In the Chair or at the Mic: How Writers Help Writers (a Special Note From Guild Director BJ Hollars)

CVWG Director BJ Hollars, shown here at a Cirenaica Writers Retreat

CVWG Director BJ Hollars, shown here at a Cirenaica Writers Retreat

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that there’s no shortage of writers in our region.  We are blessed with many people who write many words.  So many people, in fact, that’s it’s difficult to find a platform for everyone.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Here at the Guild it’s our mission to support all writers—from beginners to professionals.  While many of our craft talks and retreats are hosted by seasoned writers with quite a few accomplishments under their belts, there’s always room for others.  This is especially true at open reads, where we strongly encourage newcomers to take their turn at the mic.

In that spirit, over the past few weeks we’ve hosted several events that do just that: most notably, “Of Verse and Valor: Poetry and Prose on the American War Experience” and “Writers Read at The Oxbow.”  Both of these events featured a range of talented writers, some of whom were sharing their work for the first time.  In addition, thanks to a grant from the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation, on December 14 we hosted a panel discussion titled, “This We Believe: On the Transformative Power of Words.”  Our panelists came from a variety of religious and scholarly backgrounds and lent their knowledge to a riveted crowd. 

Next week we’ll be hosting our last event of the year,  and it’s our job to support our readers and storytellers.  Whether you’re in the chair or at the mic, we writers are best served when we serve one another.  And sometimes the best way to do so is simply by being present.  Even if you rarely attend our events, I’ll urge you to attend  "Joy to the Word: A Holiday-Themed Evening of Songs and Stories" on December 23 at 6:30PM at The Local Store,  In addition to amazing holiday-themed stories by Sarah Jayne Johnson, John Hildebrand, Kobi Shaw and Allyson Loomis, we'll also have live holiday tunes courtesy ofThe Ukulele Klub.  Enjoy some music, some stories, and what—at least for me—is one of the most memorable nights of the year.

How else can you support the writers of this region?  I’m glad you asked!  Simply click here and snag the inaugural issue of Barstow & Grand.  Credit cards are now accepted.  It’s the gift that gives each time you turn a page.

Now admittedly, that’s a lot of giving, and we want to give you something, too!  To that end, on January 27-28 we’ll be hosting our second annual Winter Writers’ Weekend at The Oxbow.  Featuring an array of writers-in-residence (Melissa Range, Max Garland, Nick Gulig, Austin Segrest, and other guests), the weekend is sure to be a hit.  If you reserve your spot before Christmas, you’re receive a special early bird rate.  But don’t wait that long!  We’re filling up fast!  Click here to reserve your spot today.

From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season full of love, fellowship, and words.

Be inspired.  Inspire others.

– BJ Hollars