Tag Archives: Eva Shaw

Writers are for Real

Writers at conference©South County News/The Daily News

Sure, Woodland’s a small town, but that doesn’t mean you won’t bump into a writer. When my husband and I were out to dinner one night with friends, a man and woman approached the table and started visiting with us. The woman turned out to be Pam Young, author (along with her sister Peggy Jones) of many books including Sidetracked Home Executives™: From Pigpen to Paradise; Get Your Act Together; Sidetracked Sisters Happiness File; Sidetracked Sisters Catch Up on the Kitchen; The Phony Gourmet; and I’m Okay…but you have a Lot of Work to Do.” The sisters have experienced every writer’s dream by appearing on Oprah as well as CBS Morning News, Today, and other popular shows. They have probably written more books than these, but the long list was enough to make me want to rip up my writer business cards and hide in a dark room; I felt I had wasted too many years and left too many words unwritten.

That’s one thing about a lot of us writers…it doesn’t take much for us to feel unworthy of the title, just because someone else has been in the business longer or published more work. In 2006, I took online writing courses from Eva Shaw at www.ed2go.com (which, by the way, you can enroll in at our Woodland branch of Lower Columbia College). I was so impressed with Shaw’s teaching that I attended the 2006 Cape Cod Writers Conference in Osterville, Massachusetts, where she presented workshops.  Thrilled to meet Shaw, but feeling insecure, I said to her, “I feel like a pretend writer.”

Eva Shaw, who has published more than seventy books and 1000 magazine articles, replied, “We all feel like pretend writers.”

That was a turning point for me. That’s when I had my business cards printed; I started wearing an “author in progress” t-shirt; I presented a Write the Stories of Your Life workshop to Woodland’s Red Hat Tamales; I helped inspire young writers in my granddaughter’s first-grade class; I started submitting work.

Once I started feeling like a writer, things started happening. I began writing this weekly column; my stories about Woodland began to be posted on www.lewisriver.com; my story Indian Summer appeared in the just-released book Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause; I attended the Whidbey Island Writers Conference and the Willamette Writers Conference; I got to know other writers, and I took more classes; I started thinking about reprinting the book I published thirty years ago.

In August, I attended the Willamette Writers Conference with Klazina Dobb, a Woodland acupuncturist. At the Lelooska Foundation fundraiser last spring, I purchased a gift certificate for a massage at Klazina’s clinic. When I met Klazina and I told her I would soon be going to a writer’s conference, she said, “I ‘m glad you’re here. I want to write a book, but I’m not sure how to get started.”

Klazina and I attended the conference together and enjoyed sharing mealtimes with other writers, agents, and publishers. At the closing banquet, we shared a table with Kristina McMorris of Portland, who was presented the first place Kay Snow Writing Contest award in the Adult Fiction category for her novel Between the Lines. Through meeting Kristina McMorris and other published authors, we learned more about the business of writing, and we made new contacts.

At that conference, both Klazina and I took a writing workshop taught by Julie Fast, best-selling author of Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder. We enrolled in her Proposal Writing course through Portland Community College, where we learned that nonfiction writers must first write a proposal to find out if an agent is interested before writing the book. Klazina is working on her proposal for a book about healing for health-care workers; I am working on my proposal for a book about a tuberculosis sanatorium where my family once lived and worked, and today’s re-emerging tuberculosis.

I’ve read about Woodland author Alan Rose’s book The Legacy of Emily Hargrove.  Woodland resident Suzanne Taylor Moore Faveluke recently sent an email containing verses she wrote a number of years ago for greeting card companies, and in 1974, she published a book called Coffee. While interviewing Jill Yates at the Lower Columbia College Woodland campus, I found out Jill has written Tales of a Teacup and Coffee Lovers Bible. I’m sure there are many other writers in Woodland whom I haven’t yet met.

I picked up a flyer at the college on the Write Your Life Story class held each Wednesday at the Presbyterian Church, which is led by Carmen Web. The class is currently full, but another session starts January 9.

There are many writers in Woodland: some are published, some would like to be published, and some just want to write. We all have something in common…the drive to put words on paper. Everyone has a story to tell, and no one who writes is a pretend writer.

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Spending the Day with Red Hatters

Whether you’re a writer or a retailer, there’s always plenty to do, and it’s hard to set aside time for yourself. Ed2go writing instructor and author Eva Shaw knows it’s important to save time for yourself, so one assignment she gives students is to go on a date and write about it. I just came across this account of my date, written about 1 1/2 years ago. It’s probably about time for another date. See photos of this event at http://www.lewisriver.com.It was fun dressing for my date. I wore jeans, a t-shirt with a picture of a big red hat on the front, and a red wool blazer. I dug out the pretty purple shoes with the open toes from my daughter’s wedding…and I didn’t wear socks because I didn’t want to! Next I had to decide which hat to wear. I chose the red wool felt with a wide, floppy brim and long red and purple feathers. I took off the hat and added a purple dickey under the t-shirt. Perfect. Red and purple.For accessories, I stretched a red-hat bracelet over my wrist, swapped my gold hoop earrings for a pair of glittery red hats, and slipped my purple lanyard with the Red Hat Society medal over my head. I added pins to that: the purple cow with the red hat, my magnetic name tag with “Pat” printed carefully in Sharpie pen, the gaudy red pin from Aunt Liz, and the new Washington State pin. I added a red fan pin with purple tassel to my right lapel. On my left lapel, I lovingly place the glitzy frog with the wiggling legs, a pin given to me from the frog collection of my dearly-departed fun-loving best friend Jan.I drove to the lilac gardens where I met my friend and red-hat sister Andy. We were there to meet a group of red hatters from Silverdale, Washington. They were arriving by bus to celebrate the Red Hat Society birthday by visiting our town’s spectacular gardens. One by one, forty-some ladies stepped off the shiny white bus in their red and purple.

When you combine reds and purples with the lavenders and pinks of the lilacs, you have the makings of some great photo ops. Flower lovers strolled the brick paths and sucked in the fragrance of the blossoms.

Noel Johnson of www.lewisriver.com was on hand to photograph the gathering. He and his wife Nancy stayed with our group all day, touring and visiting. Andy and I had a great time visiting with them at lunch, where Noel was delighted to be the only male dining with 44 ladies!

Andy left, and I went on to the next stop, the tulip fields. Rainbow colors spread across acres of fertile ground. By then the day was warm, and I was sorry to be wearing the wool hat and jacket, but happy to be spending the day with my new acquaintances.

The ladies boarded the bus to head for their last stop, a shopping trip to my husband’s discount variety store. They had a great time.

The kazoo is the official musical instrument of red hatters. Our store gave each lady a red and purple kazoo, and they could be heard humming “Yankee Doodle Dandy” into their kazoos outside our store. Inside, we presented Noel with a special gift, a windsock of a guy in red and purple attire with the saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” It was perfect for a guy who had just spent all day with a group of red-hatted ladies.

What a great day. I had walked away from all the things I thought were priorities, including my writing lessons. I had fun, I made some new friends, and I discovered some more things to write about. I waved as the big bus drove away and I went back to my desk, happy I’d made time for my date.

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