Writers of Kern Newsletter | September 2022
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In this issue: Vice 
President's Message | Next Meeting | Why It's Essential We Grow | Hispanic Heritage MonthWOK Critique Group Chair | Mark Your Calendar | Sunshine Chair | Nuts & Bolts  

Vice President's Message

          “What’s that?” my daughter asked as she climbed into the car.
          We were headed to the grocery store to pick up some groceries for the week. It was rare that I would be able to get my kids to go with me, but sometimes they venture out when there is something they want in the process. On the passenger seat were some paperwork and a poem I had written in our August Writers of Kern workshop.
          “It’s a poem I’m working on,” I replied to my daughter.
          My thoughts went back to the day before to our last meeting. It was an amazing one where the speaker, our very own Cynthia Bermudez, talked about books in verse and prompted us to write a narrative poem based on a very interesting scenario. So many people came up with some really amazing pieces of poetry. It was awesome to hear the diverse ways they were able to use the prompt.
          “I’m not very good at poetry,” my daughter responded knocking me out of my thoughts. “I just don’t understand them.”
          I raised an eyebrow. I knew that wasn’t true. Poetry isn’t understood, it’s felt. And she demonstrated to me she had some feelings about what I wrote. She read my poem out loud as I watched the road. As she read, she told me there were a few words I could change to make things flow better. We discussed these words along the way.
          “You shouldn’t put ‘stopped’ here,” she relayed to me. “You should use ‘stilled’.”
          It made me smile on the inside as she gave me tips. At a red light, I looked over at her. The spark in her eyes reminded me of the spark that I got as I wrote the poem. While writing in the Writers of Kern workshop, I felt an ember of fire come from the pen as I put my thoughts onto the blank piece of paper. It reminded me of when I was a young girl trying my hand at different types of poetry. I wrote many poems about teenage emotions, of love, angst, hopes and dreams. They were light and dark and conveyed what I felt in my heart when I wasn’t able to tell anyone. Poetry got me through rough times and helped me to understand emotions I was having I felt that no one else could comprehend. I saw that same fire ignite in my daughter as she continued to work through my poem. Though I am not sure she will be a poet or a writer like me, I hoped it would help her in her quest to get an ‘A’ in English like she wants. Listening to her tear my writing apart, I finally spoke.
          “Okay,” I sighed. “I’m a little rusty.”
          She laughed. “It’s okay mom, I see where you were going, and I like it.”
          I smiled. So, after much thought and since I have just completed my eighth novel, I am going to knock some of the rust off my shoulders and get back to maybe writing a poem a week. But first, I’m going to start by making the changes my daughter suggested. She may not understand poetry…but she sure feels it when she reads it.

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 featured speaker is Carla Martin. 

This workshop will focus on using visual mediums as a source of inspiration.

In this workshop participants will:

  • Examine the use of paintings
  • Listen to the life stories of the artists and absorb their colors, shapes, and messages.
  • Write using a visual prompt
  • If you’d like to, share your work

Carla Joy Martin is a poet, pastel artist and piano instructor. After living in New York, Scotland and Pasadena, she found herself in Bakersfield and has been here for thirty years now. She obtained her MA in English Literature from Stanford and enjoys promoting the arts in Bakersfield. She hosts the Dukes Memorial Concerts as well as co-hosts the First Friday Open Mic Nights with Portia Choi. She published her first poetry chapbook, A Kaleidoscope of Love, in the middle of the pandemic. A member of Writers of Kern for many years, Carla is the current Critique Group Chair. She can’t thank WOK enough for all they have done to nurture her talents.

Hope to see you there!

$15 for members and $18 for nonmembers. Click here to register for the event.

Why It's Essential We Grow

by Bob Isbill, CWC VP & Director of Public Relations

          In the words of Dara Marks, author of Inside Story: The Transformational Arc, there is nothing in the universe that is static. We are either growing towards something (life) or resisting growth, going towards decay and death. That is true not only of your protagonist, but also of an organization or a writer’s club. Sadly, our members, like other friends, drop out, move away, stop meeting with us—it’s life’s process. We consider ourselves lucky if we can count on one hand the number of real friends we’ve cultivated. We do not need to abandon the familiar and the loyal in order to enlarge our relationships and embrace new ones. We have the obligation to tell other people about our club.
          Many people have no idea that on a certain day of every month, a hundred-year-old writers club meets in your town or city! They need to know that. Just take, for example, the latest guests who have joined your club. Each one has a separate and interesting background to bring to your branch.
          That’s how we recreate ourselves and develop the quality of our meetings and our structure. Writers, overall, are great people! When was the last time you invited one? Tell them about your website and look at your branch events, past and future. Quality guest speakers like to speak to big meetings. Attendance reflects vitality of the group and excites those who come to hear about us. Increased membership also increases networking opportunities to meet and learn from those who can and will help us.
          We have a larger responsibility than just increasing the numbers and populating our gatherings with lots of people; we have a sizable message to send to our fellow writers and the community: We are here!

Cal Writers Week: Celebrate California Writers

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          Every year from September 15 to October 15, Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by appreciating the community’s history, heritage, and contributions of the ancestors of American citizens who came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and South- and Central America. 
          Hispanic Heritage Month originally started with one week of commemoration when it was first introduced by Congressman George E. Brown in June 1968. With the civil rights movement, the need to recognize the contributions of the Latin community gained traction in the 1960s. Awareness of the multicultural groups living in the United States was also gradually growing. 
          Two heavily Latinx and Hispanic populated areas, the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles, were represented by Brown. His aim was to recognize the integral roles of these communities in American history. Observation of Hispanic Heritage Week started in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was later extended to a 30-day celebration by President Ronald Reagan, starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law via approval of Public Law 100-402 on August 17, 1988. 
          September 15 is set as the starting date for the month as it is important for many reasons. It is the independence anniversary for Latin American countries El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. From here onwards, the independence days of Mexico and Chile fall on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Dia de la Raza or Columbus Day also falls within this month, on October 12.
          Hispanic Americans have been integral to the prosperity of the U.S. Their contributions to the nation are immeasurable, and they embody the best of American values. The Hispanic-American community has left an indelible mark on the U.S. culture and economy.
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WOK Critique Group News

Interested in a Critique Group?

Carla Joy Martin, Critique Group Chair

Mark Your Calendar

15 October 2022
Featured Speaker: Mike Apodaca

From Your Sunshine Chair

The Sunshine Chair sends holiday, get-well, birthday (if we have your birth month), sympathy, and other supportive cards to the Writers of Kern members. Every card each member receives is filled with nurturing, caring thoughts of all the other members of our club. Our cards send rays of peace and comfort to uplift our fellow members' spirits. How do we know when those special occasions, illnesses, or hardships arise? We rely on you, our WOK membership, to alert the Sunshine Chair by sending the information to the special email at
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Nuts and Bolts

New members are always welcome, both Active [previously published] and Associate [not yet published].Writers of Kern energetically assists Associate Members who aspire to become Active.

The Write Way
The Writers of Kern
PO Box 22335
Bakersfield CA 93390-2335

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Edited by Cyn Bermudez

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