Archives for May 2017

Art of the Week: Toy Time

Toy Time

(12×12 acrylic painting)

by Anne Price Yates

Portland Branch NLAPW

 

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and then submit your work in an email to Jamie Tate at arteditor@nlapw.org. Please put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line. Thank you!

Creative Inspirational Wisdom: The End of Something

For this week’s creative inspirational wisdom, Sara Etgen-Baker spins a tale of rejection and revision…


 

The End of Something

 

In a village called Aerendyl there once lived an inexperienced but talented elfin scribe named Lessien Nénharma.

 

Now it happened one day that Lessien came upon an email message from an editor at one of the major scribal presses. With bated breath, Lessien opened the email.

 

Dearest Scribe:

I’ve received your synopsis and the first two chapters of your novel. Although your scribing and story line show great promise, your characters are flat and lack humanity. Your subplots are intriguing but seem disconnected from the major plot. The narrative arc is weak, and your story has no clear ending. So, I can’t accept your manuscript at this time.

Sincerely,

Amroth Súron,

Senior Editor Drannor Press

 

Lessien threw down her scribal quill and Skyped her instructor, Lady Telemmaitë.

 

“Lady Telemmaitë, whatever am I to do?” Lessien fought back tears. “Tell me. Is this the end of my scribal career?”

 

“No, my fellow scribe. Rejection doesn’t mark the end of your career. Rather, rejection heralds a new beginning.”

 

“You speak in riddles, Lady Telemmaitë. I don’t understand!”

 

“Tis quite simple, my accomplished apprentice. Toss out your old manuscript.” Lady Telemmaitë leaned forward. “This time begin with the ending in mind.”

 

“So, I focus on how the plot ends, right?”

 

“No, scribe, no! Focus on your characters; for your characters, their motives, and their development drive their actions and set the plot in motion—not the other way around. Begin with where they will end up.”

 

“I understand, Lady Telemmaitë, but I feel so overwhelmed and am afraid to begin again.”

 

“Begin one chapter at a time. Its end will determine the next one’s beginning.” Lady Telemmaitë smiled. “Take heart. Chapters begin and end, but fear thee not thine own endings, for they are but beginnings in disguise. Now grab thy quill and begin your next chapter!”

 


Sara’s love for words began when her mother read the dictionary to her every night. Her manuscripts have been published in various anthologies and magazines including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Wisdom Has A Voice, My Heroic Journey, Times They Were A Changing: Women Remember the 60s and 70s, and The Santa Claus Project. When not writing, Sara spends time with her husband of 34 years, Bill. Sara has been a member of the Dallas Branch NLAPW since 2014.  She enjoys the support and fellowship her affiliation with NLAPW brings into her writing life.  She may be contacted via email at: sab_1529@yahoo.com.

“Feathered Quill” by Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

WANTED: GUEST BLOGGERS! Pen Women are invited to submit guest posts for two new series: Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business. Please visit this link for more details. We look forward to reading your material!

 

Poem of the Week: The Virtual Crafter

Carolyn Aune
Minnesota Branch

 

My Aunt sits in the well worn wing chair,
Her winter grey braids, thick as a child’s wrist,
Wrap around her noble head.
I’m perched on a low leather hassock,
My thin arms stretched in benediction
Proffering the skein of wool
That my Aunt winds slowly into a ball.
I am five years old.
Later, I watch the needles flash,
Catching the firelight as they tap out a click clack rhythm.
“I can’t teach you how to knit” my aunt murmurs” you’re left handed.”

 

Yet, might I claim that I did learn to knit If only in the virtual sense?
For, I knitted together the nine Disparate souls, snuggled in my womb For their allotted nine months

Before they were flung into the world
Where they were nourished into a cohesive whole.
Knit together, strong bonds that likely will never unravel. We are still, today, above all else, a close-knit family.

 

Now, my mother’s mother was a quilter
I see her nestled on a narrow sofa,
Placing every delicate stitch,
No nonsense black lace up oxfords planted firmly Atop the braided rug.
Every pattern in harmony, Every stitch perfect.

 

Yet might I claim to be a quilter too?
For I have fashioned a crazy quilt of a life, Struck to the core with the dull colors of Grief and Turmoil and tragedy
Blended with flashes of bright colored joy, Recording a kaleidoscope of complexity.

It was in the euphoric months of a first pregnancy, That I tried my hand at weaving. …
A small loom, the strands of wool the soft
Colors of baby pink and blue.
But life intervened, the loom abandoned, accusing me.

 

Yet might I claim that I did learn to weave? For I wove the strands of nine children’s lives Into a cohesive tapestry able to withstand
A world that hasn’t always been kind.

 

So I am, if only in the virtual sense,
A knitter, a patchwork quilter,
And a weaver of lives that now look
Fearlessly ahead to the future.

 

Art of the Week: Delta Spring

Delta Spring

(Encaustic)

by Nancy Stone-Street

Delta Branch NLAPW

 

 

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and then submit your work in an email to Jamie Tate at arteditor@nlapw.org. Please put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line. Thank you!

Biennial Bulletin: The Value of Membership in NLAPW, Inc.

A message from Laura Walth, 49th Biennial Chair and Des Moines Branch NLAPW President:


Attending the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. 48th Biennial in Washington, DC, changed my mind and my life. I was so close to dropping out of this organization that I asked the Des Moines Branch if they would cover my registration fee, so I could see for myself why I want to remain a member of NLAPW, Inc. It was the workshops and connecting with the other members at the luncheons that made me excited to be a member of this organization of creative women. The concerts were also very inspiring.

 

What changed my life was when Virginia Franklin Campbell asked if I would consider being the National Librarian. As exciting as that was to be offered a position on the National Board, I had to be honest: I’ve been a Reference Librarian for over 25 years and know nothing about cataloging books. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that, but I told her it’s like a doctor who specializes in a specific medical field–that wasn’t my expertise.

 

After giving my President’s Report for our branch at the biennial meeting and mentioning that there is hope for this organization, another life changing moment happened: Virginia asked if I would be the Outreach Chair for National. As excited as I was, I knew my husband would not like the idea of me spending money to attend board meetings. As some of you know, that was one of my concerns as well. That’s when I discovered Where there’s a will, there’s a way! really works. He saw my desire and supported my decision to be involved at the National level.

 

This experience is so exciting that I am willing to learn from the past, focus on the future, and use the present to accomplish our mission. I’m having so much fun with this, it’s hard to stop thinking about all the possibilities. As a result, our Des Moines branch is gaining new members.

 

The Outreach mission of NLAPW, Inc. is to provide support and promote community-based arts and creative educational programs through our national headquarters, state associations, and branches throughout the United States.

 

 

The purpose of outreach is to advance the creative arts and increase an awareness of the need for all citizens to have access to the enjoyment of the arts and to creative endeavors. It’s my hope that more members discover the value of their membership and have the will to find a way to attend the National League of American Pen Women’s 49th Biennial in Des Moines, Iowa, from April 19th through April 22nd, 2018. This will be the first time the biennial has been held in the Midwest.

 

The photographs above show some of the women I met at the 48th Biennial in DC. There were many more that are not pictured here.

 


Please keep and eye out for more information about our upcoming 48th Biennial in Des Moines, Iowa, in upcoming issues of The Pen Woman and on our web site!

 

Poem of the Week: Meditation on a Mosquito

Kathleen H. Langan
Greenwich Branch

 

First the tell-tale bzzzzzz, then there it is

walking across my husband’s bare arm

and heading straight to do harm

to me, the Go-To-Girl for mosquitoes,

silent and sinister as it propels its improbable body

on six long skinny legs, jointed in the wrong direction,

its proboscis leading the way to the last meal of the day,

a tasty, warm, bright-red midnight supper.

 

As the fiend inches toward me,

Albert Schweitzer’s theory pops into my head,

the one he calls reverence for life.

It asks each of us never ever to forget that

the two things all living creatures share

are the right and the desire to go on living

and thus we are constrained to refrain

from killing any of them at all, large or small.
 
It’s a praiseworthy philosophy, I agree,

but it certainly strains credulity.

I mean, does the dear Doctor really expect me

to believe he lived in Africa all those years

and never once swatted a mosquito?

This one is just playing its role, I grant you that,

Nevertheless, I smash the damned thing

until it is totally dead and flatter than flat.

 

It’s a Creative Business: How to Use Copyright-free Images and Sound Without Getting in Trouble

This week, Rodika Tollefson discusses the importance of copyright and creative responsibility.


 

If you create art for a living, you probably feel strongly about protecting your copyrights. After all, even if all that sweat and tears went into the work for the pleasure of it, you have bills to pay.

 

I am constantly surprised how many creatives don’t think twice when the tables are turned. They think it’s perfectly okay to copy a photo from a news or stock site, or an image from social media, and use it for their own website, brochure, etc.; use a song purchased from iTunes for a video promoting their art, event, etc.; or re-purpose someone else’s painting for their book’s cover.

 

Paying 99 cents for a song for your personal music library doesn’t mean you can legally use it as a soundtrack for that great video promo you’re making, and just because it’s easy to copy and paste an image from a website or someone shared a photo on Facebook doesn’t mean you can take it for your own use.

 

This also applies to images from historic archives, including the Library of Congress, because they often have a copyright holder. In these cases, all you may need is to ask permission. Get it in writing!

 

What’s a creative with a limited budget to do in all other cases? If you need free music or images, look either for works in the public domain, or for those that have a Creative Commons license. Many photographers, musicians and artists — even professionals — freely allow others to use their work, often only in exchange for attribution.

 

Some sources of free music:

 

Some sources of free images:

 

Read the license terms carefully because even a Creative Commons license may have restrictions and specific requirements on how to give the artist credit. Some don’t allow use for commercial purposes — and even if you’re not making any money from the product, your purpose may still be considered commercial. If you can’t give attribution to the artists, many of them will let you use their work for a small fee instead.

 

One final point: Don’t let by the term “royalty-free” mislead you. It doesn’t mean “free to take.” Chances are, you need to pay a licensing fee, which comes with certain terms, just like Creative Commons (it may restrict use to news purposes, may require author credit even if you’re paying for the image, and may disallow any editing).

 

And, of course, don’t forget the best resource of all: fellow Pen Women. You may have a composer or photographer in your own branch who would be happy to share her work with you.

 

(Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney and this column isn’t intended as legal advice on copyrights. Do your own research.)

 


Rodika Tollefson is a member-at-large who has a master’s degree in digital media, which included coursework in digital media law. She’s a seasoned journalist who now provides digital media content and strategy, and is currently the editor of The Pen Woman and the National Public Relations Committee Chair.

“Book with Pencil” by winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WANTED: GUEST BLOGGERS! Pen Women are invited to submit guest posts for two new series: Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business. Please visit this link for more details. We look forward to reading your material!

Art of the Week: Magenta Waters

Magenta Waters
(Oil on Canvas, 40” x 44”, based on Cape Cod waters at sunset)
by Suzanne M. Packer
Cape Cod Branch NLAPW

 

 

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and then submit your work in an email to Jamie Tate at arteditor@nlapw.org. Please put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line. Thank you!

Poem of the Week: The Summer Party

Lois Batchelor Howard
Palm Springs, CA Branch

 

I look into the corner

of my backyard

and the green and flowering

plants

are huddled together.

They look like a cocktail party

with too many guests.

Whom shall I uninvite?

Shears in my hand I approach

the foxtail lily desert candles

the wall germandus

the fairy bells

the bougainvillea

I know this is rude to say to them,

but I do.  “It is too crowded here.”

They laugh and I hear their thoughts

become audible in the late afternoon sun,

“but none of us wants to leave.”

I look at my shears, put them down,

and return with a cocktail to join them.

 

Art of the Week: View from Above

“View from Above”

Bonnie Jo Smith

Santa Clara Branch NLAPW

 

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and then submit your work in an email to Jamie Tate at arteditor@nlapw.org. Please put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line. Thank you!