Who doesn’t love to be seen and appreciated? This beautiful note from participant Gloria Jorgensen who lives on the Mendocino coast, and placed second in our 2014 Short Fiction contest, is a great reminder of the power of a community of writers to change lives. She writes:
We say it takes a village to raise a writer! Are you part of a supportive writing community? How have you been helped and encouraged? Do tell! Share your stories with us at
My MCWC experience from last year was quite extraordinary owing to the involvement of two special teachers. It began when I enrolled in Norma Watkins’ writing class at College of the Redwoods for two or three semesters. I’d not written seriously for twenty-five years, but Norma’s knowledgeable, positive, upbeat, encouragement helped me tremendously. Thanks to her, I found myself in the Mendocino Writer’s Conference last summer, 2013.
I signed up for short fiction with Peter Orner, a dynamic teacher from San Francisco State who clearly loves literature. During one of our class breaks I mentioned to him that I’d always wanted to get a MFA in writing but they’re too expensive. He replied SFSU keeps the costs down. At the closing night dinner, where he gave a rousing keynote speech, I told him even if I could afford the classes I probably couldn’t get in, since it has been thirty-five years since I was in school, some of the schools I went to were non-traditional and some don’t even exist anymore. He said, if I wanted in, I was in.
Suddenly I had a champion to help me pursue my life-long dream, someone who believed in me, my writing. It took me the entire year to track down my records from the late 60s, 70s and 80s. Meanwhile Peter let me sit in on some of his classes at the university. I was so jazzed I could hardly stay in my seat. At some point he heard me make the offhand remark that I didn’t know how I’d pay the tuition if I did get in. The next thing I knew, I had been awarded the Joe Brainard Fellowship. I had never even applied for a fellowship, scholarship or grant. The letter informing me of the award said how honored they were I had decided to study at SFSU. Imagine.
I cannot tell you how many times I have wept over this process, not from sadness, from joy. On November 28th of this year, 2014, I will be 62 years of age. My life has not been easy, though I’ve accumulated a lot of great material for stories along the way. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I needed help to get here. In addition to the stories I have published in the Mendocino Coast CWC Anthologies, I have just had a story accepted by the Yale University Press. It will come out in October of this year.
Thank you for all you do.