National League of American Pen Women–Denver Branch
January 9, 2016
I. Ruthy Wexler called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.
II. Members in attendance were: Andrea Antico, Ruthy Wexler, A. Marie Kriss, Juanita Pope, Atlanta Sheridan, and Kay Taylor
III. No Guests
IV. Inspirational Reading: The topic of the day was “creativity,” so Juanita introduced a book that had been very interesting, helpful and enlightening to her: Creativity, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalvi. Specifically, she told us how the author described, by academic research, a creative person, who traits might include out of the box thinking and behavior that others might consider odd.
V. Committee Reports:
A. Tapestry: Kriss shared that none of the children’s or other museums contacted to date are able to adopt the Tapestry for Peace. Mary Woolling, of the Indianapolis Branch, has worked hard to help the effort, contacting museums in Indianapolis, Chicago, Brooklyn and Boston. Those, and others Kriss has contacted, have common challenges with the sheer size of the tapestry; also, hardly any are “collecting” museums. In view of the recent announcement that Denver Children Museum will be undergoing a sizable expansion, Kriss will be contacting the leadership there to see if a few of us may do a presentation to them, show our video and get a conversation going about doing something interactive.
VI. Old Business: Discussion about needing emergency contact information took place. We passed around a sign-up sheet and various members set down family contact information. It’s a start.
VII. New Business:
A. The Teen Lit conference in April was discussed; it was decided that none of our members’ books would be age-appropriate for this conference, which both librarians and teenagers attend. Andrea is looking into whether her Buster the Bully book would be appropriate for Special Ed youngsters.
B. The message from the national NLAPW vice presidents requesting donations from the branches to contribute to the $3,000 pin for outgoing president Candace Long was discussed. All present rejected the notion as impractical, out of touch and downright foolish. Every member present voiced some variation on the opinion that the money could be used for a far better purpose; e.g., helping members, establishing a scholarship, aiding the organization’s growth.
C. Out of that (see “B”) discussion, came an idea: Ruthy made a motion that we as a branch establish a scholarship for a potential member who cannot afford the annual dues. All those present liked the idea. Andrea and Atlanta had further suggestions about naming the scholarship for members who have passed. But six members do not make a quorum, so this idea will be further explored and asked for input and consideration from members at the next meeting.
D. We discussed our upcoming annual March critique. Through our working partnerships with the Academy of Lifelong Learning and Arapahoe Community College, Kriss will again invite writing students from those schools (and several others) to present manuscripts to us for critique. Kriss
expressed the view that last year’s critique went so well at Candlewyck (the building where Ruthy and Andrea live), that we should h old it there again. Everyone present agreed. Andrea said she would reserve the room.
E. Pursuant to our discussion on creativity, Juanita will be presenting her own play for our program in September 2016 —with members perhaps reading the parts?—as well as an introduction to and a discussion of playwriting.
F. Ruthy shared the latest news about Sophia, that she has returned to the area and is living in an assisted living facility. Ruthy encouraged everyone to send cards and said she would e-mail Sophia’s address to all.
VIII. The meeting was adjourned at 10:45.
Following the meeting, we had an enormously interesting and successful discussion of creativity. This was an organic event, since the original idea had been to bring in art and/or creative writing and react to them, as we did at the Castle Rock event. But this animated discussion brought all deep feelings and thoughts to the fore. Ruthy read from the book The War of Art, which talks about resistance. Then each member present shared her thoughts and desires about particular creative projects. The potential for this kind of discussion was fully realized; e.g., Juanita and Atlanta discovered similar proclivities; Kriss received much encouragement for a passionate new endeavor she’s just entered, being on the board of Colorado Brain Project. Kay shared her experience of how a story can make an impact and her recent efforts on behalf of women in prison and “Ban the Box.” The discussion went wide and deep, ending with members feeling both newly inspired and resolved to help each other. January Jump Start was a rousing success.
Ruthy Wexler, President