Twenty-five New York and Connecticut National Writers Union scribes gathered on a hot and muggy Sunday afternoon in Riverside Park in Manhattan to celebrate the writing life, share their food, hopes, and dreams. The threat of rain held off as the multiracial, multigenerational group of writers discussed current projects and received advice and encouragement.
Co-chair Raymond Nat Turner invited everyone to introduce themselves, discuss their current writing project, and what they are optimistic about. As more writers arrived, Raymond invited 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 Allison talked about the hidden assumptions and biases that are contained in words that we use without even being aware of their implicit prejudice. Zigi Lowenberg 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. She argued that the murder of a woman should be termed femicide, not simply homicide, since such deaths are mostly an extreme example of sexist beliefs.
Jewel went on to suggest that the NY chapter hold a workshop or 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 the NWU yearly calendar of events. For the 2019 monthly program, he asked for proposed speakers, specifically those with experience on the business side of writing, who are willing to share their expertise and volunteer their time. Sheard also invited the picnickers to attend the annual October 13 NWU Writers Conference.