I was in Atlanta this weekend at the 2013 NGLTF Creating Change conference. I saw and hugged many old friends and colleagues and many former students… so heartfelt for me. Nearly all asked why I retired from UCLA. I’ve thought about this often, both before and after I left. My feelings have not changed. I retired because I was lucky enough to have had my vision for LGBT campus work met. I did what I set out to do years ago: change the campus environment to be more inclusive and safe for LGBT and all students, and to help create a profession in Student Affairs so that LGBT work is respected and valued and that LGBT professionals are not viewed as one-trick ponies on campus but as outstanding, dedicated scholars and educators. Once I realized MY vision was met, I felt I had a responsibility to get out of the way so that younger, smarter people could expand into the future with visions I could never imagine. My life is full today, and because of the amazing folks at Creating Change, I know that the work is indeed moving forward with fierce passion and tremendous self-respect.
This is also a reminder that we older folks need to write our stories so that our young s/heroes know without a doubt on whose shoulders they stand. And to mentor….
The Lavender Desert Women’s Writing Group met yesterday for the first time. Selfishly, I created this group to have some support in writing my own historical novel as well as to support other women with their writing projects. Fifteen women arrived and the conversation was immediate! After 90 minutes of introductions and sharing what we’re writing and why we were there, we developed a plan for how to proceed. Primarily we each want to read our work and have critical (and respectful) feedback from the group. Four women volunteered to read at our February meeting.
The interesting piece was the variety of genre: poetry, fiction, memoir, art, children’s, non-fiction, music. As more women join us, perhaps we’ll break out into small groups by genre. It’s a fun and exciting journey and I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds.
I started a lesbian/bi women’s writing group in Palm Springs. The first meeting is this coming Sunday. It’s mostly to encourage women to start writing or to keep writing, not to teach women how to write. Selfishly, I want this group to help encourage my own writing and to offer feedback. I hope others attend for similar reasons. There are 24 women signed up. Wow! I had no idea that so many of us want to write…and I’m grateful. I look forward to sharing stories among the group, and to bringing our collective words into the world through a group of women who care.
Are you in a similar group? If so, how does it work for you? I’d like to know…
In the meantime, keep writing!
Does the unfamiliar frighten you sometimes? I think fear is the reason why people shy away from change, even if the change is for their highest good. But there are other areas of unfamiliar terrain that sometime temporarily stop me from moving forward. I’m writing a book about WWII and am focusing on some of the children (though fictional) who lived in the towns that were part of the battle field. There’s so little written about these children so I have to piece together what might have been true back then. It’s rather daunting and sometimes stops me from moving forward. I just want to keep researching rather than write. Hmmm….I just remembered….that also happened when I was writing my doctoral dissertation! I became so afraid to write that I simply kept researching. One day the chair of the department said, “Ronni, you’ve read everything there is on this topic. Start writing!” Ugh! But I moved boldly into it and began, and felt good about the results.
Boldly into what you want to write even if you feel afraid…just keep writing.
Happy New Year! I’m so excited about 2013! I have to say that 2012 was probably the most amazing year of my life and yet I know that 2013 will be even more exciting, fun, adventuresome, and full of love and friendship and creativity. This is the year I finish my WWII book. It’s the year my documentary will be completed and premiered. It’s the year Kelly and I travel to incredible places from Las Vegas to New York to the Olympic Peninsula to Beijing and Viet Nam and Cambodia. It’s the year in which the Lavender Women’s Writing Group begins in Palm Springs, and it’s the year my Purple Distinctions self-publishing business will grow, helping so many people achieve their own New Year’s resolution of publishing their books.
I look forward to sharing these with you and to reading about your adventures as well. This is your year to shine. Don’t let anyone tell you differently! You’re worth it!