“This morning, in the fresh field,
I came upon a hidden nest.
It held four warm, speckled eggs.
I touched them.
Then went away softly,
having felt something more wonderful
than all the electricity of New York City.”
—Mary Oliver, from the poem With Thanks to the Field Sparrow
The Promise of Spring
I’ve been having so much fun watching the birds this spring! They are covering my feeders and I’m thrilled to have a pair of Carolina wrens nesting in a flower basket on my back porch. What a joy, to discover Nature’s secrets, then to go away softly, excited about the potential of life to renew itself.
New Classes, New Opportunities
What have you been doing for fun this spring? I hope you’ve found a quiet moment to write — perhaps about a precious memory from your own springtime past. That’s what we’ve been doing in our current memoir class—finding small, vivid moments that speak to larger themes in our lives—of opportunity, of joy, of renewal of faith and hope. It feels good to document the stories of our lives.
Speaking of delightful opportunities, we do hope you’ll join us for a wonderful new line-up of events this spring, starting now! We‘re excited about our Open House & Open Mic during the Historic Home Tour in Riverside and Avondale on Saturday, April 14. We will feature some of our women writers and also invite the public to share their own poetry or stories on the theme of “home.” Come check out the She Shed, our latest art show, and a private tour of the historic cottage at 1610 Osceola Street, featured on the Home Tour last year and site of many of our writing circles.
We’re also pleased to offer a free workshop during the Jax Poetry Fest on April 7, a fabulous guided hike + write + bird-watching event on April 21, and a new memoir series starting May 2 that will result in your very own published chapbook! Dr. Sharon Scholl will be our guest editor.
Check out all the details below and please plan to join us. We hope you find something in our writing community as precious as a nest of four, warm, speckled eggs.
Owner, Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville
Transformative Writing with Addicts
“What are you going to do with all this stuff?” the incarcerated women in our Friday class asked me. “I don’t know,” I said. “You should write a book!” they said. “I don’t want to exploit you,” I said. “But it might help other addicts,” they said. “Or anyone.” We were writing about gardens that day. Here’s some of what they said, in the form of a collective poem.
What I Know for Sure
I love the idea of a garden, and sometimes, I even plant one.
My life’s gonna be different whenever I get out of here.
I’ll get to play softball with my kids.What I know for sure is
I have finally found acceptance, and
gardens are a whole lot of work.
I’m finally aware of everything and I have a clear mind.
I’m going to be a better woman and a better mother.
What I know for sure is
I get to play with my dog when I get out.
Hope she doesn’t get in my garden!
What I know for sure is
I relate plants and addiction.
It’s a struggle.
Some make it, and some don’t.
What I know for sure is
my story isn’t over.
I’m not as good as I’m gonna get
but I’m better than I used to be.
—Collective poem, Community Transition Center, March 2, 2018
Upcoming Events Spring 2018
- Saturday, April 7, 3 p.m.: Jax Poetry Fest. One-hour free workshop at MOCA to support Hope At Hand and the Jax Poetry Fest. We will explore themes of connection and spirit as we read poetry, write stories, and share our words in the setting of this lovely museum. RSVP on Meetup.
- Saturday, April 14, 2-4 p.m.: Open House and Open Mic at Women Writing for (a) Change, Jax. Please join us for this special event during the RAP Home Tour, including an open mic, tours of the She Shed, and a peek at our latest art show and bottom floor of this historic home. RSVP on Meetup if you plan to attend and read.
- Saturday, April 21, 1-4 p.m.: Write + Hike at the Jacksonville Arboretum, led by local naturalist Mindy Hawkins, with birding expertise offered by Jody Willis of the Duval Audubon Society. We’ll explore the many trails, watch for birds, and enjoy the stunning all-natural Florida landscape. Afterwards, we will hold a writing circle and learn fun tools for capturing your future nature adventures on paper. RSVP here.
- Friday, April 27, and May 25, 12-1 p.m.: Fourth Fridays at the Main Library, in the Jax Makerspace.
- Saturday, May 12, 2-4 p.m.: Spring ReadAround and Art Show Finale, with readings by our Spring writers and appearances by our featured female artists. RSVP.
NEW CLASS: CHAPBOOK SERIES
- Wednesday, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and June 5, Chapbook Memoir Series. Create a chapbook from your memoir writings from the past two semesters or based on any work you’d like to collect into one document. We will select and craft our pieces, then bind them in a specially printed booklet. Guest editor: Dr. Sharon Scholl.
ART + SOUL RETREAT
- Friday, June 1, 7-9 p.m., and Saturday, June 2, 10-5 p.m. Take a deep breath and get in touch with your creative soul. Enjoy a Friday night writing circle and reception, followed by a morning circle in the She Shed. In the afternoon, we will head to the nearby Cummer Museum of Art for some artistic expression, followed by a writing circle about our experience. Choose to attend a group dinner afterwards to close the day in community.