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Favorite Frames #8 Sharon Pywell and Self Publishing at The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

Monday on the Laundry Line has me looking ahead to this week.

Well, really, it has me looking ahead to dinner, which, as Janet likes to say, we had last night. But it seems everyone here is interested in dinner again, so turkey sloppy joes it is.

I baked these scones this morning, which redeemed me in the pantheon of “mothers who do things in the kitchen at odd hours to benefit those who pass though later”.

Today, my dear friend Sharon Pywell is our guest blogger in the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ blog series. Her post is perfect Sharon, she catches you unaware of her trajectory until you land smack in the center of a great tale. We have known each other since Sharon’s big college girl was a newt and we would whisper though visits while that girl napped…or debated how to keep the house warm enough for that child who refused to wear clothes in deepest winter.

Sharon taught me about the real time facts of being a writer with a family. She was vigilant, before I understood why, about her writing time and boundaries. When we would visit her and her family, Sharon was always clear about when she would be writing and when we’d be visiting. I inhabit that vigilance now, as I have dedicated more of my time to endeavors that require solitude. Like right now, there is a 17-year-old filling my hearing with a loud phone call and I am tempted to go silence him, but, I will just close the door and cling to the barnacled surface of my concentration and keep working.

I have long admired Sharon’s sense of language and description. Her latest book, My Other Mother is a surprising journey and I was intrigued from the first chapter. I hope you will click through the links in her post to read that chapter for yourself.

This Friday evening the Festival presents an evening talk about self-publishing hosted by Carole Owens with Hester Velmans, Jana Laiz and Melissa Batalin. Here is where you can read the details. Hester’s ‘Out’ post is here.

And, if you’d like to learn more about the life of a self-published author, read my friend Joanne Tombrakos’ posts. Joanne appeared in our ‘Out’ blog series earlier this month.

And, finally, if you want to know how dinner turns out, come back later.

Until then, I am holding on to my concentration with a strengthening grip and shuttered vision. The dishes, the laundry and the noise can wait.

All my very best to you,
S

PS Have you registered for the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ drawing yet? I have added my own recipe for Coconut Rice Pudding to the prize list. Just subscribe to the Laundry Line to register. Winners will be announced on April 1.

PPS Here is another of Lisa’s songs, The Bottle.

Favorite Frames #7 of ‘Out’ Michelle Gillett at PRESS and Hester Velmans at BFWW

My head is spinning from this week of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. When I first contemplated the events I wanted to attend back in February when I got hold of the booklet, I did not imagine the amount of inspiration I would take in every week. I have been on a diet of elevated inspiration delivered by the Festival and all the women participating for this entire month.

It is a blur.
My writing journal is full of quotes.

In an effort to share this week of wonderment with you, I will offer you a few photos with accompanying thoughts. And, a preview of the week ahead.

Sunday, March 18. Saw 2 Movies. Sarabah and Granito: How To Nail a Dictator.
I met Pamela Yates, director of Granito. She said, “When the hand of destiny touches you, you have to act.” and Ricky Bernstein of the Berkshire Human Rights Speaker Series said of the Festival and these two movies, “we begin to see the immense scope of contribution women make every day”.

Tuesday March 20 I was at IWOWWOW (in words, out words, women’s own words) an evening of live spoken words at Deb Koffman’s studio in Housatonic. 20 women shared for five minutes each- poems, songs, stories and one report from a naturalist. It was an evening of high energy; the full house applauded all 20 women warmly. I read a segment of Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers. The evening was full of lush descriptions of love, loss and living, rich with phrases like Pooja Karina’s “ love is something that must be spent, a currency that is liquid in your hands” and Caroline Forsman’s “an intimate intense purpose” (describing a trip to her dentist).

I took off Wednesday and Thursday. Life at home beckoned. Then Friday, JNB and I attended “A Woman’s Work” at the Unicorn Theatre. It was an evening of women’s stories and excerpts from 3 plays. We were completely taken by Lisa and Fran Mandeville’s music. Listen to them sing ‘Little Bird’ here.

Then Saturday, I trekked up to North Adams for a day of ‘exploratory letterpress’ with Melanie Mowinski. I have worked with Melanie before and had a vision to create a piece of art to commemorate ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ to use as a give-away for this week’s drawing. (which you can register for my subscribing to this website) Here is Melanie.

I had a blast. Letterpress is an antique art being revived by printer makers and mixed media artists. PRESS is a public art installation, which offers workshops, classes and exhibitions of area letterpress artwork and visiting shows.

Plus, while I was in North Adams, I visited Gallery 51 to see The Mother Tree by Helen Heiburt. The show was curated by Melanie and features the artwork of three paper artists. Follow the link if you would like to learn more. Let it rest here with these words, there are an abundance of ways for women to describe their journeys as mothers and I am thrilled every time I witness one. Absolutely thrilled.

Which brings me to this week.

You can see my dear Michelle Gillett’s poem set in letterpress type at PRESS’ new show that opens this Thursday. Two of the pieces I created will be in the show too.
Michelle, who graced our March 2 event with her words and perspective as the mother of 2 adult daughters, is a poet who inspires readers of all ages. One of my favorite frames of ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others’ was Michelle’s thoughtful responses to audience questions. She is a great listener. Michelle and I were guests on Radio2Women earlier that week and I loved talking on the air with Michelle who beamed the whole time like a lighthouse of joy.
And, I also love working out with Michelle, but that is another story.

Michelle Gillett and Gina Hyams by Christina Rahr Lane
Michelle Gillett and Gina Hyams by Christina Rahr Lane

Also this week, Hester Velmans is appearing in a talk about self-publishing. Hester is a Berkshire author whose experience as an author, mother and daughter of an author are captured perfectly in this interview with Serene Mastriani and Susie Weekes on Radio2Women. Hester’s blog post is here as part of the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ series.

Is your head spinning now too?
The only thing I can offer you is to snuggle up with a copy of Alana’s cookbook and dream about making your own potato chips. You can register to win a signed copy of this beautiful new book by subscribing to the Laundry Line. Other gifts to be won are two limited edition letterpress prints of my commemorative art created at PRESS. Or five of you could win the brownie recipe by Janet Reich Elsbach and a souvenir program from our March 2 event.

Okay. I am going to get a cool compress and lay down for a while. All this inspiration is making me dizzy.

Thanks for being here.
If you like please:
Read Hester.
Listen to Lisa.
Visit Melanie.
Register for the drawing, which will take place next Saturday, March 31.

Nightnight.
Love,
S

PS This week you can expect guest blog posts from this outstanding line-up of mother/authors.

Kathy Drue
Susan Hajec
Leah Strimbeck
Linda Wisneiwski
Sharon Pywell
Ali Smith

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