This past weekend I spoke to a chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild, a group that goes by the name of Saturday Writers. In case you live near St. Louis, they meet the last Saturday of the month in the Saint Peters, Missouri Cultural Arts Centre, inside Saint Peters City Hall. (You can check out their website and blog at www.saturdaywriters.org.) When Jennifer Hasheider, the group’s 2012 president, extended the invitation, she told me that Saturday Writers encompasses diverse ages, interests and experiences. Her enthusiasm for the group was obvious. On Saturday, I understood why.
My appearance coincided with Saturday Writers’s 10th anniversary. Three of the group’s founding members were present—along with dozens of more recent members and a few attending for the first time. The celebration offered one-on-one opportunities for conversation. I met: a father and his teenage daughter who are collaborating on a series of fantasy novels that also include the daughter’s illustrations; a woman who reviews writing “how-to” books (and brought advance copies of recently reviewed titles for interested members); a former vice-president of public relations and college adjunct who writes essays and novels; and a woman who founded a small press with her husband that has published dozens of authors. Members ranged from writers with Pushcart nominations and numerous publication credits to those in the early stages of their writing lives. The group’s vitality emerged in the diversity of writing efforts: during the business part of the meeting, one member announced an upcoming “writing marathon” for site-specific writing experiences. Another announced winners of a short story contest…while someone else shared guidelines for an upcoming competition. One woman who writes mysteries handed out a sheet of links and helpful resources she recently discovered. Everywhere, it was clear that these men and women love the art and craft of writing.
In Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott wrote: “I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”
The tag line of the Saturday Writers is “Writers Encouraging Writers.” Somebody say ‘Amen.’