Thursday is for writing

My Spanish language writers’ group meets at  La 68 Casa Cultural Elena Poniatowska, Thursdays at 7 pm

I belong to 2 writers’ groups and both meet on Thursdays… a highlight of my week.  The members of one group write in English and the other’s write in Spanish. Both are important to me, but for different reasons.

The great majority of my English-language writers’ group members are women. A few men attend, but not as consistently as the eight women do. We meet in the mornings when our wits are a little sharper. We are in the same age bracket and share a lot of common viewpoints. But that’s where our similarities come to a halt. We hail from a variety of places north of the Rio Grande; we all had different professions. Some have children; there are also some grand children. Some of us are married, some unmarried. We’re all working part-time on our diverse projects: poetry, photo-memoir, life writing, novels, self help… We divide our time between the members who are present, giving everyone a chance to read some of their work. We are not negative and like to support rather than scathe one another’s writing. This is not to say we don’t critique, we do… but we strive for non-aggressiveness.

My Spanish writers’ group comes from an entirely different bookshelf. The women are much younger than me; the lone male is older. Except for the retired doctor, they all work at busy day jobs, so we meet in the evening. Most have young children and many complications in their lives. But they do what they have to in order to come… often they resemble wiped-out greyhounds that have run several times around the track. In this group we read for the first hour. Last week’s selection was a segment of Mario Benedetti’s “El Reino de los Cielos.” Through this group, I have been introduced me to many fine Spanish language writers. During the second hour, one or two persons read their work. The piece gets torn apart. “This is not right!”… “You’ve changed tense!”… “This part should be moved…” “This part – scrap it!” But even though they are terse, they are fair.

To me, the best thing about writers’ groups is that everyone wants to hear what I wrote this week. Most others in my life will run for the door rather than read works-in-progress. I recognize the improvement the others have made since joining Writers’ Group and I hope my writing has also gotten better.

Some members of The Merida Writers’ Group

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3 Comments

Filed under Vida Latina, Writing

3 responses to “Thursday is for writing

  1. That post is full of interesting dimensions, Joanna. I almost wish I could begin being a real writer (instead of a person who actually “poaches” upon the blogs of others) so that I could attend. Alas, too many other unfinished endeavors.

    I’d love to hear more about why the different styles of the two groups have emerged? For example, are the very busy Mexican writers in a kind of hurry, as compared to a retired group of norteamericanos? So many threads for thought here.

    • Well Alinde, most of the English-language writers are fairly new to writing. We formed the group while we were all just getting started. And it is clear to us that we have a lot to learn. The young women in the Spanish language group are not a lot more experienced but they aren’t yet aware of all there is to learn.

      • Joanna, as I’m certain you have discovered, writing ANYTHING in Spanish—for those whose native language is Spanish—follows rules that are significantly different than doing the same thing in English. Yes, I know that is a generalization, and certain very broad concepts apply to both, but it still appears to me that many of the slightly-more-than-basic rules are quite different.

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