“Words mean more than what is set on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” ~Maya Angelou.
It’s a pleasure to feature my good friend and colleague Susan Weidener and the women writers of the Women’s Writer Circle in this post about their newly launched anthology, The Life Unexpected: An Anthology of Stories and Poems. I have had the honor of participating in the Circle on several occasions and I can vouch for the power of this welcoming group to nurture and honor each person’s writing voice. I can also give their beautiful anthology a glowing endorsement. When we share from the depths of our hearts and souls, we connect with one another in a powerful way.
Welcome back, Susan and ladies of the Women’s Writing Circle!
Celebrating Writing Through Collaboration and Diversity
I grew up in an all-white neighborhood in a wealthy suburban enclave of Philadelphia known as the Main Line. There was one African American girl in my high school classes. I never tried Chinese or Indian food until I went away to college. I anticipated the usual “milestones”: marriage, career, children, growing old with my husband.
Of course, that’s not the way it happened.
Which leads me to our new anthology: The Life Unexpected.
The Life Unexpected: An Anthology of Stories and Poems reflects changing attitudes and lifestyles. Its prose and poetry reveal unexpected twists and turns we rarely anticipate or see coming.
This is the third anthology in four years I’ve participated. The other two were Slants of Light: Stories and Poems from the Women’s Writing Circle, and My Gutsy Story Anthology.
I love the possibilities of the anthology. In this era of publishing opportunities, an anthology is an eclectic offering of published and unpublished writers, showcasing budding talent and giving new writers a “leg up” on a writing resume. The anthology is a creative collective built around a unifying theme. It’s also a way to keep publishing and getting your work out there; build on your other books and meet new readers.
A joy of our The Life Unexpected anthology centered on the diversity of the collaboration. Click to Tweet
Widowed, married and divorced writers . . . gay women; women never married; women with children, and those without; all brought to the table the willingness and courage to offer a highly personal story of life’s unexpected twists and turns―through fiction, memoir and poetry.
At our first book signing as a group on January 28, I met many of the writers who I had met briefly, or not at all; although I felt familiarity with all of them through their stories. Our writers came from two separate writing groups in the Philadelphia area―the Women’s Writing Circle and Just Write. This was truly an ensemble.
One side note ―that’s why writing groups are essential to the writer’s “toolbox.”
They serve as vehicles for writers to meet and hone their craft, collaborate and publish together. Click to tweet.
At our authors’ book signing at a local bookstore, we read excerpts from our work; the experience was powerful for us and for our readers, especially in the world we now live. Stories of domestic violence, abortion, death, gender identity.
Together, we toasted each other and the creative life that had brought us together. We toasted our differences, our shared journeys.
When I was growing up, women didn’t talk about being transgender or gay, let alone write about it. We didn’t talk about terminating unwanted pregnancies. We often suffered in silence in unhappy marriages behind closed doors in suburban subdivisions. We didn’t share our grief at being widowed and single parents.
Without appreciating new experiences, a variety of lifestyles and people, we can’t do this hard work known as writing. That’s why I’m so proud of The Life Unexpected. It’s all there within our book’s cream-colored pages.
The Life Unexpected: An Anthology of Stories and Poems created by sixteen writers from the Philadelphia area offers diverse perspectives and experiences of women’s lives as told through fiction, memoir and poetry. In this compact collection life’s surprises and revelations along the journey of ‘the life unexpected’ are revealed offering a new way of looking at the world. The Life Unexpected (Lucky Stars Publishing) is a collaboration of two Philadelphia-area writing groups, Just Write and the Women’s Writing Circle. It features ten original photographs that enhance the prose and poetry.
A portion of the proceeds benefit the Women’s National Book Association, a nonprofit promoting reading and women writers in community.
“The writer’s job is not just to craft a narrative with clarity and precision, but to express the emotional truth in a story. The Life Unexpected does just that. In this anthology, sixteen women tackle one of life’s most important—and difficult—questions: What do you do when life doesn’t go the way you expect? Bringing together a diverse group of voices and perspectives, this collection of poetry and prose will break your heart, then warm it right back up again.” ~ Gabriela Pereira, founder of DIY MFA and author of DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community
Website: The Women’s Writing Circle
Facebook: The Women’s Writing Circle
Amazon Author Page: Susan Weidener
Thank you, Susan for showcasing how writing and publishing this anthology have opened doors. Writing groups such as the Women’s Writing Circle truly facilitate finding, claiming and honoring the voices within that beg to tell those untold stories. Our stories matter. Thank you for all you do to help writers write and share their stories.
How about you? Do you have an untold story begging to be told? What stops you from writing and sharing it? Have you ever participated in a collaborative writing effort?
We’d love to hear from you. Please join in the conversation below~
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