Encouragement and Inspiration
We meet one Saturday a month at 1:00 pm. Come early for networking and conversation.
Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Telling Your Story is a workshop that focuses on writing from personal experience in prose and poetry. Sandra will weave readings from her poetry collection, “The Temporary Vase of Hands,” with a discussion of the stories and experiences that inspired them. Chris will offer creative tools he employs in writing memoir and read an excerpt from one of his books, "Tremulous Prism: Our Journey in Dementia." Sandra will lead the group in a writing exercise based on our own stories.
Sandra Fees is a Unitarian Universalist minister who resides in Reading, Pennsylvania. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University and a master’s degree from Syracuse University, where she studied creative writing. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary, and is enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program. Formerly a poetry editor of the Harrisburg Review, she has had poems published in numerous journals. She has been named Berks County Poet Laureate for 2016-18. Her first poetry collection, The Temporary Vase of Hands, is being published by Finishing Line Press in 2017.
Christopher Keith, a former karate instructor and composition teacher, has published Introduction to Asian Long Staff Fighting, a martial arts DVD and workbook; Headhunter: The Blues Odyssey of J.D. Nicholson, the oral history of an influential West Coast blues piano player; Tremulous Prism: Our Journey in Dementia, a memoir of care-giving; and Posh Corps: Peace Corps Philippines, a memoir. He is now at work on Tennessee Alley, a collection of fiction. Previously, he studied creative writing with Raymond Carver at Syracuse University in the 1980s and earned an M.A. from the Writing Program.
Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Coming up with a subject for a weekly religion column can be a creative challenge. My subjects have ranged from book reviews to reviews about spiritual songs to musings on random religious topics.
I am a graduate of West Chester State University with a bachelor's degree in literature. Former jobs include copy editor at a greeting card company (the former Norcross-Rustcraft), reporter at the Evening Phoenix in Phoenixville and freelance writer for Advance for Occupational Therapists and Advance for Respiratory Therapists. I also worked for two years as an assistant to a woman who owned an Allentown public relations firm. I have been in my current position as a copy editor and religion editor at the Reading Eagle for 16 years. In 2015, I added duties as a religion columnist.
Saturday, July 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm
David Nazario will talk about the inspiration behind "Why Love Is More Important Than Religion: How To Use Love To Create Success In Your Life," and the steps that he is taking to self-publish as a first time author. Part self-help, part workbook, and part memoir, "Why Love Is More Important Than Religion: How To Use Love To Create Success In Your Life" is an interactive reading experience that will allow readers to gain insight on ways to walk in love in order to realize their dreams and live a more fulfilling life.
Founder of Scared Of A Day Job LLC, David Nazario is a writer, workshop facilitator and motivational speaker. David uses his self-empowerment and leadership workshops to encourage people to follow their dreams and pursue their passions. David currently works full-time as a professional writer, speaker, educator and entrepreneur, finishing his first book, "Why Love Is More Important Than Religion: How to Use Love To Create Success In Your Life." David earned his B.A. in Literature with a minor in Journalism from West Chester University
Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Carl will discuss his two books, Ewan Colin Coupar and a Touch of the Fae, a Scottish fantasy and Now's the Day and Now's the Hour about Scotland's influences at the Alamo.
Over the last 20 plus years Carl Peterson has undeniably become the most successful and busiest Scottish singer in North America, performing at numerous festivals and concerts, and creating nearly 30 recordings.Carl was born and raised in Greenock, Scotland,then moved to Canada in the 1960’s where he started playing the guitar. Eventually Carl turned his attention south to America where he arrived in the early 1980’s. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 Carl's CD Songs of the South with Bagpipes and Banjos won the Vintage Album of the Year award from The Southern Heritage Music Association. It was with the release of his highly acclaimed double CD, Scotland Remembers The Alamo and the follow up release of the companion book Now's The Day And Now's Hour that Carl has taken an interest in writing.
Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Carl Gustav Jung played a key role in the emergence of psychoanalysis. After many years of collaboration with Sigmund Freud, he set out on his own path to develop Analytical Psychology, a theoretical and clinical approach which places emphasis on spirituality, creative expression, and the relationship with the unconscious. Many of Jung’s ideas have passed into popular culture and the academic world and are used as devices for interpreting artistic works in various media. In this workshop Emily Peña Murphey will give a brief overview of Jung’s life and work and will lead the group in use of a technique known as Active Imagination. This exercise can be useful to writers in developing characters and imagery, and in enhancing and deepening the creative process. If you’ve ever felt the desire to “dig deeper” in your work, please bring along writing materials and join us in this unique experience!
Emily Peña Murphey grew up with mixed Anglo- and Mexican-American parentage, to a family that was deeply committed to language and writing. She was educated at NYU, the University of Michigan, and the Catholic University of America in the fields of psychology and social work. She underwent several years of training in Jungian psychoanalysis at the C. G. Jung Institute of Boston. After retiring from her career as a psychotherapist, she focused on creative writing. After many years of secretive dabbling in “occasional poetry,” she has recently had her first piece—a short memoir sketch—accepted for publication. She has also completed a draft of the initial volume of a planned trilogy of novels inspired by family stories from both sides of the Texas-Mexican border. Emily is also writing a memoir that will focus on her experience as a person of mixed cultural heritage, and blogs at “La Fronterista.”
Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm
James Chan will relate personal stories of his life-long experience as a “spare room tycoon” (a phrase he coined with writer Thomas Hine) in starting and sustaining 34 years of an ongoing independent life based on luck, pluck and perseverance.
James Chan was born Wah-Kong Chan in Canton, China and grew up in Hong Kong. He received his B.A. from the University of Hong Kong in 1970. After arriving in America in 1971 James received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1983 James founded Asia Marketing and Management in Philadelphia. He is the author of “Spare Room Tycoon,” a book on 40 real life stories of people who turned their passions into successful businesses. James also authored the DVD “Secrets of Business Success in China” published by Malvern press and is a keynote speaker for many trade and professional associations.
Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Dori and Nadine will be sharing their experience with self-publishing children’s picture books, why we do it and how. Dori will discuss her publishing company and Nadine will discuss submitting manuscripts to agents and publishers. They will also have some writing exercises as well.
Nadine is a wiener dog lover. So much so that she wrote two books about dachshunds. A third book is currently in the illustration phase. She is an elementary librarian for the Reading School District, a member of SCBWI, and a committee member for the state awards Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award.
Dori is a retired elementary school teacher and reading specialist. She worked for many years in the Fleetwood and Wilson School Districts primary as a first grade teacher and a reading specialist. She also served as a writing consultant for the West Chester Writing and Literature Project and is a fellow of the National Writing Project. Dream Big Press is Dori’s self-publishing company. In 2013, she published Pearl of Richmond School which is an historical fiction children's book about a third grade student, Pearl, set in a one-room school in the early 1900's in this area. A sequel entitled Pearl and the Schoolyard Prank was released in January, 2015. In 2014, Dori published The Easter Bunny Brother, a comical tale of two bunnies who both want to be the Easter Bunny. This book was followed by The Bunny Brother's First Thanksgiving in 2015 and A Bunny Brothers' Christmas this year.
Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm
In this workshop, we will use writing exercises and work from touchstone authors to create new work and help intensify our voice in poetry and prose. Through writing, reading, exercises, and sharing work, we will investigate ways to enhance our writing lives. Please feel free to bring a page or two you are currently drafting or be ready to create new work.
Heather E. Goodman (www.heatheregoodman.com) grew up in the woods of Pennsylvania where her family raised raccoons, opossums, kids, and dogs. Her work has been published in places such as Shenandoah, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Hunger Mountain, The Crab Orchard Review, and the Chicago Tribune, where her story “His Dog” won the Nelson Algren Award. She lives in a log cabin along a creek in Berks County with her husband Paul and pooch Leo and works with writers to help them illuminate their stories.
To Be Rescheduled
A deeper look at the creation of haiku poetry and the discovery of the haiku aesthetic. Inspiration for a poem may exist in close observation of words and images found all around at any particular moment. The essence of a poem is the creation of a connection between the poet and the reader, an agreement that beauty is born in the recognition of truth. Participants will be encouraged to create their own haiku, inspired by words and photographs in magazines or other printed materials.
Jean LeBlanc is an Assistant Professor of English at Sussex County Community College and executive editor of the Paulinskill Poetry Project. A member of the Writers’ Roundtable, she is active in the vibrant local poetry scene in northwestern New Jersey, often appearing as a featured reader. Her poetry has appeared in many journals, and her collections include At Any Moment (Backwaters Press, 2010) and A Field Guide to the Spirits (Aqueduct Press, 2015). Her haiku publications include The Haiku Aesthetic: Short Form Poetry as a Study in Craft (Cyberwit.net, 2013).
Susanna Lee is a writer and enjoys participating in poetry readings, and she has appeared as a featured reader for "Thursdays Are For Poetry" in Teaneck, NJ. Her poetry has been published online in the White Shoe Irregular, and in print in the Red Wheelbarrow #9 anthology, and will appear in an upcoming anthology by the Paulinskill Poetry Project. Her self-published book of poetry, Sunrise Mountain (Rose Mason Press, 2015), is available from the HPL Consortium.