Hello, Spring! Happy Birthday, ABQCWC!

Spring is here! Trees are budding. Day lilies are opening petals to a warmer sun. The winds began making their appearance before the snows relented. And here at ABQCWC, we’re emerging from a much-needed spring break, anxious to return to the work we love.

Part of that work is outreach, and for a number of weeks we’ve been devoting a lot of our energy to developing a new partnership with Casa de las Comunidades, where we’ve been coaching students of all ages on writing and writing-related activities. Rather than establishing ourselves as a traditional after-school tutoring program, we’ve striven to develop fun exercises that place students in the creative driver’s seat, encouraging them to take charge of their own learning by actively participating in the coaching process through peer interaction. Still a very young partnership, we’re excited to see where we might take this program in the summer, and we’ll be looking for motivated volunteers to assist us in program development and implementation come May.

Meanwhile, we’ve been strategizing ways to increase our visibility at the Main Library and elsewhere in Albuquerque. We want folks to know that our writing coaches love working with writers on novels, poems, and memoirs, but we also know that everyone writes every day for a number of practical, professional, and civic purposes, such as finding a job, securing a promotion, writing a congressman or starting a petition. We want folks to know that ABQCWC was created to serve all writers, even those who don’t think of themselves as writers at all.

To that end, we’re looking forward to hosting some very practical workshops on resume and application letter writing this summer. In the meantime, we’ll be holding down the fort every Saturday from 12-2pm at Main. Come on in and see us. We’re friendly. We’re free. We’re here for the sole purpose of serving you.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since ABQCWC launched its March pilot project and began providing writing coaching to the public. Since then we’ve held over a hundred sessions with over fifty different clients, and we’re learning as much from serving them as we hope they’re gaining from our services.

Developing a grassroots, all-volunteer organization like ABQCWC is far from easy, and as with writing, there’s always room for improvement. I’m reminded of a great quote by Ira Glass on the struggles of beginning writers, and the payoffs of perseverance:

Glass’ description of the gap between what one wants and is able to write is uncanny, but it’s also slightly inaccurate. The truth is, the gap never goes away. It morphs, shrinks. Sometimes, like a kind of revelation, the gap suddenly vanishes, only to reappear larger than ever and where we never expected. And in the end, that’s what keeps us going. For the committed writer, lifelong learner, and community servant, the gap between what one wants to achieve and become and what one is immediately capable of never goes away. Thankfully.

At ABQCWC, we look forward to the unending challenge of better serving our clients and community, and we hope you’ll join us on that journey. Bring your own gap, or borrow ours. Spring is here: let’s do some growing together.

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Happy Holidays from ABQCWC!

2011 is almost a thing of the past, and the Albuquerque Community Writing Center is looking forward to an exciting new year. As you might have noticed, we’ve taken the holidays off to reflect on our first full year as an organization and plan for our second. We’ll resume services again on Saturday, January 7, from 12-2pm at the Main Branch Library in downtown Albuquerque, and we look forward to updating you soon thereafter on our plans for 2012.

Before 2011 comes to a close, we’d like to thank the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System for supporting our fledgling organization by providing us a home and inviting us to participate in the 2011 Big Read. We’d also like to thank Gary Jackson and Robert Kresge for leading two very knowledgeable and entertaining workshops themed around the Big Read’s book selection, Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Thanks, too, to our excellent volunteer staff, without whom this endeavor would not be possible.

Most importantly, though, thanks to all of our clients for sharing your hopes, ideas, and hard work with our consultants; the absolute pleasure of working with all of you keeps us motivated and shapes our ambitions for the future.

Happy New Year!

Brian Hendrickson
Co-Director, ABQCWC

Presenting: The Big Read – Writing Workshops

Happening this Month. Save the Dates!  
As part of the ABC Libraries’ NEA-sponsored series The Big Read, ABQCWC is pleased to announce it will be hosting Two FREE Writing Discussions/Workshops based on this year’s theme of the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe:

  • Sunday, October 16, 2-4pm at the Taylor Ranch Library:
    “From Edgar Allan Poe to the Mysteries You Want to Write”

      A mystery fiction discussion and writing workshop on perfecting the elevator pitch and writing query letters, featuring Robert Kresge, author of Murder for Greenhorns and the newly published sequel in the Warbonnet series, Painted Women.
  • Saturday, October 22, 2-4pm at the Main Library:
    “Image, Persona, Voice: Finding Inspiration in the Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe”

      A poetry discussion and writing workshop on image construction, ekphrastic writing and response persona poems, featuring Gary Jackson, winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for Missing You, Metropolis.

Both will begin with a brief discussion of Poe’s work and influence, followed by an interactive writing workshop, and will conclude with a book-signing by the featured author. The workshops will provide participants the opportunity to share the work they create during the event and receive feedback from the featured author. And both are absolutely free.

Our writing consultants will be available during the event as well as our regular consultation hours to support you in the writing process. We hope to see you there!

For more info on the ABC Libraries’ Big Read series of events, visit http://libguides.cabq.gov/bigread.

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Reflecting on Our First Month, Looking toward the Future

One Month of Working with Writers
On July 9, 2011 – almost a month ago today – ABQCWC began offering free one-on-one consultations on all aspects and types of writing to the Albuquerque community from our conference room on the first floor of the Main ABC Library in downtown Albuquerque. Since then our all-volunteer staff of consultants has had the absolute pleasure of working with a number of writers on a range of projects, from planning resumes to editing memoirs.

At our last staff meeting, I enjoyed hearing consultants share their experiences with an enthusiasm that reminds me just how lucky we are to be serving the community in this capacity.

For those of you out there curious about what we do but a bit apprehensive about checking us out, rest assured that when you come to visit us at ABQCWC, you will be met by a smiling face and an open mind. Come with a finished manuscript or a vague idea; we’ll support you at any stage of the writing process, regardless of the project at hand.

Volunteer Opportunities
Currently ABQCWC is open every Tuesday from 4:30-6:30pm and every Saturday from 12-4pm, but in September we hope to expand those hours. That’s one reason ABQCWC is recruiting volunteers who are committed to community and civic literacy, can work well collaboratively, and are willing to spend 4 hours per month (2 hours every other week) for 4 months (Sept-Dec) working with community members on all aspects and types of writing – creative, professional and academic. Prior tutoring experience may be helpful but is not necessary; we will train you! To apply, download the Fall 2011 Volunteer Application Form. Application deadline: Friday, August 19, 5pm.

Fall 2011 Events
As part of the ABC Libraries’ NEA-sponsored series The Big Read, ABQCWC is pleased to announce it will be hosting two writing discussions/workshops based on this year’s theme of the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe:

Both will begin with a brief discussion of Poe’s work and influence, followed by a related writing exercise and workshop and a brief discussion on publishing in the genre, and concluded by a book-signing by the featured author.

For more info about each author, click on their names above, and stay tuned for more specific details on each writing discussion/workshop.

Request for Feedback
A very young organization, ABQCWC has a lot of room to grow. To that end, our volunteer consultants are currently developing a body of on-hand writing resources to better assist us in assisting you, our clients.

But we don’t pretend to know it all, so we’d like to hear what you think we could be doing to better serve you through our website and in our one-on-one consultations. Please contact us anytime at abqcwc@gmail.com with your questions, comments or concerns.

We look forward to hearing from you and hope you’ll come visit us soon.

Yours in Writing,
Brian Hendrickson
Co-Director, ABQCWC

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Watch for Announcement

The Albuquerque Community Writing Center (ABQCWC) is hosting its Grand Opening on Saturday, July 9, from 12-4pm at the Main Branch Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Public Library in downtown Albuquerque, NM.

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