One of the writing organizations I belong to, Detroit Working Writers, celebrated its 110th anniversary yesterday with a luncheon in the library of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. My friend Lisa, recently returned from Florida, and my guest for the afternoon, snapped this photo of me at the entrance to the historical building on the gorgeous Detroit River.
Our keynote speaker, Ruth Ryan Langon, spoke eloquently and with warm humor about her start in romance (she’s published 95 romance novels and is a NYT bestselling author) inspired us with her talk “Still Writing After All These Years.”
Sharing keynote honors, Naomi Long Madgett, poet and teacher, now 84 years old, talked about starting Lotus Press in the ’70s for poets of color who weren’t being well-published. Recently Wayne State University has taken over print and distribution of her award-winning press so Naomi can take a well-earned break.
Then of course we had a delicious lunch, and also readings by the winners of this year’s annual writing competition, including me. Remember that little book I zipped together at Fed Ex a month or so ago? I saw Naomi examining it at the book table, and she gave me several pointers on how to do it better next time. This is a woman has published hundreds of volumes of poetry, so of course I listened. Not that there will be a next time, but I did, in the end, after much pre-performance anxiety, enjoy reading my poem, “Africa.” Actually, I liked having read it more than actually doing the reading.
Public speaking and hand-selling books is the part about being a writer I care for least, on par with grading essays and exams. Still, I liked winning the cash prizes very much, and both my pieces were reprinted in the commemorative book printed by DWW. Publication, prizes, and praise are my favorite parts of writing.;-) Well, except the actual process itself. Which BTW is going well. Six pages on the new story this morning!