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The Nittany Valley Writers Network Newsletter
October 2011

The NVWN is a sharing, supportive, inspiring community linking local writers of all genres and levels of experience:  expert and novice, published and hopeful.


NVWN Meeting and speaker Dr. Hülya Yilmaz on Autobiographical Fiction The 2nd Tues of the month, 11 Oct, 7-8:30pm in Schlow Library’s Community Room.  Hülya will discuss autobiographical fiction, including her work in progress, For the Sake of a Necklace, prefaced by a brief overview of Snow, a novel by Orhan Pamuk, the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature recipient. Hülya, a native of Ankara, Turkey, is senior lecturer in German, Comparative Literature Studies and Turkish at Penn State. She has published an article, “The Imagined Exile: Orhan Pamuk in His Novel Snow,” as well as academic books and articles on the influence of the Islamic East upon the 19th and 20th-century German literature through Anatolian Sufism.

Wed 19 Oct – NVWN Early-Risers Breakfast – Every 3rd Wed, 7-8am at The Waffle Shop, 1610 W College Ave, State College. All are welcome – ask for the Writers Table.

Tues 25 Oct – NVWN Writers Social – Every 4th Tues, 5:30-7pm at The Autoport, 1405 S Atherton St., State College. All are welcome – ask for the Writers Table.

Network News

Submit to “Pastiche” – OLLI at Penn State Writers Group welcomes submissions of up to 1500 words in any genre (e.g., memoir, short story, poetry) for the Spring 2012 issue of “Pastiche”. See http://olli.centreconnect.org/images/Pastiche_Mags/pasticheguidelinesforsubmission.pdf and submit a Word document to pastichesub@gmail.com by 31 Oct. For more information, contactritalouise@gmail.com.

Monthly Forum

Last month’s topic, “How do languages other than English affect your writing?”, spurred interesting discussions at the Social about the need for careful editing (e.g., get a native or fluent French speaker to edit your French), various ways to explicate (or not to) what a character says in a language the reader may not know, fun foreign idioms, etc. This month’s question: “How would you write the next chapter of your life?” Share your ideas at the next Social (or with mts@uplink.net or Yahoo or Facebook).

                                                   Why Poetry Matters              by Zoë Brigley Thompson

It’s autumn and everyone is readying themselves for hibernating through the bitter Pennsylvania winter. Paradoxically for this time of year, I’m offering a column on poetry and new life, my last column for a while, as I am due to have my first baby this month. I don’t normally write personal columns, but I have had to fight to bring this baby to term, and poetry is usually what carried me through the more difficult periods.

What I have learned is that for new life to grow is not always easy. In Tennyson’s `In Memoriam,’ he describes the painful blossoming of an April violet, which is echoed by T.S. Eliot’s opening line in The Waste Land: `April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land.’ The truth is that all living things have to fight to survive, and the other face of new life is loss. As Dylan Thomas notes, `The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ is also a `destroyer’.

Nothing is more beautiful and enriching than watching new life emerge, whether it is a violet, a poem or a child. We can’t control everything that happens to these newborns, however, but must step back. Kate Clanchy writes in her collection Newborn:

When you cried…
It was as if you were a salmon
and our arms were nets, as if
you were searching upstream,
upstream, for the dark pool you came from, for your
proper ground.

Worthy Links

NVWN web page:  http://schlowlibrary.org/nvwn > Nittany Valley Writers Network
NVWN Yahoo group:  
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nvwn/  (see Links and Files)
NVWN Facebook page:  
NVWN Blog (recently revamped!) – 
https://nvwn.wordpress.com/ – email nvwnblog@gmail to get started.
This Month’s Recommendations:
C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers
Funding for creative projects: 
http://www.kickstarter.com (e.g., “Writing & Publishing”)

Critique Groups

All-In Writing – Thu13 Oct 6-8 at Panera – Steve Brezler, scuttlebeez@yahoo.com
The Artist’s Way for Women – Tues 7-8:30pm, – 
CLAW (Creating Literature At Webster’s) – Fiction – Jen, 
W4K (Writers for Kids) – Virginia Loewen, 238-1817, vloewen@verizon.net
Christian Writers Roundtable – Laurel West at 237-3010, laurelwest975@gmail.com 
OLLI Writers Group – All genres – Rita, ritalouise@gmail.com
Memoir Writing Group – 1st Thu 1pm – Barb Foley, knock3xs@hotmail.com
State College Writers Group – Fiction/poetry – Glenn, 234-1949, gbv750@hotmail.com


Programming:  Sally Driscoll (sallydriscoll@verizon.net), (814)231-0913
Technology:  Greg Halpin (gphalpin@gmail.com)
Marketing:  Zoë Brigley Thompson (
Critique Groups:  Karen Dabney (
Publicity:  Bev Molnar (
Newsletter & Social:  Mark T. Shirey (
mts@uplink.net). Send items by the 25th.


Writing is equal parts heart and muscle: the heart to fall in love with a story you want to tell, the muscle to get it done. #litchat  – Susan Orlean (@susanorlean) RT by @lshontz