Friday, October 22, 2010

Next Meeting: November 9 and Writing Challenges for November

November is a big month for us writers. It's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The idea: Quantity, not Quality. Write 50,000 words during the month of November with over 100,000 other crazed writers. The web site is wonderful for tracking and communicating for other participants. One "wins" by completing those 50,000 words by November 30. It's fun and crazy and wonderful. I've done it the past two years, but I am teaching too many classes this year to make it work well.

If you tend toward writing poems, you don't have to wait until April and National Poetry Writing Month. Robert Brewer, the editor of Poet's Market, is hosting a poetry chapbook challenge on this site, Poetic Asides: November 2010 PAD Challenge

So take your pick, dear writers, or just keep writing on your current projects! We hope to see you all on Tuesday, November 9 at 7:00 PM at the Pine Valley Library! Bring along copies of your work to share with the group.

See you then!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Next Meeting on October 12 and Pub-It!

In addition to letting you know that our next Writers' Workshop meeting will be Tuesday, October 12 at 7:00 PM in the Pine Valley Library Community Room, I want to share with you something intriguing that arrived in my inbox this morning.

Pub-It is a new thing from Barnes and Noble which allows writers to upload and sell their electronic books (e-books)--novels, memoirs, poetry, short stories, etc.--on the B&N e-books site. There are no up-front fees; B&N just takes a certain percentage of each sale made (looks like 40% for most books).

This could be a great way to publish that set of memoirs you've been working on, or that collection of poetry. Family and friends, as well as the general public, can go to the site, purchase and then download your e-book, then read it using the free reader, Nook, or iPhone/Android applications.

I've been using the B&N/Nook free e-reader for a while and really like it. B&N offers some free classics and short stories, plus other books for sale, and we can download them and then read them on our computers or mobile reading devices.

So if you're interested in the possibilities inherent in publishing your book/stories/poems in an electronic format, check out this link:
Barnes and Noble Pub-It!

See you on the 12th for our next meeting!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Next Meeting: August 10!

The next meeting of the MECAC Writers' Workshop
is Tuesday, August 10 at 7:00 PM
in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library.

Bring a few pages of your writing to share
and receive feedback on, or
just sit back and listen.

We are all learning the art and craft of writing
together, building each other up and helping
one another to improve our writing.

Come join us! Everyone is welcome,
especially beginning writers or
those who want to learn a little more
about the craft of writing.

We'd love to have you come.
Hope to see you on Tuesday!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Next Meeting: Tuesday, July 13

The next meeting of the MECAC Writers' Workshop will be on Tuesday, July 13 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library.

Bring along a short piece of writing to share and receive feedback on, or just come to listen and learn!

In the meantime, accept a writing challenge: Using at least five of the above words, write a little something, either poetry or prose and bring it along to share with the group.

Beginning writers are always, always welcome! So please join us and bring a friend!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Next Meeting: Tuesday, May 11 at 7:00 PM

Do you like to write?

Would you like to learn more about writing?

Would you like to receive feedback on your work?

Come join the monthly meetings of the

Mountain Empire Creative Art Council's

Writers' Workshop!

We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM

in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library.

Bring a short piece to share (2-3 pages) if you like,

or just listen and offer feedback to others.

Everyone is welcome!

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Family Focus to Art/Writing Conference!

Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council
invites you to a weekend
to remember . . . and treasure:

“Uncommon Community . . . Uncommon Commitment”
(Note: See Registration/Pricing Above for REDUCED Rates, Especially for Families!)
A few months ago, we (MECAC) planned a Workshop for Artists & Writers. A very good idea! I hope you saw the e-flyer. But something has nibbled at my overloaded psyche, and left me with second thoughts about an arts-exclusive focus: Life in the “real world”—the multiple issues that press upon us day by day, and the escalation of national and world problems. Artists and writers, and all sorts of people who simply celebrate art and writing, are deeply concerned about the hard issues that life in today’s world imposes. There is an unending interplay between expressing creativity and handling the ordinary and inevitable hard realities of living.

This leads us to a slight but obvious change of focus. This, in part, is what we want to offer you for a weekend: A way of stepping outside your normal boundaries and busy-ness, to join others who are affected (perhaps unconsciously) or afflicted by the rigors of our national life—Indeed, global life—and want to better understand and withstand and respond to it as creative people.

We often feel torn between our unmet need for creative expression and the rude facts of living in a sometimes “hostile” world. Admittedly, we may feel guilty at times for wanting to run away to a quiet place. (Our artsy self needs tending!) Growing national and universal distress is the elephant in everyone’s living room. Climate change, global unrest, and societal upheaval confront us each morning. Perhaps we would do well to bring our creative natures into a larger discussion of core values, and the problems of today’s very fragile world. How do we live in light of this darkness? How do we respond as writers and artists? How does it invade, inform, shape what we do? Where might it take us creatively? This may be an entry to new life for us.

As people who believe in the value of arts, the practice and enjoyment of them, and their soul-necessity, we can move in small, incremental ways—as people who are not “consumed by consumerism,” or defeated by despair. Consider what some small steps toward inventive living in times of crisis might be. How do we build or join in a supportive community? How do we “tend” each other and care for those beyond us, in a toughening world? We can gather hope from our inner resources, from those around us, and from the wisdom of the past, to create hope for the future. This is Fine Art. Does this sound like a healthy challenge? We believe it is.

Come join the adventure. We will have morning time for art instruction and networking, and evening for fine music. But Saturday afternoon will be a time of reflection and creating our own prerequisites for what it means to us to thrive. Bring your viewpoint and ideas. Listen to what our faculty and your “neighbors” have to say. Something to take home and live well with.

Finally, two new additions: There will be a special track for children/youth, concurrent with the adults! And Mothers’ Day will be honored! All moms (with or without family attending) will be treated to Sunday brunch and a gift to take home. Check our blogsite below for special new registration stats on family options, length of stay and special new pricing to go with it.

For further information, e-mail Susanne at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Arts and Writing Conference: May 7-9, 2010

Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council Presents
"Beauty and the Beast:
Arts In An Age Of Adversity”
A Workshop and Seminar In Literary,
Visual, And Dramatic Arts

Friday, May 7 (5 pm)—Sunday, May 9, 2010 (Noon)
(Optional one-night-only registration is available,
in deference to Mothers' Day)
Pine Valley Bible Conference Center, Pine Valley, CA
“Art is man defining himself.” Ayn Rand ... (Women too, of course!)

We offer you a time apart to rethink, to respond, to recapture. We will hear from those who live with and for the arts. We will share our own journeys and listen to each other.

We will create time for stretching our souls or dabbling in our own medium. We will also listen, perhaps more fully, for the heartbeat of a struggling world.

Do you write? Draw? Paint? Act or sing—or carry your camera with you for that unexpected “Aha!” shot?

Is it an obsession, a business, a love affair, a dream you’ve tucked between your ears, behind your eyes, to consider now and again?

What underlies your doing (or avoiding!) this demanding, enticing, yin-yang work-play?

Is it something you’re burning to say to the world that can only be said in print or paint?

Or perhaps the search for a “place of purity,” of solace, or a steady joy, brings you to the practice?

In addition, the program will include a thoughtful presentation of and response to the theme, above, with the intent of giving personal focus to the call of arts in today’s troubled world.

Workshop and Seminar
Moderated By Dr. Dean Nelson: Noted Author
Dean of Journalism, PLNU, San Diego, CA
Director, Writers' Symposium By The Sea

Guest Artists, Speakers, Musicians:
Dr. James Schaap, Professor, English/Literature, Dordt College,
Sioux Center, IA; Novelist, Essayist, Photographer

George Svoboda, Classical & Flamenco Guitar;
Teacher, Mesa College Music Program, San Diego,CA

Dianne Holly, Freehand Drawing; Norman Daniels, Plein Air Painting;
Susan Raimond, Music Composition (& Harp Concert);
Judith Dupree & Kathryn Belsey, poetry;
Donna Swennes, Fabric Art; Lee Swennes, Wood and Metal Crafting;
Larry McNamer, Front-of-House Engineer, “The Sound of Music”;
Keith Barrett, Stained Glass Art; Mesa College Guitar Ensemble
Tony Neff: Editor, BackCountry Messenger,
will teach a concurrent workshop on packaging, marketing, and publicizing your work.

MECAC, c/o Susanne Barrett, Registrar
P.O. Box 1287, Pine Valley CA 91962
(Registration form available under blog header above this post)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Writers' Symposium by the Sea: An Evening with Kathleen Norris

One of the real treats of being part of a group of dedicated writers is the joy we take in learning from one another. That joy is intensified when we are presented with an opportunity to glean from a truly good writer, perhaps even, upon occasion, a great one.

Such an opportunity will be set before us in March when Point Loma Nazarene University will present its annual Writers Symposium by the Sea featuring writer/poet Kathleen Norris (pictured below).

The MECAC Writers' Workshop will be gathering a group to see Kathleen Norris' interview with Dean Nelson, founder of PLNU's Journalism Department and the man behind the annual Writer's Symposium. Dean will also play ringmaster for our upcoming Arts and Writing Conference in May (May 7-9), Beauty and the Beast: Art in an Age of Adversity, to be held at the Pine Valley Bible Conference Center. (More info forthcoming on this blog as well as the MECAC blog).

If you are interested in joining our group to see Kathleen Norris, on March 24 @ 7:00 PM, please order your ticket (cost $10) here, and then e-mail Susanne at or call her at 473-0085 to arrange carpools to the PLNU campus. We may go out for dessert following the symposium.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monthly Meeting January 12!

Start the new year with a Resolution to WRITE MORE!

Join the Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council's Monthly Writers' Workshop!

We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM
in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library.

Bring a short piece (1-2 pages) to share with the group and receive feedback,
or just come to listen and learn.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 PM --
Beginning Writers are very welcome!