By Sue Cryer




Let’s be honest! There is quite a large chunk of ourselves floating around our written pages, which could make a writer trepidatious when the time comes to share. Ultimately the sharing needs to happen, if we want our material to be read and eventually published. The South Carolina Writers Association 2017 “Big Dream” Conference in breathtaking Pawleys Island is this month, and it could be the perfect opportunity to begin the sharing process. Open up your writer’s soul to a variety of workshops, slush fests, Open Mic, and some steadily shrinking time slots for precious critique sessions. Take a look at the many choices still available while browsing our website. Familiarize yourself with our talented list of invited faculty, including author Jessica Handler.

Jessica has some experience in soul sharing, since she is the author of two compelling non-fiction memoirs based on her own dealings with loss. Her first book, “Invisible Sisters: A Memoir,” was named one of the “Twenty-Five Books All Georgians Should Read and Atlanta Magazine’s “Best Memoir of 2009”. Her second is “Braving The Fire, A Guide to Dealing With Grief and Loss”. Jessica also writes essays and non-fiction features, some of which have appeared on NPR and Newsweek, according to her website. *

What would Jessica choose as her go-to-book on writing? She was kind enough to respond to a few of our conference-generated questions and gave us some insight.

“I refer to Vivian Gornick’s “The Situation and the Story” all the time. This book is particularly key for non-fiction writers, as she makes the distinction between what happened and what you, the author, make of what happened,” she told us.

Jessica Handler’s conference workshops are indicative of her work-ethic and include Research Materials You Didn’t Know You Had  and Promoting Your Non-fiction Book. Both sessions promise to be valuable reflections on the realities of life for an author.

It may be interesting to note that Handler’s first choice of careers was in a less rigid world than that of a non-fiction writer. What did she actually want to be when dreaming as a youngster? A “Go-go dancer,” she replied, “which tells you that I was a kid in the mid-1960’s. I had white ankle boots and practiced the Swim and the Twist in our living room. I thought I was great. My parents tolerated it, but they had great taste in music, so at least I was dancing along to their Beatles records.”

Many of us should be able to relate to those baby-boomer years. All of us will surely relate to a young person’s dreams for the future. If the dream is to be a writer, some soul-searching will come into play. We may wish to follow one of Jessica’s favorite literary quotes by playwright Suzan-Lori, “…dig for bones, find bones, hear the bones sing, write it down.”

The SCWA Board of Directors Conference Chairpersons have worked tirelessly to provide a spectacular weekend of opportunity and camaraderie at The Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort in Pawleys Island during the last weekend of October. We hope you consider this valuable chance to connect. If you are already registered, Hooray! We look forward to sharing some time with you.

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Sue Cryer is the Blog Writer for The SCWA Board of Directors and a member of the Chapin Chapter. She is also a Freelance Writer who formerly worked as a  Newspaper Correspondent and Feature Writer for news media in NY and MA.

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