- December fundraising success
- Best of the BWW anthology naming survey
- 2018 anthology call for staff
- Open hours at the BWW studio
- Board update
- Strategic planning update
- Congrats & thanks
December fundraising success
Thank you to everyone who supported the BWW this December—whether as a sustaining donor, with a one-time donation, by rounding up your change in the checkout line at City Market, or through a Mud Season Review feedback request, full manuscript review, or tip jar donation.
In December, you helped us raise a total of $8,513.27:
- $422 through sustaining member donations
- $3,025 through additional one-time donations
- $2,284.34 through City Market’s “Rally for Change” program
- $2,556.09 through our Mud Season Review full manuscript review offer
- $136.56 through Mud Season Review feedback requests
- $44.64 through Mud Season Review tip jar donations
In addition, your board members met this past Thursday night to review financials for the year as well as the budget for 2018. Minutes and financials from that meeting will be available as soon as they are finalized.
BWW anthology name change survey and call for staff
First, the survey
In the 2017 annual member survey and at the annual meeting, a number of people suggested changing the name of the Burlington Writers Workshop annual anthology (The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop).
We sought member input through a survey in December to determine whether our wider membership preferred to keep the name or change it, and to gather suggestions to consider if we are to make a change. The survey split down the middle—with 19 votes in favor of a change and 19 votes opposed.
Below are a few points shared through the survey and through discussion, to offer member thinking on this issue:
- The idea of “best of” feels like a misnomer to some members because:
- For some members, it doesn’t feel consistent with our supportive organizational culture.
- For others, because selected works featured in the anthology each year reflect the subjective judgment of each year’s editors rather than an objective standard of what it means to be the “best of,” the language of “best of the BWW” feels like it sets up a misleading sense of competition.
- Some members feel that given the 5 years invested in the current name to date, changing the name could result in a loss of brand recognition.
Given the tie vote, we are offering a follow-up survey. This survey is meant to share some new naming options for your consideration, ask again “keep or change” in the context of the alternatives, and get feedback on the alternatives to inform a renaming decision, if we go that way. The survey will be open through Monday, February 5.
And now the call for staff
If you expressed interest through this survey in being part of the 2018 anthology staff and provided your name and email, we’ll be contacting you next week with more information. If you didn’t responding in the survey, but you’re interested in possibly joining the staff, please let us know by Monday, February 5. We’re planning an informational meeting to be held in February.
Open hours at the BWW studio: All writers welcome!
During “open hours” at the studio, Burlington Writers Workshop members are invited to come to the workshop space to free write, write with guided prompts, make coffee or tea, and mingle with other fellow writers. RSVP for an upcoming open hours time below:
Wednesday, January 24, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Hosted by Mindy Wong
Wednesday, January 31, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.: Hosted by Natasha Mieszkowski
Strategic planning update
Congrats & thanks
Congrats to Anne Charles, whose review of Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America, an anthology edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding, appeared in the Jan. 5 issue of the Lambda Literary Review (Vol. 9. Issue 155).
Thank you to Mud Season Review staff members who will be doing this round of manuscript reviews to help raise funds in support of the journal: Lauren Bender, Patrick Brownson, Emily Ferro, Ann Fisher, Erin Post, Rebecca Starks, Candelin Wahl, and Mindy Wong.
Thank you to Mieko A. Ozeki, owner of Radiance Studios, for leading a highly informative workshop on building a writer’s website to a packed house this week. And thank you to Cynthia Close for bringing this workshop idea to the group and hosting the event.
Thank you to Natasha Mieszkowski, Candelin Wahl, and Mindy Wong for hosting open hours sessions in January.
Thank you again to City Market for their “Rally for Change” program that helped raise funds for the BWW this December, and continues to raise funds to support many important nonprofits. And thanks to Peter Biello for signing the BWW up for this program.
A testimonial from Cathy Beaudoin,
past BWW board treasurer and Mud Season Review fiction reader and forever member
In 2014, I began attending the Burlington Writers Workshop in earnest. At the time, I couldn’t possibly understand how the depth of the community would have such a positive impact on my development as a writer. The first workshops I attended were held in the basement of the Half Lounge, and it was nearly impossible to hear anything anyone said. But the beer flowed and the people I met at those sessions kept me coming back for more. In fact, some of those people are still good friends.
As the vision of the organization began to evolve, the group started meeting in a dedicated space on Pine Street. More people got involved, and the breadth of workshops and other writing opportunities expanded. In addition to new and varied workshops, and an annual anthology highlighting selected member writing, a literary journal as well as a robust, and literary-focused, book club were started. The organization moved, and then moved again. Still, with so many motivated artists around me, I finally succumbed to a lifelong desire, and began to write. In the beginning, my writing was mostly nonfiction. I wanted to document my journey as a blind woman. After all, it was my area of expertise. The topic was unique, and the resources to learn how to write a story were at my fingertips. I had no more excuses.
Like most beginning writers, my prose was raw, choppy, unpolished, and difficult to follow. But the creative nonfiction community was patient with me, and provided endless encouragement. With all the feedback, I learned a truly valuable lesson: people were interested in what I was writing. It was just a matter of writing, re-writing, and writing some more. I learned that writing a beautiful sentence did equate to writing a story with a beginning hook, a strong middle section, and a meaningful ending. The value of having a group of people willing to read and give feedback cannot be measured. There is no way I would have ever progressed to writing better nonfiction, and ultimately fiction stories, without the nurturing of the BWW community.
Ultimately, because of workshops offered by BWW leaders, and outside writers like Robin McLean, Jensen Beach, and others, I felt like being a decent writer might be within my grasp. And two stories that I initially presented at BWW workshops have since been accepted for publication, one in the literary journal titled Five on the Fifth, and the other in a yet to be titled anthology of short stories highlighting the successes of blind people. I have three fiction stories that are complete, and am working on a fourth. My fiction story, “Gaining Momentum” has been accepted by Scarlett Leaf Review.
Because the BWW was such a valuable resource for me, I tried to give back to the community, working hard behind the scenes to prepare monthly financial and operating reports. While a life decision led me to move from the Burlington area, I wanted to take the time to express my gratitude to the BWW community. It is an incredible opportunity for writers to get out of their heads, to measure their progress, to be motivated to write every day. While nothing is perfect for everyone, I know the BWW will always have a place in my heart. And because of my deep connections with many of the people there, I will continue to support the organization in any way possible. I hope others are motivated to do the same.
Donate to the BWW by December 31 and see your gift matched!
If you’d like to help make sure this community can keep offering support to beginning writers, established writers, and everyone in between, please consider donating today. Any amount is deeply appreciated. And an anonymous donor has offer to match up to $250 of all new donations received through the end of the year. So help us turn $5 into $10, $25 into $50, or $50 into $100! Donate now >
‘Tis the season when nonprofits remind us that their important work can’t happen without our tax-deductible support…because it’s true! If you’re thinking about end-of-year giving, please remember the good work that depends almost completely on BWW member donations. Whatever you took away this year—a workshop or retreat, the opportunity to work on a publication, the fellowship of a writing community, a place to write—was all made possible by member contributions. As the end of the year approaches, please give what you can to support the health and growth of the Burlington Writers Workshop. Donate today >
That’s a teaser. Actually the survey is still open to gather input for the 2018 BWW anthology (aka The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop) and to recruit people interested in staffing the publication. At the moment, opinion is running 5-to-3 in favor of renaming, and there are some great ideas for names on this list. When the survey closes, January 2, 2018, We’ll announce the results and—if renaming is in the cards—offer a few ideas for final selection. Watch for an organizational meeting date early in the new year. And thanks to those who have already expressed interest in staffing.
If you haven’t done so, please provide your feedback and let us know if you’d like to be part of the team. Take the survey >
Packed house for Stories By the Fire
What could be more fundamentally human than listening to fellow humans tell stories around a fire? Saturday night more than 60 people gathered at the Hotel Vermont for the 3rd annual Stories By the Fire, a very special night hosted by Gin Ferrara and featuring 7 BWW members and community storytellers. Special thanks to the hotel for again providing the warm and welcoming space, and the snacks. If you missed it, thanks to our media sponsor RETN, you’ll be able to watch it online and on Channel 16. Watch for a link coming soon.
Writing retreat—literally—Feb 18
The Retreat Committee has some wonderful ideas in development for 2018, and its first event, February 18 at the BWW space, is something different. For this retreat, writers will neglect everything and lock in to just write, glue themselves to their chairs, eat pretzels, run up and down the stairs, take bathroom breaks…that’s it. This will appeal to writers who are deeply immersed in a particular work and don’t want the distraction of prompts, feedback, or direction from leaders. Also for anyone feeling like they don’t have time to write due to life’s many distractions, as well as writers who just want to get out of the house and not into a bar. If this is exactly what you’ve been needing to fulfill your writing resolutions in the new year, sign up for a seat and get ready to write. RSVP for this BWW winter retreat >
The Rally is On…At City Market: Rally for Change
Throughout December, remember that shopping at City Market and “rounding up” at the check out benefits the BWW. Through their Rally for Change program, 50% of round-up donations go to the Chittenden County Food Shelf, 40% to the Committee on Temporary Shelter, and 10% to the BWW. Visit the downtown store or the new location in the South End. Learn about City Market’s Rally for Change >
Congrats and thanks
Congratulations to Cathy Beaudoin whose nonfiction stories “Opening Up My World” and “Seeing is Believing” were published in Five on the Fifth and Kind Magazine, respectively. Her fiction story “Gaining Momentum” has been accepted by Scarlett Leaf Review.
Thanks to our 8 Stories by the Fire storytellers: Gin Ferrara, Peter Burns, Deena Frankel, Owen Foley, Cardy Raper, Anne Mollo and Bill Torrey.
December is the Burlington Writers Workshop’s month for City Market’s “Rally for Change” program. Throughout the month, 10% of all funds raised from patrons who “round up” at check-out will come to the BWW as a donation. The other 90% goes to programs addressing hunger. So whether City Market is your go-to grocery store, or you want to make a special trip to support the BWW and hunger programs, please consider rounding up at check-out!
Donate to the Burlington Writers Workshop directly
December is traditionally a fundraising month for us here at the Burlington Writers Workshop. If you already donate—monthly online, a once-a-year check, or a few dollars in the donation box at a workshop—thank you on behalf of everyone who benefits from the BWW.
And if you’re so inclined, please consider giving a special donation this month to help fuel our efforts as we head into 2018. Together, we’ll be bringing even more of what members like you say they want most—more craft workshops, more retreats, more open mics, more opportunities for connecting. If we each give what we can, we’ll help to ensure we’ll all get what we need from this beautiful community of ours. Donate today >
The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop
We’re beginning plans for our 6th annual anthology of member work—but we’re doing things a little differently this year. After all, we’ve learned a lot in the 5 years we’ve been publishing this labor of love and we want to use what we’ve learned to make it even better for the anthology’s staff, the writers we publish, and the BWW community overall.
So, first things first, a survey! Some members have suggested we rename the anthology. We’d like to explore that as a community, even as we start plans for the next issue. Please take a few minutes to tell us if you like the name as it is, or if you’d like to change it—and any ideas you might have for a new name. Take the survey now >
Are you interested in staffing the 2018 edition? We need lead editors, copy editors, designers, marketers, and project managers. If you’re interested or want to know more, let us know (take the survey) what roles pique your interest. We plan to hold an in-person learning and information session to answer your questions and start to build a team. If you’d like to be involved, but you don’t have editing experience, don’t worry! One purpose of the anthology is to help members learn new skills, and we’re here to support you. Volunteer for the journal >
3rd Annual Stories by the Fire
Join us this Saturday as Gin Ferrara hosts first-person, true stories by BWW and community storytellers, told without notes in the style of The Moth. Our media partner for this event is RETN. RSVP now >
The Writer’s Website: Presenting and Managing Your Work on the Internet
Thursday, January 18 at the BWW space in Burlington
Looking for help creating your writer’s website? Join Mieko A. Ozeki, owner of Radiance Studios LLC, for a workshop designed to take the anxiety out of the process. Mieko will provide an overview on how to plan, create, curate, and manage content for your website. We’ll review a selection of all-in-one website builder platforms such as SquareSpace, Wix, and WordPress. And you’ll get tips on how to promote traffic to your site and optimize search results that point to your work. RSVP now >
Many of our workshops are now scheduled for January and February. Check out the calendar >
Note: If you’re wondering why you don’t see any Wednesday Workshops, or some Mondays, yet, it’s because we’re working on securing guest authors for craft workshops and series. We expect to have those confirmed soon, and will update the calendar—and announce the details in Opportunities & Announcements—as soon as we have dates.
Minutes from past meetings:
Minutes are now available for the annual meeting and the most recent board meeting.
Next board meeting: December 16, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
The next meeting of the BWW board of directors is scheduled for Saturday, December 16, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Due to hectic holidays schedules, this will be a phone meeting. If you’d like to listen in as an observer on the call, please contact us and we’ll get you the conference line details. Minutes from the meeting will also be posted, as usual, on the site. Contact us >
Flynn Center Blog
Thanks and congrats
Thanks to Erin Post for leading 2 collaborative team meetings for the Mud Season Review staff as we continue working to increase the journal’s long-term sustainability. And thank you to everyone on staff who came out to these meetings to share their ideas and their dedication.
Thanks to Patrick Brownson for yet another successful season in our literature reading series. What started with “Infinite Summer” has now become a beloved, year-long opportunity for members to gather for meaningful and challenging discussion of some of the great works of literature. Up next is our 3-month winter series featuring Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot (aka, Mary Ann Evans). Seats are filling up fast. Grab yours today >
Thanks to Wendy Andersen, Kristabeth Atwood, Melinda Bachand, Rosa Castellano, Terry Cleveland, Seth Melvin Cronin, Eva Gumprecht, Natasha Mieskowski, and Mindy Wong for leading recent workshops.
Thanks to Barbie Alsop and Dennis Bouldin for their work in getting winter workshops and submissions scheduled.
Thanks to Eva Gumprecht for testing out the instructions for maintaining member submissions on our site as we begin the process of spreading this responsibility around.
Thanks to the retreat committee (Wendy Andersen, Linda Ayer, Rose Eggert, Eva Gumprecht, Jen Hallie, Riki Moss, Candelin Wahl) for their work on a proposal for more retreats throughout the year—and their continued work to make them happen.
Thanks to Margaret Grant and Cynthia Close for keeping the board apprised of ongoing grant opportunities for the BWW and Mud Season Review.
Thanks to Lauren Bender and Rebecca Starks for their work in capturing minutes for the annual meeting and most recent board meeting.
Thanks to Rose Eggert and Terry Cleveland for another successful month of tracking the funding that makes all this possible!
Here’s a phrase you may have heard if you listen to public radio pledge drives: “It’s freely available, but it’s not free.”
Meaning: you listen to all the programming you want without paying a cent, but it does cost someone something. The folks who make the programming must be paid.
That’s kind of how the Burlington Writers Workshop operates, except we have no paid staff. You can use the workshop space whenever it’s open. You can attend as many workshops as you want (so long as there’s room at the table). You have an equal chance of attending our writing retreats (which are based on a random lottery, not on income). You can take advantage of our publishing opportunities through Mud Season Review and The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop series. You can even come to an event and eat all the food you want and we do not charge a dime.
But someone pays for all this. Chances are, next time you’re at a workshop at our Burlington space, someone sitting near you chipped in a few bucks to help pay the rent.
So I’m asking you now (as we do every May and December) to give a few bucks to the BWW.
Give because you once went to a workshop and had a good time and learned something. Give because the comments you received helped you revise a poem or an essay. Give because you made a friend at the workshop who changed your life.
Give because it’s freely available, but it isn’t truly free, and because you are the type of person who steps up and takes action. We can’t run this organization without you and your financial contributions.
Give now. $50 or $100 or whatever amount works for you. We’re trying to raise $5,000 before the end of May. With your help, we can!
I have to be honest. I’ve never been much of a joiner. As I writer, my idea of a good day is writing a good sentence, followed by reading a good book, but the Burlington Writers Workshop has been a wonderful way to meet other writers who are as passionate about their work as I am. I’ve learned as much from reading and commenting on the works of others as I have from getting feedback.
But one of the most compelling ways I enrich my writerly life is BWW’s Literature Reading Series on Tuesday nights. Our most recent selection was Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. As you probably know, Faulkner can be quite challenging, but reading and discussing a chapter or two each week with a brilliant, thought provoking and very welcoming group of literature lovers has stimulated my writing more than anything else I know.
In the words of William Faulkner, in order to write you must,
“Read, read, read! Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
The BWW Literature Reading Series is one of the great pleasures of BWW membership for me. I am a sustaining member.
If you’d like to help keep programs like the BWW Literature Reading Series going, please consider becoming a sustaining member (at $12/month) or making a one-time donation of any amount today.
Wow. I’m still glowing from the warmth of Saturday’s “Stories by the Fire” event at Hotel Vermont.
The warmth of listening to some of Vermont’s best storytellers share their experiences of everything from childhood adventures (and misadventures) in snowmobile-enhanced sledding and late-night tobogganing to harrowing holiday experiences on the streets of New York City to the rallying of a middle school band against the bully in their midst. The warmth of being so fully supported by the generous audience while attempting my own first shot at oral storytelling. And the warmth of following it all up with dinner and great conversation with BWW friends both old and new.
As our wonderful host for the evening, Gin Ferrara, said in her closing remarks, this kind of gathering and sharing of stories is exactly what we all need to keep us going through the dark days ahead. So I hope you’ll all keep on joining us this winter for workshops and craft sessions, keep on gathering with friends you’ve made through the BWW, and keep on writing and sharing your stories.
And, since we’re in the midst of our December fundraiser, I’d be remiss not to add that I hope you’ll also consider making a donation to help us keep on bringing free and open events like this one to the Vermont creative community. Any amount is deeply appreciated. Donate now >
The BWW owes a huge thank you to several people and organizations for this incredible evening. First is Deena Frankel, who produced the event. From designing the Best Of books to leading the BWW’s oral storytelling workshops to editing for Mud Season Review, Deena is one of our most dedicated volunteers. She is also a fantastic storyteller and (as I can now personally attest to) an inspiring and generous storytelling coach. If you haven’t had the good fortune of working with Deena before, I highly encourage you to sign up for her next BWW Oral Storytelling Workshop on Thursday, January 19th in Burlington. Turning your written tales into oral stories can bring out a whole new side of your creativity. RSVP now >
Please see our thank you section below for recognition of all who made this event possible.
Our January schedule is up on Meetup.com. We have some great opportunities coming up, including a new member workshop, a poetry craft series, and a workshop on how to give better feedback. Check out the January calendar >
Call for art submissions
This year marks the BWW’s 5th anniversary of our The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop anthology—a book that is edited by, and features the work of, writers within our community. For this anniversary year, we’re hoping to get local artists involved in the design of the book cover. All Vermont artists are welcome to submit work for consideration. Call for submissions is open through Monday, January 9, 2017. See the submission guidelines >
Thanks for helping to choose our book for the Winter 2017 Literature Reading Series! We had our biggest response to date to a literature series poll. And you chose Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita to be our winter reading material.
This next reading series kicks off the first Tuesday in January. RSVP now >
Website changes: You might have noticed changes to our website this week. We’re just doing some restructuring to keep the website as clean and easy-to-use as possible. If you’re looking for the workshop schedule pages to submit your work for review at an upcoming workshop, go to “Our Workshops” and click on the page for your preferred location.
Flynn Center Blog
Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Check out these recent posts:
Mud Season Review interviews
Mud Season Review editors discuss writing with our Issue #25 featured authors:
Congrats and thanks
Thank you to everyone who made the recent “Stories by the Fire” event at Hotel Vermont possible:
Gin Ferrara for being the perfect host for the evening and for first bringing oral storytelling to the BWW with her workshops.
Deena Frankel for producing this joyful and inspiring event and for continuing the oral storytelling workshops for the BWW.
My fellow storytellers who shared their humor and their wisdom with us: Gin Ferrara, Richard Finkelstein, Peter Burns, Susanne Schmidt, Bill Torrey, Dennis McSorley, Deena Frankel, and Kevin Gallagher.
Hotel Vermont (and especially Tori Carton and John Abair), our longtime creative partners, for providing such a beautiful, cozy atmosphere for the event.
RETN, our media partner, for filming the event (stay tuned for when we’ll be featured on the station).
Susanne Schmidt for providing the excellent sound quality.
Three years ago, I decided I needed a forum to look at my questionable attempts at writing. Did I have the talent? Did I have something to say? Did anyone want to read what I had to say? I joined the BWW and sweated my first meeting at which the group reviewed my work.
I came away with a heart swelling with possibility. I received kudos for the courage to write what I had submitted. I received great feedback from the kind and supportive group. And I received what I needed most: the boost to continue.
That is why I give to the Burlington Writers Workshop: for the boost. Sometimes I will go two or three weeks without the muse at my back. Then I go to a meeting after I’ve read the phenomenal writing submitted and we discuss it in a fun, safe, and intelligent bubble of encouragement. I more often than not will go back to my desk after one of those meetings and greet the muse once again.
I give for the education, the camaraderie, the like-minded people, and the chance to make my writing better. I urge you to do the same. The results are priceless.
This is a very busy time for the Burlington Writers Workshop! Here are the top 5 opportunities you don’t want to miss over the next few weeks:
Top 5 Opportunities with the BWW
#1 Take the BWW survey
Deadline: October 28, 2016
#2 Submit your work for publication
Deadline: October 31, 2016
We’re looking for your fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The only criteria for eligibility is to have attended 1 BWW workshop within the past 5 years. Submit your work >
#3 Come to the BWW’s First Annual Member Meeting & Celebration
Learn about all we’ve done this past year to meet member goals—and how you can get involved. Celebrate our dedicated volunteers. And, join us for our first BWW open mic night to share your talents with your fellow members. RSVP now >
#4 Support the BWW and win a basket of books
Tickets on sale through Saturday, November 12 event
More than 20 accomplished authors who’ve either been a featured author in Mud Season Review, led a BWW guest workshop or retreat, or joined us for an expert panel or reading, have already donated copies of their latest books. And many of the copies are signed! Meet our authors >
Raffle tickets are $5 each.
And special offer: The first 2 people to sign up to be a BWW sustaining member (an automatic donation of $12 or more per month) this week will get 5 additional raffle tickets!
The drawing will take place at the Annual Member Meeting & Celebration. But don’t worry. If you can’t join us, we’ll contact you if you win.
To buy tickets, ask your workshop leader or make a donation and write your contact info + “raffle tickets” in the comments field. All proceeds go toward BWW programs & publications!
#5 Support the BWW in our online auction
Bidding open through Saturday, November 12 event
Support the BWW—and local businesses—while buying some amazing gifts for yourself and others. Like a Friend Level membership to the Vermont International Film Foundation or a 10-class card to Evolution Yoga!
Winning bidders can pay online through the auction site or by cash, check, or credit card at the Annual Member Meeting & Celebration on November 12. All proceeds go toward BWW programs & publications. Check out the auction >
Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Check out these recent posts:
Congrats to Anne Charles, whose review of the 2016 memoir A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain by Christina Crosby was recently published by the Lambda Literary Review (Vol. 7, Issue 94, Friday, Oct. 20, 2016). Read the review >
Congrats to Sam Hughes, whose poem “Representation” was recently published in Rattle. Read the poem >
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 book tour event in Middlebury. Thanks, especially, to Elizabeth Gaucher for coordinating and hosting, David Weinstock and Ann Fisher for co-hosting and reading, and to all of our readers: Zoe Armstrong, Melinda Bachand, Dennis Bouldin, Cynthia Close.
Thank you to Cathy Beaudoin for hosting our first workshop leaders potluck. And thank you to all the dedicated workshop leaders who made it out for our meeting!
Support the BWW in our online auction and member survey
Our first online auction is now live! Thanks to our generous donors in the community, you can support the BWW while buying some amazing gifts for yourself and others. Like a 10-class card (valued at $140) to Evolution Yoga! The auction will be online all month—culminating in a live auction at our Annual Member Meeting & Celebration on Saturday, November 12, 4:00 p.m. at Main Street Landing Gallery in downtown Burlington.
Participating in the online auction is easy. Just complete the quick sign up on the site, browse the items, and place your bids. At the conclusion of the auction, the highest bidders will be able to pay online (via PayPal) or in person by cash, check, or credit card. Bidders don’t have to be BWW members—so please share widely with friends and family!
Your support of the auction will help to fund BWW workshops, retreats, events, and publications for next year. So it’s also important to share your thoughts and ideas for what you’d like to see the BWW do in the future. We’re leaving the 2017 member survey open longer to make sure you have time to share your thoughts. It takes just about 5 minutes. Take the survey now >
Don’t forget to send in your submissions for The Best of 2017! We’re looking for your best work in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we’d love to hear from voices both known and new to us. If you’ve attended a BWW workshop within the past 5 years, you’re eligible! Deadline for submissions is October 31, 2016. Submit your work >
Call for winter- or holiday-themed oral story pitches for Stories by the Fire at Hotel Vermont: Open through November 15, 2016
For the second year, the BWW will present Stories By the Fire around the hearth at Hotel Vermont, December 10, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. This oral storytelling event features 6 to 8 first-person, true stories—each about 8 minutes long—told without notes in the style of The Moth.
Producer and BWW oral stories workshop leader, Deena Frankel, is soliciting pitches now for this event. If you have a story idea and are open to a little informal workshopping in advance of the event, please submit a 1-paragraph summary of your story idea by November 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the idea of telling without notes puts you off, we are considering accepting 1 story that is read by the author as an experiment in mixing the 2 styles. So if you have the perfect story under 800 words, please consider submitting your story by the deadline.
Readings & Events
BWW’s First Annual Member Meeting & Celebration
Saturday, November 12 at Main Street Landing in Burlington
Member Forum │ Fundraising Auction │ Open Mic Night
This event is your opportunity to hear firsthand about all the BWW has accomplished this past year to meet member goals—and to help shape the future of our shared community. It’s also a time to connect with other members you may not see regularly in workshops or on the Mud Season Review staff, help to recognize and celebrate our many dedicated volunteers, share your talents with the BWW community, and support the funding that makes everything we do possible (while picking up some great holiday gift-giving items through our auction & book raffle).
If you’re looking for ways to get more involved in the BWW—or if you’re already a dedicated member and want to continue helping to shape our direction—this is the time. RSVP to save your spot now >
Hosted by our Best of 2016 fiction editor, Elizabeth Gaucher, and BWW Middlebury members Ann Fisher and David Weinstock, this event will feature readings from some of the anthology’s talented writers: Zoe Armstrong, Dennis Bouldin, and Cynthia Close. Writers from the Middlebury Chapter will also read. RSVP now >
BWW retreat leader Tony Whedon will celebrate the release of his latest book, The Hatcheck Girl, with poems, jazz, and good conversation at the Bryan Art Gallery in Jeffersonville. Learn more >
Mud Season Review Interviews
Check out the insightful interviews of MSR featured authors:
BWW members regularly write for the Flynn Center’s blog. Check out these recent posts:
Congrats and thanks
Thank you to our recent guest authors, David Huddle, Elizabeth Powell, and Sean Prentiss.
Thanks to our board, and especially Cynthia Close, for helping to solicit donations for our auction.
The May fundraising numbers are in. And they are impressive. Together, we raised a total of $7,802 in May—combining our regular sustaining member donations and one-time donations coming in as part of the May fundraiser (including Mud Season Review manuscript reviews). This is exciting, as it will allow us to continue supporting the many high-quality, accessible literary workshops, programs, events, and publications that enrich all our lives—and the larger Vermont creative community.
In fact, as we speak, your board is working hard on a workshop leader training program that will help our workshop leaders continue to grow in their roles and provide practical tools they can use to keep enhancing the workshop experience for all members. And that’s just one among many efforts to keep the BWW moving forward.
Retreat season is upon us once again! In both the 2014 and 2015 BWW member surveys, writing retreats topped the list of member priorities. Last year’s retreat series was a great success and we’re excited to bring you the series again this year.
Our retreat committee has created 4 retreats to be held monthly, July – October. To make sure there’s something for everyone, we’re offering a mix of locations, topics, and retreat types—with 3 guided retreats in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry led by accomplished instructors as well as a free-form retreat with lots of time for focusing on your own writing projects in a quiet, inspiring atmosphere. As with all of our programming, these retreats are free. Participation will be decided through a lottery system.
First up in the series is a Guided Fiction Retreat with Megan Mayhew Bergman, Saturday, July 23 in Georgia, VT. The lottery for this retreat will be open now through June 15.
We’re wrapping up our May Fundraiser and it’s looking like we’re going to hit our goal! As of right now, we’re just $10 away from our $6,000 goal for the month. Thank you. And if you’d like to be the one to get us to the goal, consider donating $10 or more today. We’ll share the final fundraising numbers next week. It is so inspiring to know that we have the funds to keep programs like the retreat series going!
Mud Season Review Issue #20 is live this week! I encourage you to check out the environmental artwork of Sally Linder and delve into the writing of Tyler Barton (fiction), Lauren Spinabelli (nonfiction), and Peter Vanderberg (poetry). Read the issue >
If you couldn’t make it to MSR‘s launch party for print issue vol. 2, or you just want to hear the fantastic readings from Robin McLean, Alison Prine, Ralph Culver, and Sean Prentiss again, you can also check out our podcast of the evening. The print issue can be purchased online or in our Burlington space.
We’ve raised $4,450 of our $6,000 goal! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. If you haven’t made your donation yet during our May Fundraiser, I hope you’ll consider giving what you can to help us keep Mud Season Review and all the other great things we’re doing here going for another year. For sustaining donors ($12/month or a one-time, $150 donation), we’ll thank you with a pair of BWW pint glasses.
Contest and awards
Southern Poetry Review‘s Guy Owen Award offers $1,000 and publication for an unpublished poem. Deadline (postmark) is May 31, 2016. Read the full submission guidelines >
BOA Editions offers $1,000 and publication for a short story collection (90 – 200 pages). Deadline is May 31, 2016. Read the full submission guidelines >
Our first Saturday Prose Workshop is coming up on June 4. Join us at the Burlington space at 10:30 a.m. RSVP now >
Join us for the first of our summer Monday Night Poetry Workshops on June 6, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington. It’s all poetry, all summer on Monday nights. RSVP now >
Do you have interest in a potential children’s writing workshop? We have a member who is eager to see who else might enjoy discussing and workshopping children’s literature. If you’re interested, please contact us so we can gauge interest in a potential workshop.
Flynn Center blog
BWW members regularly blog for the Flynn.
Cynthia Close recently wrote this review of Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq’s May 14 performance at FlynnSpace.
Congrats and thanks
Congratulations to Deena Frankel and Bill Torrey for their excellent showing in The Vermont Moth GrandSLAM II: When Worlds Collide at the Flynn.
Thank you to Eva Gumprecht for her work in securing a great new home for our Montpelier workshops.
Stop into our Burlington space (110 Main Street, Studio 3C) during the following times this week to get some quiet writing or reading time in, or to find out more about the BWW:
Monday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Thursday: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Coordinating a BWW workshop is sort of like herding cats. And it just so happens that I love cats. But I didn’t set out to be a cat herder. About 2 years ago, I innocently asked Peter [Biello, founder of the BWW] if the BWW had ever thought of holding workshops in Montpelier so that those of us from the hinterlands wouldn’t have to repeatedly risk our lives in the Bolton Flats. He responded, “We’ve thought about it, but didn’t have anyone willing to coordinate them.” The rest is history.
The thing I’ve appreciated most about the BWW has not been what I’ve gotten from it, but what I’ve been allowed to give. How many places do you know of, in this increasingly disconnected and regulated world of ours, where one is allowed to give what one has to offer? And to have what one gives treated as precious.
At its best BWW is not an “organization”—it is a living, breathing communal organism. Most organizations, including most writing programs, are basically service stations. You pay your money, you get services or goods in return, and you leave. At the BWW, there really and truly isn’t anyone here but us chickens (mixed metaphor between cats and chickens, but you get the point). There is the potential for something much more vibrant and rare than an “organization.” There is the rare chance here for a vast interdependent web that we will continue to weave together.
We think so much about what we want to get, to have, from life. But really, in terms of what makes life worth living, what creates health and a sense of purpose, it’s what we get to give that counts. And to have our talents, our attempts, our energies, our generous and compassionate impulses, even our failures, received with appreciation and care.
I thought, when I attended my first workshops, that I would learn from having my work critiqued. But over these years I have learned far, far more from offering feedback to others. I’ve been blown away by the incredible variety of minds and the courage it takes to expose one’s private world and work to others. There are pieces to which I would never have given a second look if I saw them elsewhere….genres I thought I didn’t like, subject matter which I thought bored me. But the commitment we make to each other, when we sign up to attend a workshop, is to treat each piece the way we hope ours would be received.
It is an honor to be handed someone’s work. And so I expand my world. I learn to practice patience, to find the gems in the sometimes very roughly hewn rock, to enter into someone else’s mind and heart and ask myself how I can help them to get where they want to go. People achieve things I would never have even attempted. It is an exercise in exchanging minds and souls.
It is this exchange that I support when I give to the BWW. I hope you will too.
—Eva Gumprecht, BWW Montpelier workshop coordinator