try to do one or two random acts of kindness to tell someone you are thinking of them.

However, I also still subscribe to the old-fashion notion of romance. In a day and age when "talking" means "dating" I'd be dating everybody if that was the case. I talk a lot. So, I need something a bit bolder when it comes to letting my main squeeze know I love him. Whatever happened to grand romantic gestures?! I think they're still around. Anyway, I LOVE my husband and since my blog is the biggest (and most economical way--hey I'm not a millionaire) to tell him I love him, I thought I would. I love poetry. I love that it makes you dig deep. It makes you distill. It encourages you to share. Share goes!

In this busy world, I decided to sit down, stop everything, and write a poem just for my husband, George. He deserves a custom poem. Happy Valentine's Day, Love.

Disclaimer: If you don't like cheesy, turn away. If you don't like romance, turn away. If you're not a fan of poetry, this is not for you--go watch someone do something ill-advised on YouTube. Consider yourself warned:)

Tulips and Clockwork

Brushing past me—
a whisper.
Without words
not a sound. Stretching
with color
and confident strength.
An example
of how beautiful simple can be
calming
whispering to me
silently
filling me
up and up and away—
from dark and cold and gray.
Nature’s patient wisdom
has won the day.
Lines, clean but believable—arch.
A link
between here and heaven
keeps gears turning,
clasping together,
kissing deeply and then
arms wide letting go
to bide time
turning, churning so very far.
Then, one tic closer,
one toc beyond.
We go—
on and on and around.
Up and down. High and low. Full and empty. Waiting.
For that next whisper to brush beside us.
That next gear to pull us in, and cling desperately.
Even if—
just for a moment.

Cedric's Makes Room for Writers

posted Jan 21, 2019, 12:35 PM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Jan 21, 2019, 1:16 PM ]

Thanks to the Wakefield/Lynnfield Chamber of Commerce Breakfast at Brother's held on the first Thursday of each month and organized by Executive Director John Smolinsky, Colleen Getty of The Room to Write and Ted Dooling of Cedric’s Studio Meeting and Workspace were able to meet each other and discover a great opportunity for the two local initiatives to create a partnership that would benefit writers in and around Wakefield.

The Room to Write, founded in 2016 and receiving nonprofit determination in May of 2018, is steadily developing a solid community centered around the craft of writing. As a small organization The Room to Write is at its best when it partners with others in and around Wakefield. When asked about the vision for The Room to Write Director Colleen Getty explained, “We are working to grow into ‘the’ writing community and resource north of Boston. Without a designated space to call home or work we are limited in fulfilling one of the core components of our mission, which is ‘to provide those who want to write, love to write, and need to write with a quiet, communal and supportive space within which they are able to write.’” She continued, “This latest partnership is another step in the right direction for local writers.”

Since 1992 Boston Computer Scanning, Inc, “Bosscan,” has been providing document scanning and related business services to industries throughout New England. In 2015 Bosscan relocated its offices to Albion Street in Wakefield Center. The new location included a vacant retail space next door. Bosscan Owner Ted Dooling stated, “We decided to search for a use of that space that would utilize our small business experience to benefit the local community. We saw how the Open Workspace environments in Boston, Cambridge, Manhattan and beyond were catering to those in need of a comfortable, productive space to work, or simply to relax, away from home or the office. Many people feel more productive amongst creative and business-minded individuals.” The space, known as Cedric’s Meeting and Workspace, just recently opened for business.

Currently, members of The Room to Write have access to writing space two evenings a week, as well as the third Thursday of each month, thanks to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield. The Wakefield Club also provides space where The Room to Write’s youth Newspaper Club meets weekly in addition to the Open Studio Writing Workshops available to the homeschool community.

The latest partnership with Cedric’s Meeting and Workspace will make it possible for The Room to Write to offer workspace during the daytime hours and biweekly evening hours at a special discounted rate. Cedric’s is a clean, comfortable, peaceful space to tuck yourself in for a few hours and be productive away from everyday distractions. Writers who would like to take advantage of this partnership must have a membership with The Room to Write. The writers’ discount applies specifically to Cedric’s Megaplan over a six-month trial period.

“As a young nonprofit with limited resources we are grateful for our community partners and collaborators who help us find creative ways to fulfill our mission in supporting writers of all ages, abilities and means.” Getty commented. “This is a win-win for both TRtW and Cedric’s.”

For more information about becoming a member of The Room to Write click here. For more information about Cedric’s Meeting and Workspace, visit www.cedricsstudio.com or find them on facebook, twitter or Instagram.




Lucy Bound in Lyrics in the New Year

posted Dec 29, 2018, 7:38 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Dec 29, 2018, 7:38 AM ]

It's New Year's Resolution time!

Personally--I am hoping to immerse myself in another writing project of the YA or the Middle Grade manuscript variety in the new year. I still have to work out the actual resolution details, but I'm picturing some sort of strict schedule needing to be created and adhered to. My weakness: I'm not big on waking before dawn. Waking up far enough ahead of any one of my four children isn't a sure thing for getting work done, so I'm going to have to get a bit more strategic about other hours of the day. 

I am often asked, "What do you write?" As Director of TRtW, I am focused on--and truly enjoy--helping other writers, but I do actually write and actively send out my manuscripts, too. So, the answer to the "What do you write?" question is, "I have a draft of a YA novel and a couple of picture book manuscripts that I am circulating." 

In return for my efforts, as every writer has experienced, I received a steady stream of form-letter rejections over this past year. After a few of the rejections breaking form to relay to me that while they like the story the narration seems distant, I decided I needed some more detailed feedback, but don't have the money to throw at a professional editor and felt overwhelmed when I wandered onto Good Reads in search of some beta readers. It felt like the Wild West and so I backed out of those slatted, swinging saloon doors slowly and very shortly after I had entered them. And, then I remembered something!

When I attended Agent/Editor Day through SCBWI in 2017 I was introduced to an online platform called Swoon Reads. Since I am hoping to get some concrete feedback and constructive criticism from young adults, I thought it may be a bit less intimidating to start there since the manuscript I completed the first draft of this past January is a 57,000 word Young Adult novel. That means the target audience is ages 15 to 20+. Two weeks ago I uploaded LUCY BOUND IN LYRICS to Swoon Reads.

So, if you know any young adults or regular, old adults who like to read YA--feel free to point them to my manuscript, LUCY BOUND IN LYRICS, and encourage them to offer up some feedback so I can polish it up and publish it. Read Lucy Bound in Lyrics HERE. Here's the prologue to get your started:

LUCY BOUND IN LYRICS

C. T. Kavanagh (that's my maiden name:)


Prologue (yes--it's a poem:)

Love shows up in annoyingly ordinary ways. 

We have to really squint and concentrate 
to catch a glimpse of love slipping like sand 
into the crevices of our lives,
trying to hold us solidly in place. 

But, most of us just don't recognize each gritty, glistening grain 
as it drops down among the others, 
collectively forming that poor-excuse-for-a-foundation 
foundation that we all build our lives atop. 

We often miss the moment when a 
single speck of sand settles and 
silently offers its tragically inaudible “I love you.”

Book Bash

posted Dec 14, 2018, 1:08 PM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Dec 14, 2018, 1:10 PM ]

The Room to Write was bursting with excitement for our first-ever Book Bash. It was a Writers and Illustrators Meet & Greet with a twist towards the holiday shopping spirit. It gave our organization an opportunity to demonstrate to communities north of Boston what our mission is and how we intend to work toward fulfilling it. Readers had the opportunity to meet fifteen local writers and illustrators, to ask them about their books, and to personalize books with a message if it was a gift. The illustrators went one step further and even included an on-the-spot sketch along with their signatures. 


Young readers in attendance could complete an author/illustrator scavenger hunt offering them an excuse to go around and find out a little more about the human beings behind the books. It was a wonderful event to promote youth literacy and inspire the next generation of writers and illustrators.

The authors and illustrators in attendance selling and signing their books were Sally Chetwynd,  Lyn Wells ClarkEileen DoyonAlice GardnerLorena Mary HartElaine MagliaroJen MaloneGloria and Merrill MezikofskySarah Lynne ReulSusie RichCasey W. RobinsonDianna SanchezMarcia Strykowski & Dirk TiedeIt was a group with a good variety of genres in addition to a healthy mix of traditionally published and self-published authors and illustrators. Sally and Eileen represented adult fiction and non-fiction, while Jen, Susie, Dianna, Marcia and Dirk represented middle grade and young adult. Children's picture books had the biggest showing being very well represented by Lyn, Alice, Elaine, Gloria, Merrill, Sarah, Susie (both middle grade and picture books), and Casey. 

Since it was a meet and greet as well as a book signing--several others came by to enjoy community among fellow writers and illustrators. Some took the opportunity to introduce us to their books as well. Beth Costanzo came by with her Scuba Jack series of books for preschool and Kindergarten aged children and Brett Fleishman stopped by with his collection centered around poetry for kids.

Through The Room to Write's efforts to support local writers, we hope to support every step of the writing process--from motivating young and emerging writers to facilitating the process that gets words onto paper, then from polishing those words for an audience to helping books find their way into a reader's hands. The Room to Write's Book Bash had three points guiding it:
  • Meet & Greet: Writers and Illustrators of all genres and abilities can chat, network and build community
  • Support Local Art: Writing is art. Illustration is art. We want to help locals purchase local art.
  • TRtW Fundraiser: A percentage of the total sales were donated back to The Room to Write through B&N's Book Fair program. 
We are so grateful for all the talented writers and illustrators who came out to share their love of words and art with all of us and to connect with their readers personally. It really was a great group and an important reminder that there are many ways to support local artists of all mediums--that includes writing. In addition to absorbing words--visitors also got the rare treat of watching art happen right in front of them. Merrill Mezikofsky demonstrated how he turns a blank page into a sketch and then into a vivid piece of artwork.

If you didn't have time on Monday to get to the Peabody location of Barnes & Noble there still may be a few copies of the books signed by the authors available to purchase, but you'll have to hurry. Check the links to the names listed on the home page of this site to see if there are still copies available or call ahead. Thank you to The Room to Write's board members Roberta Hung, Jeanette Murray and Emily Seward who were in attendance as well as Barnes & Noble for hosting this event. 



"The Room" for The Room to Write

posted Nov 20, 2018, 11:57 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Nov 20, 2018, 11:59 AM ]

Did you type on one of the manual typewriters at Festival by the Lake? Have you tuned into an episode of The Journey of a Story series? Maybe you attended one of the quarterly Writers and Illustrators Meet & Greets or picked up a copy of The Club Chronicle @ Wakefield Boys & Girls Club from a budding journalist? Whatever form it took, chances are you have seen or heard about The Room to Write (TRtW) nonprofit organization with its passion for the written word and support for local writers and illustrators.

Looking ahead, The Room to Write, in collaboration with Barnes & Noble, is excited to demonstrate how it intends to fulfill its mission on Monday, December 10th starting at 6:30 PM. Local writers and illustrators, both traditionally and self-published, will gather at the Barnes & Noble in Peabody to showcase, sell and sign their books. This event will include three complementary elements:

  • ·         Writers and Illustrators Meet & Greet (socializing & networking opportunity)
  • ·         Pop-up Local Bookshop (local artists need visibility & support selling their art)
  • ·         Book Fair Fundraiser (a percentage of the sales will be donated back to The Room to Write)

“The more writers we meet, the more we learn about what writers need.” Founder and Director, Colleen Getty, is enthusiastic about the organization’s progress. “There are so many talented writers, published and unpublished, in the North of Boston area and surprisingly there is no designated, physical space North of Boston that is connecting local writers of all ages, genres and abilities with each other and with their audience in such deliberate and accessible ways as The Room to Write is doing.”

One of those deliberate ways has been The Journey of a Story series created and produced in collaboration with Wakefield Community Access Television (WCAT). The interviews are available on public access television and YouTube, then released on a monthly basis as individual podcasts through iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher. Ryan Boyd, Senior Producer and Editor for WCAT stated, “The Room to Write is a gift to local writers. Whether you’re just starting out or already published, Colleen has created a place for you to come and share your talents, gain advice, and (as we all experience) get some much-needed support. It is an invaluable source for writers and readers alike.”

In addition to WCAT, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield has been instrumental in their support of The Room to Write from the very beginning. It would have been a much bigger challenge to host weekly writing hours or to facilitate monthly critique group meetings without the physical space provided after Club hours by the Club. TRtW also sponsors a weekly Newspaper Club and just launched a homeschool program called Brown Bag Lunch & Lit with the Wakefield Club. The Boys & Girls Club has been an extremely generous and responsive community partner—and a great springboard for TRtW’s youth programming. Wakefield Club’s Director, Bethany Riley, explains, “We love working with The Room to Write. Part of our mission is to help our members to find their own voices and The Room to Write is an awesome organization that sets a great example of this for our kids. ”

This past spring The Room to Write became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission being to provide those who want to write, love to write, and need to write with a quiet, communal and supportive space within which they are able to write.

Those who write are often spread out, isolated and creating on their own. The very young, the seniors and everybody in between should have access to the support, the community and the space to work the craft of writing in its many forms. Young people need to learn to communicate effectively and express themselves creatively. Our seniors need to know that their stories are worth telling and that there is a collective effort to share them and people who value them.

The Room to Write definitely has the “Write” part well established. Now it is time to set down some roots and locate “The Room” where writers North of Boston can connect and call home. 

For more information about TRtW's Book Bash on Monday, December 10th, visit our event page here.

Small Bites!

posted Nov 7, 2018, 5:17 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Nov 7, 2018, 5:18 AM ]

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do and what to say—what is right. A body can wake up and feel a pressure pushing down on it before it even gets out of bed. It might be the fear of failure. It might be the realization of swimming in water that is over our head. Those two things are all in our minds. Well, not exactly—but they aren’t happening NOW. We are not failing at this exact moment. We are not drowning presently.

It's such a struggle to focus on the NOW. There are books written about it. There are, no doubt, people who make lots of money talking about it and coaching people to appreciate it. The reality of failure is real. People, ideas, efforts fail every day, but often the actual failure follows only after a long period of doubt, fear, and anxiety. 

If you are not failing today, you are not failing. If your head is above the water, you are not drowning. Concentrate on breathing and succeeding. Get your head out from below the water’s surface if it’s not there presently. I am writing this out loud to myself. 

“Take small bites!” Isn’t that what our parents always told us? Chew your food. Swallow it before taking the next bite lest you choke. That can be said of thoughts. Think small. Perhaps all this “global” thinking has gotten us overwhelmed. Zoom in—all the way so that all you see is your house and a few neighboring homes. 

Thinking too big leaves us to concentrate on our shoulders, arms, torso, legs and feet kicking below the surface. Sure—the majority of us are below the surface of the water, but the part that keeps us alive and that keeps the majority of us from sinking to the absolute bottom is our head and particularly our nose and mouth. 

It’s the breathing that counts. While that may only involve a small part of our whole body—we must concentrate on it. We must focus our mind on it. Concentrating on anything else will sow fear and doubt and encourage sinking—maybe even a “giving up” entirely attitude that can spread like a toxic rash.

So, breathe. Kick. Relax. Float. Breathe. Chin up. Spread your arms out. Breathe. Kick some more. Float a bit. Don’t think about sharks! Look at the birds, the sky, the sun. Don’t think about jelly fish. Smile and think happy thoughts and, above all, breathe. Think small. Think now.

Walk, Write and Wash Your Hands!

posted Oct 15, 2018, 10:44 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Oct 15, 2018, 5:10 PM ]

I am currently operating on a bit of a delay. Maybe you haven't noticed or maybe you have. Sometimes the change of seasons doesn't go as smoothly as we'd like. That's when it's most important to make time to nourish our body and our soul!

Today I went for a walk. I’m fortunate enough to have a lake nearby and to have the opportunity to walk around it—especially during this time of year. Here’s the problem: that’s the first time I’ve gone for a walk, without a destination as my main motivation, in a very long time. But, I had to do something. Fall is usually a time of great energy for me, but this year Fall has me falling behind. It was like the battery inside just up and quit on me, and I needed to get the jumper cables out—afraid, as I was, that I would hook them up wrong or that it wouldn’t revive anything. I needed to break out of this uncharacteristic, fall funk.

My brother passed away at the start of September. That was unexpected. That felt like jumper cables hooked up wrong. The hole left by burrowing grief created a sort-of catch basin that collected all sorts of germs along with the rainwater, so that this month greeted me with not-so-cute, acute conjunctivitis and then tonsillitis and strep throat decided it looked like an opportune time to jump in as well. Being sick is bad enough. Being highly contagious is down-right depressing.

The grief from my brother’s passing worked subtly below the surface—nearly invisible, while those bombastic and flamboyant germs were like bedazzled rock stars trashing a hotel room. Despite their two very different approaches, they have carried on quite consistently and I thought that maybe I should stop trying to fight back. I started to think that I’d better just sit back and shut up until those relentless thugs found someone else to bug. 

This past week my husband brought home a bright yellow book for me that he thought might be interesting or possibly helpful, titled: You are a Badass, which is what he believes me to be and assured me that he meant it in the best possible way. I’ll have to take his word for it, though I feel like I should be riding a horse or at least wearing chaps and sporting a long mustache to qualify for “Badass” status. 

I’m only 70 pages in, but the book made me think I needed to get out the jumper cables, ignore my constantly red and drippy eye (yeah, gross!), and just put on some sunglasses and walk the dang lake. I finished the Zpack I was prescribed, yesterday. The eye drops are nearly at their end. And, there’s something about fresh air, nature, and exercise that I felt might band together to become the perfect bouquet garni I need—that somethin’ somethin’ that forms the basis for soups and stews but that we don’t actually see and can’t quite place with our taste buds alone. 

So, we’ll see what happens. I took the walk. I beat the rain that started falling just as I was getting to my car. I’m writing this down—another thing I’ve been avoiding as I took shelter in my cozy, curmudgeons-only cave. Am I on top of the world? No. Am I six feet under? No. Am I floating somewhere in between and forcing myself to look through rose-colored glasses—even if I have to blot my drippy eye occasionally? Yes. 

I suppose floating is better than sinking. 

So, the two things I am going to try to do more consistently and may suggest to you if you find yourself in a funk: 
walk in nature for no reason other than to get some fresh air (and possibly some vitamin D:), and 
write what’s on your mind if for not other reason than to get some of that stuff off of your mind. 

Walk and write. Walk and write. Oh—and be sure to wash your hands!!



Whitelam Books Meet & Greet

posted Sep 18, 2018, 8:34 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Sep 18, 2018, 9:04 AM ]

While I don't usually do more than one blog post a month--some months are just more prolific for a variety of reasons (as you can see) and so I thought it was worth writing about the recent Writers and Illustrators Meet & Greet organized by The Room to Write:

Over twenty writers and illustrators joined The Room to Write at Whitelam Books located at 610 Main Street, Reading MA for the September installment of our quarterly Meet & Greet, which is a free and casual way to get together with other local writers and illustrators of all genres and levels--this time with the added bonus of meeting Liz Whitelam, owner of Whitelam Books. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions, introduce published books, share the exciting details about books soon-to-be-released, as well as purchase a book or two to support the important role that independent book stores play for local authors and artists.


There was a near 50/50 ratio of writers and illustrators, which is always refreshing and a great opportunity for connecting and possibly sparking future collaborations. A couple of playwrights evened out the mix! Several published authors introduced their books to those in attendance: Susie Rich brought several of her children's books including the timely DUANE: Don't Underestimate Any Natural ElementsCarol Gordon Ekster held up her latest children's book You Know What?Elaine Magliaro brought Things To DoMarcia Strykowski had her latest tween novel Roller BoyGloria Mezikofsky brought her children's book A Perfectly Snowy Day AND her illustrator (who happens to be her talented husband, Mel:), Sally Chetwynd had a copy of her first novel, Bead of Sand, handy while announcing The Sturgeon's Dance was coming out in November, Hayley Barrett talked about her picture book, Babymoon, being released on April 2, 2019 and sharing the excited anticipation for a new release was Rajani LaRocca with her middle grade novel Middsummer's Mayhem set to release in the summer of 2019.


It was a wonderful event that included sweet treats and even sweeter conversations with some talented individuals. Those writers and illustrators in attendance who are new to the publishing world or who are trying to gather inspiration and information as they increase their creative output enjoyed a warm and welcoming atmosphere in which they were able to do so. Attendees came from as close as "down the street,"Reading, Wakefield, Melrose, North Reading, Peabody, and as far as Bradford, Concord, North Andover, Somerville and even Framingham.

This Meet & Greet was sponsored by The Room to Write and located in space being generously provided by Whitelam Books with thanks to local artist Ned Connors for the accompanying image. 


   

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