September is for writing

For those of us with household members in school, September might also be back to our own projects month! With the kids usefully occupied, let’s hope we can all squeeze in some time for our writing. In addition there are lots of events in and around the region to help you build your writing community and learn from other writers. And don’t forget the monthly WOTA meeting Tuesday, September 20 from 6-8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. We’re cooking up some new projects & hope you can join in!

Winners of the 2021 and 2022 Great River Writer’s Retreat will read from their works in the community room of the Rock Island Public Library on Thursday, Sept 1 at 5:30 pm

Poets: Call for Submissions

The German American Heritage Center and Museum is opening a new exhibition with a night of resistance poetry on October 2nd. If you’d like to submit, send something to the GAHCM by September 10th. Poets must be between 13 and 20 years old, and the poem must be 5 minutes or less in length. To submit, email poetry@gahc.org

Banned Books Week is Sept. 18-24

The Midwest Writing Center and the Rock Island Public Library are hosting their annual Banned Books Reading at the library on Sept. 21 at 6 pm. Come hear local librarians, artists, and other readers share excerpts from banned and controversial books to celebrate Banned Books Week. Join the fight against censorship by buying banned books, reading banned books, and sharing banned books. Human knowledge ought to be a gift available to all.

Write More Light

The Midwest Writing Center’s “Write More Light” video series will return August 30th! Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 pm, join the MWC’s Facebook or YouTube channels to enjoy writing talk, advice, practice, and inspiration from a special guest.

Hope your September is a harvest of fruitful words!

August doings

WOTA meets Tuesday, August 16 from 6 to 8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share. And bring something to write on, as we’re returning to our habit of having a short, introductory craft talk/writing exercise to get the gears turning.

Other literary news:

Audio recordings of the pieces in THESE INTERESTING TIMES: Surviving 2020 in the Quad Cities are available on the WVIK website! If you need a bit of inspiration on getting through challenging times, revisit this inspiring collection of local and regional authors and artists.

Authors and artists: the Midwest Writing Center is accepting pitches for workshops for the coming year. Send them your ideas!

Here’s to an August that fills the creative well and lets those projects grow & thrive!

Hello, June.

WOTA will meet on Tuesday, June 21 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share!

If you’re looking for a challenge, write something using:

CORNPONE, EFFICACIOUS, PEACEFUL, SEXY, SPRING, THRUM, WINE, WONDERFUL

Hey, I don’t pick the words, I just write them down.

Upcoming workshops that may be of interest:

The Society of Great River Poet’s Creativity Camp runs from June 17 – June 19 at Langwood Educations Center. For details on sessions, camping arrangements, and more, click here.

May your summer be full of inspiration and plenty of time to create!

May news

WOTA will meet on Tuesday, May 17 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share!

If you’re looking for inspiration, the words for the May writing challenge are:

loquacious, wanderlust, suspicious, audit, train, emissary, savant, observant, perfunctory, soap

Feel free to share your piece here as a comment to this post! Just remember that, because we welcome writers of all ages and genres, we’ve agreed that our shared work will be suitable for general audiences.

Some other area events to keep an eye on:

Registrations are open for the Society of Great River Poet’s Creativity Camp. For details on sessions, camping arrangements, and more, click here.

Missed the May newsletter? You can find a copy here.

May the creative force be with you, today and always!

Holiday Party & Open Mic

Join us for a holiday party and open mic to celebrate the season and WOTA! We’ll meet from 6:oo to 8:00 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library on Tuesday, December 21. Wear your favorite festive attire–holiday hats and ugly sweaters encouraged–and feel free to bring snacks or drinks to share. Be prepared to sing carols as well as sharing short works. WOTA books will be available for sale if you need to tick items off that gift list!

Rekindling Creativity Challenge

For some of us, November means NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month). For others, it means watching the days get shorter, darker, and colder, and fighting the urge to hibernate. (Or maybe giving in, just a little bit, but not too much.)

For you, friends of WOTA, I propose a November challenge that will spark your creativity. However you want to go about it; whatever appeals to you most; whatever you can think of to step outside your comfort zone, stretch your creative muscles, add a little color to your life or a spring to your step.

You can do anything you want, really. But I hope you’ll share your challenge in the comments below, and then check back to tell us how it’s going. What did you learn? What did you do? What inspiration descended from above?

Here are some things you might consider:

  • Write something in a genre you usually don’t write in. Share the results below in the comments or on our Facebook page.
  • Visit a new place in your local area. For example, the National Pearl Button Museum, if you haven’t seen it already, and check out not just the amazing displays on the first floor but the commodious space on the second floor, where WOTA meets.
  • Write a poem and submit it to Riverfront Poetry.
  • Join a new group–a fitness group, a hobby group, a group that provides volunteer services to area residents.
  • Learn a new skill: paint, draw, embroider, crochet . . . the list is endless.
  • Attend a community event–an exhibit, lecture, musical evening or performance.
  • Redecorate or redesign something: an area of your house, your yard, your wardrobe.
  • Read a book you wouldn’t normally choose, or listen to a podcast you wouldn’t normally listen to.
  • <fill in your own artistic, social, or spiritual endeavor here>

Maybe you choose one thing for the month and you’re done. Maybe you choose a small challenge each week. Maybe you decide to try something new for each day in November. Tell us about it and share your spark!

Dystopian works

Since we are all living in an apocalyptic scenario right now–and all of Iowa is closed for business–this seems like it can’t help but spawn some wonderful writing. If you’ve written something COVID-19 inspired, whether by visions of global destruction or simply heaps of extra time stuck at home, share it in the comments below!

While the March 17 and April 2 meetings are cancelled due to public health emergency status, we are still planning to meet on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:00 pm in the Makerspace (room 17) of Musser Public Library.

In the meantime, you are also invited to participate in our Facebook community in order to continue sharing work, inspiration, and support.

Hang in there, everyone.

March merriment

If your March doesn’t hold enough madness yet, try WOTA’s March word challenge. Write something that incorporates these words: tantrum, alleviate, baseball, pickled, psychic, bile, shimmer, hospitality, and poetry. Bring copies to the meetings, comment on this post, or share on the group’s Facebook page. We love to hear from new folks!

March meetings

WOTA in the afternoon will meet Thursday, March 5 from 1-3 pm in room 201 of Musser Public Library. Bring a short work to share.

WOTA’s monthly business meeting will be held in room 17 of Musser Public Library on Tuesday, March 17 at 5:30 pm. Join us at 6:00 for writing exercises, sharing of short work, general hilarity, and stay for the critique group after, in which we’ll discuss a longer piece submitted for consideration.

New members are always welcome, and inquiry meetings are free!

Upcoming events

Writers on the Avenue has a spot in the lineup for the Mega Poetry Marathon being organized by the Midwest Writing Center on Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 pm at Rozz Tox in Rock Island, IL. We have two slots still open for writers to read for 5 minutes from any work they’d like. Contact WOTA if you’d like to participate in this celebration!

The Poetry Potluck group meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 1-3 pm in room 17 of Musser Public Library, led by WOTA president and published poet Pat Bieber. It’s completely free. All poets are welcome!

Other news

Publication of WOTA’s 30 year anniversary anthology is underway! Print copies should be available in April. The cover price is expected to be $10 for nonmembers and $8 for WOTA members and contributors. All sales will fund WOTA’s efforts to support writers and the literary arts in and around Muscatine. The anthology features work from founding members and early supporters, long-time WOTA members and advocates, and newer voices adding charm and insight. The volume captures the remarkable wealth of literary talent that has made WOTA what it is over the years. You’ll want a book for your shelf and copies to give all your friends!

We’re excited about sharing this book, so if you’ve got ideas for launch parties, book sales, and other events that can get it in front of peoples’ eyes, contact WOTA and help us set something up! We’re always ready to share good writing with the world.

anthology cover crop

Hope your March is fruitful and the wild weather inspires great works. We can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

February sweetness

February meetings

WOTA in the afternoon meets Thursday, February 6 from 1-3 pm in room 201 of Musser Public Library.

The regular WOTA evening meeting takes place Tuesday, February 18 in room 17 of Musser Public Library. Members can come at 5:30 pm for a quick business meeting to discuss upcoming projects and events. Anyone is welcome to join us at 6 pm for writing exercises and sharing short work. As always writers of all ages, genres, and levels of experience are welcome.

Upcoming Contests

The Midwest Writing Center is taking registrations for its annual Iron Pen contest. Can you write a poem, a short story, or a creative essay in 24 hours? And can you base it on a prompt you’re given? If you’re a WOTA member, you do this all the time! Register here.

Poems are being accepted for the2020 Lyrical Iowa. Find the requirements and submission guidelines on the Iowa Poetry Association website.

Upcoming Workshops & Other Opportunities

Misty Urban is leading a Prayer & Poetry retreat at the Benet Retreat House at St. Mary’s Monastery, Rock Island, on February 7-8. Participants will read and discuss the works of Mary Oliver and others as well as take time to read, meditate, write, and share work.  Register here.

Misty will also be at the Davenport Eastern Library on Saturday, February 29 as part of their Local Author series, offering a workshop from 3-4 pm on the short, short-short, and not-so-short story. No need to register; just show up!

Jodie Toohey is leading an Online Beginning Writing Workshop that will run for six weeks beginning March 20. Classes will cover character, critique, voice, energy, plot, and more. For more information and to register check the Midwest Writing Center website.

Pat Bieber is leading a new Poetry Potluck group that meets at Musser Public Library on the 2d and 4th Thursday of each month from 1-3 pm in room 17. Poets are invited to bring work to read aloud. The focus will be on discussion, not critique. Free!

Word challenge

Need a little challenge in your life? How ’bout you write a sestina for February? Find the form, an example, and some tips at this website. Share your poem in the comments, email WOTA, post to our Facebook page, or bring to a meeting. Hope your February is fabulous!