PRESIDENT'S AUGUST UPDATES
I hope this finds you writing, enjoying yourselves and the services SCWA offers. There never seems to be a slow time for the SCWA board, but we put the less active times to good use as opportunities to improve member services.
While we continue to examine our top priorities of the future of our publications, 2022 program design and membership growth, the board also has spent considerable time on less exciting activities, such as examining our communications, reviewing our liability insurance and updating our coronavirus policy. Copies of board minutes, which reflect these, are available by contacting Laura Corbin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re proud to celebrate some additional member news:
Barbara Evers received the Best Fantasy Novel Award for her first novel, The Watchers of Moniah, from the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.
Bob Strother's short story, Unmoored, will appear in the spring issue of moonShine review.
Kasie Whitener racked up more recognition for her novel Before Pittsburgh, which received an honorable mention at the New York Book Festival. Whitener also was awarded the Broad River Prize for Prose by the Jasper Project in conjunction with Richland County, One Columbia for Arts and Culture (an SCWA partner) and Richland County Library Friends and Family. Her short fiction work, The Shower, will be published in the Jasper Project's journal Fall Lines - a literary convergence. Other SCWA members selected for publication in the journal are Danielle Verwers, Austin Hehir, Ann-Chadwell Humphries and Arthur McMaster.
Congratulations to all. We’re delighted for you!
SCWA Board of Directors
Come Write With Us!
We continue our guest compositions in The Quill to showcase the creative writing and musings from members, board members and invited guests. Our August contribution is by board member Vivian Bikulege, well known across the association for hosting many activities, including Open Mic Nights with SCWA and partner organizations. Vivian introduces us to another famous writer in this wonderful piece. Send your own submission for consideration to Laura Corbin at email@example.com.
GUEST COLUMN BY VIVIAN BIKULEGE
Once in a while, I drift. It’s kind of like floating in the ocean, held up by the saltwater when there is no wind or riptide, just the gentle push and pull of waves cresting toward and receding from the shoreline. In those moments, or days, or weeks, I don’t feel like doing anything — housework, exercise, or writing.
One evening in July, while I was cushioned in this stale space of lethargy, I went back to a documentary I’d started on Netflix. Titled The Center Will Not Hold, it is a film directed by Griffin Dunne. His subject matter is his aunt, literary icon Joan Didion.
Somewhere between the black and white photos of Didion, her husband-writer John Gregory Dunne, and their adopted daughter, Quintana, I fell into Didion’s spell as she confessed to self-doubts and pleasures of a writing life. Was writing a relevant act? How does one come to terms with the disorder of life and create order in the form of an essay, novel or screenplay? To my knowledge, she did not rub her pen against the sandpaper of poetry.
What impressed me so very much was the transparency and brutal effects of age and loss on Didion. Her resilience, stamina and wisdom shine through each piece of the film, and I found myself roused by select Joan Didion mantras. I’ll paraphrase a few.
- Your story unfolds as you write it.
- Novels are about things you’re afraid you can’t deal with.
- Listen to the edge of what people say.
- Write to understand what you think and how you feel.
- Remember what it is to be you. That is always the point.
Didion is best known for her work in non-fiction, my genre of first choice. I will never be a Joan Didion. I started writing later in my life. I don’t share her writing style, but because I love it, I suspect her influence will peek between the periods and line breaks of my own developing voice. I admire her life lessons and her ability to process pain, wonder and confusion onto the page.
If you are looking for inspiration, if you are caught between the dog days of summer and the next act of autumn, if you are floating and wondering what or how to write the next single word or sentence, but can’t, or won’t, or are wondering how, maybe listening to another writer will help. It’s why we belong to and write with one another in South Carolina and beyond. We find value in sharing and learning. We discover impetus and new pathways with words.
I recommend taking time to watch The Center Will Not Hold when and if you are interested. Drifting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you bump into a buoy of inspiration along the way.