For the past few weeks, I’ve been making hundreds of calls to NWU members, urging them to submit the Authors Coalition survey. It’s been inspiring to connect with journalists, fiction and non-fiction writers, academics, and a songwriter/banjo/guitar player who is writing a children’s book.
When one writer I called discovered I was a poet, she couldn’t stop laughing. I wanted to start chanting “Solidarity Forever,” but I had 40 more calls to make.
Writers are busy folks. We write while installing car stereos, on the job as steelworkers, and driving our grandkids to school. We write in our heads, on snatches of paper, on our phones or laptops, in between the demands of daily life. No wonder some members answered the phone, “Make it quick, I’m on deadline!” So I did: Giving them my 10-second pitch to “please take two minutes to answer the Authors Coalition Survey. It helps NWU continue our advocacy work for you, our members.”
I left a message for one member, US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal from Washington state, and by the next day she’d completed the survey. That encouraged me to push on. If she could take the time others could, too. Here’s to having a National Writers Union member in the House!
I came across the membership record for fellow union member, the late Adrienne Rich, a poet hero of mine. I took it as a personal wink-wink for me to keep writing. Poetry does matter.
Marching on International Women’s Day and attending the NWU panel on press freedom remind me—the times are calling us to stand together, poets with journalists with songwriters, storytellers and scholars.
We have mighty work to do and it’s time for all hands on deck!
Zigi Lowenberg can be found @ZigarinaZigi and upsurgejazz.com