The Ventura County Writers Club was founded in 1933 by four writers in the Ojai, California area. Since then the club has grown to more than 150 members and holds regular monthly general membership meetings. In these meetings persons prominent in all areas and genres of the literary field speak on sources for ideas, enhancing creativity, and getting your work published. Click here for Membership Information...
Now that we have your attention... The Anthology Committee is now taking submissions.
April 2017 Meeting Info
By Constance Mukherjee
April is National Poetry Month and time to congratulate the winners of our 17th annual poetry contest! The Academy of American Poets established Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world, in 1996 as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry. This year, 117 poets of all ages participated in the VCWC contest, including a few international contestants! Canada counts. :) The winning poets will breathe life into their poems during readings at our monthly meeting on April 11. Later, we’ll celebrate with cake and good cheer!
Poetry is an ancient art form, perhaps initially begun as an oral tradition meant to keep stories alive, and has evolved into fifty-five different types of poetry. No matter what type you enjoy, it has been said that poetry nourishes the soul of the world with the flavor-filled substances of beauty, wisdom, and truth. Within the society of poets, there seems to be a battle between what some consider modern poetry and others consider prose. William Wordsworth has provided my favorite definition of poetry and the method by which I distinguish one from another. “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”
VCWC was extremely fortunate to secure Enid Osborn, acclaimed poet from Santa Barbara, as our final judge. Enid’s first full length book of poems, When the Big Wind Comes, was published in 2015 and is set during her childhood in New Mexico. One review of the book states that “each poem…is skillfully crafted from a lingering place where past and present join hands.”
Thank you, Enid, and thank you to all of our judges for your knowledge and love of poetry, and for your conscientious application of those skills to the difficult process of judging. Sheli Elsworth, poetry contest chair, and committee members Shelba Robison and Carol Malone, also deserve our heartfelt thanks for their generosity, hard work, and diligence. And of course, thank you to our contestants for making all of this possible!
Now, time for fun with poetry. Poetry purists, beware! This challenge may make your toes curl.
A poet once said that a little learning is a dangerous thing. Having dabbled in poetry, and dutifully researched Wikipedia in order to write this article, I’ve fallen into that trap. The evidence…I’ve strung together twenty famous lines of poetry to create a new poem. You’ll need the total cooperation of your imagination to fill the gaping holes in the story. But here’s the fun part: I challenge you to name the poet and the title of each line! Happy Poetry Month!
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary
I took the road less traveled by.
By the shore of Gitchie Gumee, by the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Water. Water, every where, nor a drop to drink.
To be or not to be: that is the question.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Come forth into the light.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Not with a bang but a whimper.
Shall I compare thee to a summers day?
Lovely as a tree.
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
To err is human; to forgive, divine.
Do not go gently into that great night.
Miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.
Support Our Website Project!
Ventura County Writers is going to update their website! We're asking our members and friends to donate to this effort, and are offering two special raffles:
· We will draw four winners among those donating $20: a VCWC book bag, two writing books, and a VCWC pen.
· We will draw one winner among our $50 donors. This lucky winner will receive: a free VCWC membership for 2018, a $75 gift certificate, a book of writing prompts, and a VCWC book bag and pen.
You can donate at the meeting or mail a check or money order to:Ventura County Writers Club, c/o Website Project, P.O. Box 3373, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359
You can also use the donate button below to donate via paypal:
March 2017 Meeting
Broaden your Horizons
By Connie Mukherjee
Steampunk. Does the word itself turn you off? I knew it was some sort of writing genre, but the ‘punk’ syllable never sat well with me and I had no idea what the ‘steam’ was all about. My interpretation was that steampunk was for young punk rockers or geeky nerds who liked comic books. Perhaps that’s true, but this category of writing is so much more and has fans of all ages.
The definition has evolved through the years. Generally, however, steampunk is considered to be speculative fiction which uses Victorian era steam power as the jumping off point to create an alternate history had science and industry taken a different turn. Think Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley. Although the actual term steampunk didn’t exist until 1987, these early authors provided literary inspiration for contemporary authors of this genre.
Our March featured speakers, David L. Drake and Dr. Katherine L. Morse, are a married couple who began writing steampunk twenty years ago on a bet from a friend. Thus far, they have written four novellas which have been divided into 160 tales and are broadcast in weekly episodes on their website, http://www.drakeandmctrowell.com. The Adventures of Drake and McTrowell: Perils in a Postulated Past follow Chief Inspector Drake and the physician adventuress, Sparky. The first book of their four novellas, London, Where it All Began, has also been published and is available in illustrated hardcover. When aired on Krypton Radio, the novella won a Starburner Award.
The couple take turns writing weekly episodes, mostly to an outline. If one partner has a great idea that diverges from the outline, they go with the flow. They have termed this process as lobbing ‘hot potatoes’ to each other. Out of this, the couple have developed a signature interactive copywrited writing game entitled the Hot Potato School of Writing.
Their Ventura County Writers Club presentation will focus on team writing and semi-historical fiction. Depending on how much time is available, they would be happy to engage members in an interactive writing game, referred to as literary shenanigans in the steampunk world.
When not displaying their alter egos at conventions all over the West, they are both research computer scientists specializing in distributed modeling and simulation in San Diego. Mr. Drake is a nationally ranked foil fencer. Dr. Morse is an internationally respected expert on standards, but prefers to be recognized for her cookie baking skills. They throw awesome parties if they do say so themselves.
If you are interested in the process of team writing or in semi-historical fiction, please join us on March 14, 2017 to hear our featured speakers, Mr. David Drake and Dr. Katherine Morse. Broaden your writing horizons and enliven your life.