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Letter from the National President Evelyn B. Wofford, Winter 2021

A Moment of ‘Thanks’giving

It hardly seems possible that another quarter has come and gone and a magazine article needs to be written. I am sitting at my desk watching a steady rain falling outside and musing on the fact that it’s Nov. 11, Veterans Day, and D.C. has had only two days of cold weather since the beginning of fall. It is 69 degrees, and temperatures have been in the 70s for the last six days. I am certainly not complaining. At Pen Arts, we have not needed heat or air conditioning since the end of August. Utility bills have been wonderfully low. I do love that!

By the time you read these thoughts, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be in the past, and we will be anticipating what the New Year will hold. I consider it a marvelous thing that we cannot see into the future. I would have hated to have known in January 2020 what lay ahead. I am very hopeful that 2021 will bring welcome relief through a vaccine for this dreadful COVID-19.

In thinking about this year that’s coming to an end, I am reminded of the resiliency of this group called Pen Women. No matter what trials have been forced upon us, we have met them head on and are experiencing newfound skills.

Do any of you not know how to attend a Zoom meeting, or more than that, conduct one? And what about virtual art shows, virtual concerts, live-streaming events? Many of you have notified me that you are holding or have held successful virtual art shows. You had to research just how to conduct one and how to sell art through one but you have done so. You have conducted workshops using different technology platforms. You had to learn how to do that.

Many of you are building branch websites. How wonderful! You are still recruiting new members. New applications tapered off for a while, but in recent months, they are being sent to credentials officers again. I am pleased to learn that you are continuing your outreach in spite of the pandemic. Your responsibilities have not stopped, and you have continued to address them.

Having said that, I trust that you will allow me a point of personal privilege. I wish to thank members of the board of directors, the editorial staff of The Pen Woman, the website manager, and the credentials officers, those who served during my first administration and those serving now, for their untiring work for the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. The board has not had an onsite meeting since October 2019 (thank goodness for Zoom) because of the pandemic, but the work of the members has continued nonetheless.

The three arts chairs have been deeply engaged in the competitions of their past term in office and those for their second term. Deadlines have had to be decided and rules tweaked. The chairs are continuing to engage with past winners so that we can honor them at the 50th Biennial, postponed until April 30-May 3, 2021. They are still involved with planning for the luncheons or receptions for 2021 while preparing for the 51st Biennial in 2022.

The publications chair has been feverishly preparing to reopen Pen Women Press while overseeing all aspects of the League’s publications. She works very closely with the editor of The Pen Woman and other members of its editorial staff, who produce the wonderful magazine each quarter.

Other board members are hosting Zoom meetings for members-at-large and other Pen Women interested in interactions across the United States. Credentials officers have in the past and continue to promptly evaluate applications and work with membership chairs when necessary to assure that new members meet the requirements for the different classifications of membership.

All of these women have active lives beyond their work at the national level. Many (most) of them hold office in their branches. All are very active in their branches, and all are engaged in their creative professions. They are very busy people, yet they make themselves available for virtual meetings or phone conversations with this president and with each other as they attend to the business of the League.

I am very grateful to all of these women who are working diligently to assure that NLAPW continues to be the wonderful organization that it is.

I could not function in my position if I did not have such capable help. Thank you all very much for everything that you do. Thank you also, readers of these musings, for indulging me in this expression of appreciation.

See President’s Letters Archive for past letters.