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A Circle Of Women
How the Circle of Writers started: My mother
My father once told me that I taught myself to read at age four. He said he came home one day to find me reading the comics. Humoring me he sat me on his lap and asked me to read to him…I did, and he was astonished.
I don’t recall that memory, although I do recall an early love for books, reading and words, which was no doubt my mother’s influence. She was an avid reader and her love for books spread to her children. Her emphasis on the importance of knowing how to read began before we could talk. Our nighttime ritual included a bedtime story and all six of her children would crowd against her in hopes to see the pictures.
When my oldest brother started school she volunteered at the elementary library. She also wrote. After my father died in 2008, I inherited my mother’s cedar chest and discovered yellowed newspaper articles she had written about community activities.
My Writing Experience
My interest in writing started at age 6. I began writing poems and short stories. I give these to family members as gifts. I won a class writing contest in sixth grade and loved my English class in high school…every assignment became an opportunity for expression. That was also my flower child period, in which I played my guitar singing the songs of love and protest I had written.
But, other than journal entries, I eventually stopped writing. I lost inspiration and confidence. I did not believe I had any creative talent. For three decades I hung onto the belief that I ‘could not write’…until my mother’s death. In my grief my writing intensified; I would dream of her and the spiritual work that I was involved with in California, and stay up into the wee hours of the morning journaling.
In February of 2005 I discovered a women’s writing group that was holding a weekend workshop in Santa Cruz-about four hours drive south from where I lived. The workshop was hosted by IWWG, (www.IWWG.org), the International Women’s Writing Guild. By choosing to attend the workshop I validated my own right, worth, and gift of writing. It was a turning point in my life.
Not one to feel comfortable in large groups of women, I was hesitant and nervous. But, my desire to learn the craft of writing, and the opportunity to have my work critiqued, overrode any reluctance to attend. What I walked into was amazing and nothing less than a womb of transformation.
A warm welcome is never forgotten
On the night of arrival I entered the conference room to find the chairs set up in a circle. “Oh, oh,” I thought anxiously, “Group.”
My experiences with groups of women have not always been positive. In the past, I had some painful, negative situations in which there was much criticism and judgment. It left me wary whenever I was faced with similar situations. I tentatively sat down on one of the chairs aware of the tension in my body.
What unfolded was therapeutic and nurturing. A celebration of being welcomed home. I was bathed in the warmth, hospitality and genuine interest of stranger after stranger who wanted to know who I was and what my writing was all about. And, I had my first introduction to the founder of the guild, Hannalore Hahn, an amazing woman with a fascinating life story, and a sincere love for empowering women through the written word.
By the time I went to bed, I realized I had been initiated into a ‘circle of women’ like no other. Every woman in the group had a voice. Every woman’s work was just as important as the others. Everyone was in process in exactly the place that they were at, and it was perfectly fine. It was a circle of acceptance and validation.
When I left California later that summer, I thought briefly that my ‘voice’ and creative outlet would be stilled once more, thinking that my supportive group was left behind. However, I discovered that my heart had opened to my own worth and my soul was a rich source of creativity that has an endless flow.
My continued desire to hone my craft led me to Hubpages, and in a decisively synchronistic way. Encouraged by a friend to submit my stories to an online site I thought he told me ‘Hubpages’. I later contacted him with the news that my hub: Soul Work: Joywon a Hubnugget Award. I wanted to thank him for encouraging me to investigate the site, but he was confused and claimed he had never heard of the Hubpages website. He denied having steered me in this direction and confessed it was a different website he had mentioned. I am grateful for that turn of events because I have received nothing but positive support from everyone here.
Picture of A Family of Writers
My Family of Writers: Sister and Daughter
To my delight, I have had two family members join Hubpages since my initial start in May 2010. My sister, Hubber Danette Watt, is a freelance writer who writes for the local newspaper in her home town. Danette has been a professional writer long before I ever dreamed of actually writing for a living, and who consistently encouraged me to submit my work. Besides being supportive, she has offered her sharp eye as an editor, on occasion. Danette's profile page will explain her education background and, as a seasoned writer, you will find her writing style is informative and filled with interesting, useful facts.
When my daughter, Cara joined she never whispered a word of it to me. I was pleasantly surprised one day to discover her work after returning from my Christmas visit with her. Cara is an elementary school teacher with two young children whose photos you’ve probably caught in my family hubs. Her writing is filled with valuable information from the perspective of a young mother and experienced teacher. She has some great ideas, not only for her hubs, but for future books. You can check Cara’s work out under the Hubber name: cardelean.
My youngest daughter, Christa, is not currently a Hubpages member. She is a busy mom and home health nurse who has verbalized submitting informative articles to nursing journals. While I gave her all of the support and encouragement a mother offers her child, I also suggested she join the Hubpages community. She too, has a lot to say about a variety of subjects. She declined for the time being, but we’re working on her…
The Author Wins Honorable Mention from Writers Digest
A new writer: My Granddaughter, Olivia wins an award
In the meantime, my granddaughter Olivia, Christa’s oldest child, is a writer coming into her own at age 10. A very creative artist, both in drawing and writing, she has been scoring high in her writing class and was asked to read one of her stories to the entire school, in acknowledgement of her work.
Christa sent me a couple of Olivia’s stories, and I was so impressed with them that I submitted one to the Writer’s Digest 79th Annual Writing Contest June, 2011. Later, I happened to be visiting her during Halloween weekend when Olivia received word that her story had been selected for Honorable Mention in her category. I was thrilled for her and insisted I take her picture holding her certificate.
Olivia has a wonderful story in process about her favorite subject: wolves. In the meantime, Grandma Dee is envious of the little bugger. Olivia doesn’t yet understand or appreciate the raw talent she has or her dynamite potential. And if that weren’t enough to turn me green, my poetry submissions did not win one thing!
I’m so proud of all of the writers in our family and enjoy supporting them in their talent. I believe part of what makes it so enjoyable is the common thread we all share.
My Aunt: a published author, source of inspiration and support
A Final Note: Loretta Giacoletto, married to my maternal uncle, is a published writer and author of short stories and mainstream and women’s novels. Information about her two novels, Lethal Play and Family Deceptions can be found through her blog at www.lorettagiacoletto.com and are available through www.smashwords.com and www.amazon.com Along with my own family members, she has been a source of support and inspiration for me.
Hubs by Danette Watt and Cardelean
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