Twenty-five New York and Connecticut writers gathered on a hot and muggy Sunday afternoon in Riverside Park to celebrate the writing life and to share our food, our hopes and our dreams. The threat of rain held off as the multi-racial, multi-generational group of writers discussed their current projects and received advice and encouragement.
Co-chair Raymond Nat Turner invited everyone to take a minute to tell who they are, what they are writing and what they are optimistic about. As more writers straggled in over several writers, Raymond was sure to invite them to take a minute to talk about themselves and speak on something they are hopeful about.
Several were optimistic that they would complete their project and see it in print. Many writers spoke about being optimistic that the resistance to the current attacks on immigrants, women, people of color, unions and the planet will ultimately be successful. Raymond pointed out that the ideas of socialism, however broadly it is understood, is more popular today than it has been in 100 years. Others suggested that the young people will figure out a better way to run the country than the current form of unbridled capitalism.
Jewel talked about the hidden assumptions and biases that are contained in words that we use without even being aware of their implicit prejudice. Zigi recalled a point made at the recent NWU Delegate Assembly Women’s meeting that most women who are killed are killed by a husband or boyfriend. They argued that the murder of a woman should be termed femicide, not simply homicide, since these deaths are mostly an extreme example of sexist beliefs.
Jewel went on to suggest that the NY chapter hold a workshop/discussion about how writers can use words in a more thoughtful and less harmful manner. She said, “Let’s call it Woke Words.” Other writers quickly agreed to help her organize the session.
Co-chair Tim Sheard passed out our yearly calendar of events. More to the point, he asked the writers there to suggest speakers for 2019: any writer with expertise and experience in the business side of writing they can share with others are welcome to volunteer their time for our monthly program. And he invited one and all to attend our annual October writers conference.
We ended the afternoon with a feeling of solidarity, optimistic that we can help each other keep our spirits up and advance our careers.