A Meeting Place


Janie and I are back at the VMFA for our weekly meetings, to write. Last year we switched to a fun cafe/grocery store in Carytown just to mix it up. There was a lot of energy at our new location–Ellwood Thompson–to be precise. We ordered coffee or tea as the mood suited us and sometimes a snack–very organic, very healthy. The energy was good but distracting, so we’re back at the museum.

At the museum, there’s Cloe, the amazing sculpture that we never tire of looking at through the windows of  the Best Cafe. And if we fancy a glass of wine, well we can have one. (Not to be misleading, Ellwood Thompson has a wine bar, too).

We’ve talking about putting some of the starts of the stories that we write on this blog and ask you to finish them. Often what we write is just a beginning of something.

This past Wednesday was Independence Day, so we didn’t meet. And I was too busy cooking on the grill and watching fireworks to jot a single sentence.

Happy summer!


P.S. We have a new dragon story…a sneaky dragon, no less.



Part Three: Then There Were Four

As lives and worlds change two of us have to move on to other things. So we become four women, and we write more poems, create blogs of our own. In my case http://www.gratefullyyourstoday.com , in Glenda’s http://www.glendakotchish.com

Then there are three, and we start writing short shorts, and memoir and more. At our Wednesday night sessions we choose a random topic like fences, or lets do lunch, or something like that. Then all three of us write about it for twenty minutes. We end up with the beginnings of some really interesting stuff.

This goes on for another year or so, until we decide to head off for another retreat at Glenda’s beach house. We want to see if we have anything worthwhile in all of these spontaneous first drafts.

There at the beach we scribble, correct, read to each other. We revise some more and plot and plan until we come up with a format and a rough draft. A manuscript is beginning to reveal itself to us. It is so very exciting, and a bit daunting.

We are coming to understand the commitment that lies ahead of us—researching editors, agents and publishers—revising, rewriting our own, then each other’s stories—formatting and so fretting over detail after detail. We make research assignments and set deadlines. It is an ambitious endeavor.

Fall sets in and our dear fellow writer, Emily heads back to her middle school teaching responsibilities. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that her current life is just not going to let her continue our Wednesday night gatherings, and the plans we’ve made.

Then there are just us two.

Stay tuned for Part Four: We Got a Lot o’ Learnin’ to Do…

Part 2: Then Magically, We Were Poets

So, after learning a lot about our dreams, and having fun at Glenda’s beach painting retreat, the years fall away. Glenda’s career takes a turn as she founds a thriving art studio here in Richmond, and I progress through my career in philanthropy.

And once again we find ourselves back in the same sumptuous blue and green room where we first met to study our dreams. This time we are in a poetry group—six women meeting every Wednesday evening for a year.

We write every kind of poetry one can think of, about every subject six women can dream up. And at the end of that year we decided to compile and publish a book: Room for Poetry. See the page above.

Next up: Part 3: Then There Were Four…

Part 1: Dreamy

Glenda and I met long ago when our dreams began knocking at our respective doors. (Literally, these dreams were waking us up in the middle of the night.) They were so persistent that we both ended up joining a dreaming group, so that we could get some rest.

Next thing you know, Glenda is hosting a painting workshop at her beach house. It was loads of fun and so inspiring—sitting on the beach learning about point-of-view, perspective, acrylic color mixing; then coming back to the house, drinking wine and critiquing our work.

In fact, years later the experience continue to inspire me as I wrote a haiku published in our book Room For Poetry​. It’s called Worth a Hoot:

the reality is
I have to write because I
can’t draw worth a hoot

Janie Wilson

Stay tuned for Part 2: Then Magically, We Became Poets