We are writers seriously dedicated to the process and content of our writing. Some of us work professionally as writers (I'm a developmental editor) and also have different creative genres of writing that we are working on (novels, scripts, essays, memoirs, travel writing, and more). Others work in different professions but have writing projects they are deeply committed to. We also consider the publishing industry and marketing. As your organizer, I have many years in the publishing industry (books, magazines). We encourage, inspire, critique each other, and also network. We meet at least once a month, so far on Saturday afternoons, for about three hours. The focus of our meetings varies from reading each other's writing to help shape it to meeting published authors. We've been productive. One thing all of us agree on is to avoid writing prompts (those workshop exercises that can be useful at times).
I am dedicated to meeting and helping other SF Bay Area writers any way I can. I've been a professional writer/editor more than 30 years and I recall the "tough road to hoe" just getting started.
The one thing all writers I've worked with needed, no matter how skilled they were, was encouragement to keep on with their writing. I live to give budding writers the honest support they need. Writing can be lonely. Writing can be frightening. In fact, writing brings up the whole prism of emotions. But there is nothing like the satisfaction of pulling out the story we know is in us. It is no less art, no less grand and magnificent than Michelangelo's pulling his David from the block of cararra marble.
I've taught aspiring and experienced writers in intimate workshops in Buenos Aires---expats. My writing students came from a broad spectrum of backgrounds. Some were dealing with loss---unimaginable loss in one case---and finding admirable ways to heal through artful expression, such as writing. Others had life experiences that make some of today's best-selling memoirs pale by comparison. They needed to, wanted to, put it down on paper. Still others were world or life travelers who were passionate about parlaying even the most ordinary things into art form. Robertson Davies (The Deptford Trilogy) wrote that art or writing is the glorification of the commonplace. How true that seems to be for most writers: We adore words, turns of phrases, seeing the mundane in a new light, turning a cliche moment into an epiphany---that's a writerly word.
A little more on my writing background: Most recently, I am the author of Tango, an Argentine Love Story (Seal Press, 2008), the travel memoir of "a woman who loved, lost, got mad, and decided to dance." I was an editor at VIA Magazine, the West’s award-winning travel publication, for 17 years. My work has appeared National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Country Living, the San Francisco Chronicle, North American Review, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, Yoga Journal, Vegetarian Times, the Washington Post, and many other pubs. Cookbook credits include The New Foods (Henry Holt), America Loves Salads (Literary Guild), Rodale’s Basic Natural Foods Cookbook, and Tofu, Tempeh, and Other Soy Delights (Rodale). I am the author of one novel, The Last Cannoli (Legas) and editor of the anthology series: France, a Love Story, Italy, a Love Story, Mexico, a Love Story, and Greece, a Love Story, all published by Seal Press. More on me at www.camillecusumano.com. Currently, I am helping clients develop memoirs and publicize their works using every tool available---bookstore presentations, social media, and workshops on their subject area.