Tag Archives: Education

A Writing Community that Works for YOU

19 Jan

Do you need to belong to a writing community? Yes, you do! There are various groups you can join, some free/some paid. Each has its own focus, everything from support and information to education and advocacy.

This week I had the opportunity to learn about an organization that I want to share with you. The Authors Guild is an advocacy group which works FOR you. “The Authors Guild exists to support working writers and their ability to earn a living from authorship. We work to protect free speech, honor copyright, and ensure fair compensation practices in the changing publishing landscape.” This very important mission includes offering legal advice, resources, discounts, and providing seminars and workshops to members.

Free Swag included a new journal!

Yesterday, the AG offered a free workshop in Cincinnati (Thanks to our library for hosting.) and I attended with one of my critique partners. AG partnered with Penguin Random House to present a full day of seminars, lunch, and fellowship. Topics included Path to Publication, An Editor’s Perspective, Your Legal Rights: Making contracts Work for You, Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters, and more. I went home with so much information, I’ll be processing for weeks!

Whether you write kid lit, short stories, poems, novels, magazine exposés, newspaper articles, how-to manuals, scientific research, editorials, blog posts, screenplays, movie scripts, tour guides, cookbooks, or anything more than your grocery list, I highly recommend that you join the Authors Guild too.

Lord of Books

24 Apr

Can you imagine not having access to a library? José Alberto Gutierrez of Columbia can. So he’s doing something about it.

José is know as the Lord of Books in his poor Colombian neighborhood of Bogotá.

He started picking books out of the garbage 20 years ago. On his rounds as a trash collector in the wealthy neighborhoods of Bogotá, José noticed books in good condition being discarded on a daily basis. His first rescue was a copy of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. He began bringing home 50 to 60 books a day. Now his home houses upwards of thirty thousand books reaching up to the ceiling!

José learned to read on his mother’s lap. She could only afford to allow him to go to school up to the second grade. The rest of José education came from her. His mother, and later his father, read to him every night, instilling a love for stories in a largely illiterate environment.

Columbia’s capital of over 13 million citizens, has only 19 libraries. Most of them are in the wealthier neighborhoods, leaving the poor neighborhoods without service and the people who need it most, without.

15 years ago, José opened his home library to his friends and neighbors. He calls his library The Strength of Words. His community library is now open every weekend to the citizens of southern Bogota. His neighbors come with bags to collect books to take home with them. Each bag, each book, each word, is strength for a population of people hungry for stories, news, education. As he is fond of saying, “reading is a tool for life”.

Now, José and his brother-in-law drive around town with boxes of books to distribute to the people of Bogotá who cannot come to him. This modern day bookmobile provides access to literature for hundreds of people per trip.

There are many videos on YouTube about José Gutierrez. Here is one of the most recent ones.

 

904b3364f397a7670b02538fe5c794ccv1_max_755x566_b3535db83dc50e27c1bb1392364c95a2“Books are one of humanity’s greatest inventions.” -José Alberto Gutierrez

New Beginnings

25 Sep

Rod Stewart said it, “It’s late September and I really should be back in school.”

It is late September, but I retired last year, so I guess I really shouldn’t be back in school.  So what’s keeping me busy?  Writing!   I’ve got the passion and I’ve got the time, seems like the perfect combination.  But have I got the talent?  That is yet to be proven.

This summer I joined three writing groups here in Cincinnati.  I wrote furiously, shared with critique groups, edited, revised, sent a few manuscripts out into the cold, cruel world, and  gotten some very polite rejection letters.

That’s ok… I’ve also gotten some very good advice and encouragement.

One piece of advice was to start a blog…. check.

So, I’m thinking I should blog about writing, right?  My idea is to make my blog a mini-forum about what I am reading and writing.  I need to research children’s books that are currently being published anyway, so I might as well blog about them as well.  The research should help me get a better handle on the publishing trends, but it might also help you find some really great books that you might want to read for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, or your students.  The other half of my devious plan, is to build up some hype on my own writing as well (evil grin).  I could give you a quick synopsis of what I’m working on, get some feedback from you, and become rich and famous!   I mean enrich the lives of children, right?

Are you with me?

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