Greenwich Pen Women, a branch of the National League of American Pen Women, is a non-profit organization of women artists, writers, and musicians. We offer mutual support and exchange of ideas to encourage and inspire excellence in original creative work.
"Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers."
~ ~ Sara Coleridge,
Pretty Lessons in Verse
Note from our President:
Dear Pen Women,
On Monday, June 8th, I sent you all an email in which I outlined for you, “What’s Happening with Pen Women.” Thank you for your encouraging responses! If you haven’t read it, please do, or if you, for some reason, did not receive it, please email me at lpaine@optonline,net, and I will forward a Word copy to you. It has a lot of information and future planning for us in it.
And now, another surprise that I hope will support your artistic endeavors!
GOOD NEWS! Doris Mady, our Website Goddess and Treasurer, has helped me to put together a new PEN WOMEN POSTINGS column in our monthly newsletter, the first version of which you will find in Member News. It gives us a whole new way to communicate with each other! Please see the specific guidelines under Doris, the designer’s, PEN WOMEN POSTINGS header.
All posting must meet the guidelines, but keeping the subject matter relevant to Pen Women and our interests, what do you want to say to other members within the 50 word limit?
Sample Subjects to Post: "Please check out my new website at…" "Offering Virtual Voice Lessons to Pen Women." "Does any Pen Woman give Autoharp Lessons?" "Does anyone know how to hand paint photographs?" "Giving away used aluminum picture frames to PW members." ”Looking for Pen Women to interview for my COVID Pandemic Project.” Not real postings yet, but maybe there will be!
I hope we get so many interesting postings that everyone will immediately go to our Website each month to see what new things have been posted, even if it means that you read my letter after checking the postings! That’s OK – the point is to get you to use the website and enjoy all the features we have, including our own PW Blogs. What, you didn’t know our PW site has blogs? Now you do! Consider posting a blog yourself. Acceptance isn’t guaranteed but Doris will do her best to feature your blog.
And now to the more serious state of affairs we find ourselves in at this very moment in time, the second week of June, 2020. The situations in our country and the world are now so much more complex than they were just a few weeks ago, when we were just struggling with the COVID Pandemic. As you have internalized these events, has it negatively affected your desire/ability to express yourself creatively? We are all concerned for our own physical safety, for the well-being of our families, those we love and our neighbors, our friends and our country. It’s a heavy intellectual and spiritual burden to carry.
The world outside right now demands so much of our coping skills, that it is difficult to have anything left over to nurture or even listen to the artist inside us.
I’m hoping that our PW Summer Creative Conversations, which started on Monday, June 15th, will take on a very special meaning for us. I hope it will continue to be a safe space for us to put everything else aside and to think and talk about our artistic lives, and a place for us to find the support and energy that will spark our creativity.
The world also often looks to artists to interpret historic moments, such as we are living right now. To be able to offer such artistic insights, we need inspiration ourselves. Let’s find it in each other.
For the sake of Art,
~ ~ Lee
GPW President Lee Paine
The Pandemic Experience in 17 Syllables
When Perrot Memorial Library asked Greenwich Pen Women in March 2020 to judge a brand-new haiku contest, four of us jumped at the opportunity. The challenge Perrot posed for contestants was straightforward:
Create an original haiku (three lines, 17 syllables) describing your experience with COVID-19 — the pandemic, the closures, and their impact on your daily life. How are you coping during this trying time?
We four judges — Joanne Dearcopp, Barbara Ehrentreu, Diane Morello and Caroline Sandifer —anticipated reviewing three dozen haiku. We underestimated — by a lot. The pandemic, the creative time in isolation and the alluring structure of haiku came together in a perfect storm. By the end of the submission period, Perrot received 114 haiku. Our work was cut out for us, and with a virtual pinky swear, we committed to honoring the quality of the haiku and to respecting the perspectives and insights of our fellow judges.
The judging process was thorough:
• All entries were numbered, anonymous and categorized only as adult haiku or as teen haiku.
• The judges read through the haiku notebook two or three times, mentally identifying the entries that spoke to us and why.
• We culled entries in the first round, then successively winnowed down and scored our top choices. For each selection, we listed our rationale, emotion evoke, and humor.
• Eventually our set of three adult and three teen haiku winners were those cited most frequently and rated most highly by the judges.
We were struck by the universal themes of fear, love, anger, joy, surprise, sadness and loneliness. We were bowled over by turns of phrase that demonstrated surprise, heart, humor and imagination. We empathized with the authors’ heartfelt, intimate and exceptional emotions and imagery.
We are finalizing our final selections for Perrot. We expect Greenwich Pen Women members and the creative community at large to be impressed by the emotions, imagery and impact of the winning entries.
~~ Diane Tunick Morello,
Greenwich Pen Women, Letters, email@example.com
Open Mic Night Restarts — July 8, 6pm, via Zoom
Time to Seize the Spotlight!
Greenwich Pen Women will resume its Open Mic Nights on July 8, 6pm, this time on Zoom. Sign up for a five-minute speaking slot when registration launches on June 22 through the Greenwich Library website.
July 8 will be new for us in several way, and we ask members to step up and participate. For one thing, we are conducting the Open Mic Night via Zoom, which will be a brand-new experience in presentation, timing and focus. For another, we now have a chance to work with the central branch of Greenwich Library, which orchestrates events for the creative community of writers, artists and musicians. Finally, Open Mic Night gives Greenwich Pen Women a chance to raise our profile and attract people to this public event virtually.
An Open Mic Night is a live event, coordinated in real time. As participants register, they sign up for a five-minute time slot. Five minutes is enough time for writers to read 500-800 words of fiction, memoir, poetry, play scenes, lyrics, blogs, or other work. Artists and musicians can use five minutes, for example, to share inspiration behind a painting or to perform a jazz riff.
What piece will you pick for your five minutes in the spotlight?
~ ~ Diane Tunick Morello,
Greenwich Pen Women, Letters
Spotlight: Jo Dutcher, Professional Genealogist
Jo Dutcher delights in being able to combine her love of writing with her analyticalskills as a professional genealogist and family historian. Her research focuses on New York, Irish, and colonial Dutch ancestry and records. Jo believes family history and genealogy should be about more than just names, dates and documents; as importantly, it should tell the stories of our ancestors and the extraordinary lives they led.
In 2012 Jo retired as a Managing Director at Deloitte after a 33 year career with the firm. Before beginning her business career, Jo was a language teacher at the high school and college levels where she wrote multiple language curriculums. She has lived in Italy and Spain, and worked in Latin America.
Her book, A Forgotten Heritage: The Story of John Long, was reviewed in The Researcher, a quarterly publication of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. A Forgotten Heritage is held in the genealogical collections of such prestigious research institutions as the New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Historical Society, the New England Historical & Genealogical Society, the Los Angeles Public Library and the Allen County Library.
Jo also writes poetry. Three of her poems were published in 2019 in the anthology, Thursdays at the Ferguson.
She authored the chapter “Illness: A Call to Change” in the book Alternatives for Women with Endometriosis, A Guide by Women for Women, published by Third Side Press.
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org