Month: July 2012

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens

Writing often feels like a solitary act, a lonely occupation. Many of us create our best work in moments of quiet solitude, rubbing our tired eyes as we stare at a bright computer screen in a dimly lit room.

But any writer who thinks she can do it all on her own is kidding herself. As author Natalie Goldberg has taught me, writing is a communal act. Sometimes we need someone to help us banish writer’s block or to make us submit that article, short story, poem, or proposal. Sometimes we need someone to tell us to stop talking about being a writer and actually write something for heaven’s sake!

This is why I have a writing partner. For the past month or so I’ve been meeting with my writing partner every Tuesday afternoon at a local coffeehouse. For two hours we just sit together and write. And it is wonderful. It’s hard to explain how much I enjoy our time together, but I know it simultaneously feels like recess and worship. Each pen stroke is an act of prayer and a moment of play.

I recently helped some members of See Jane Write Birmingham find writing partners and blogging mentors within our group. I call this little literary matchmaking program  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens, a name for which I cannot take credit (Thanks, Erin). Last night a few of the women in The Sisterhood got together for dinner at a local pizza parlor. Over slices of warm pie and glasses of cold beer, we chatted about our writing goals and the books we’re reading. We dished about family drama and confessed our Twitter obsessions. And in just two hours we felt like family and were trying to figure out when we’d do this again.

Irene Grubbs, Glenny Brock, Javacia Harris Bowser (me!),
Mimi Latoine, Mindy Santo, Jennifer Dome, and Amber Roberson
Writing partners Mimi and Mindy share a laugh. 
The reaction when Glenny revealed the topic of the book she’s currently writing.

The hilarious Sherri and Irene

Amber and Sherri

Cross-posted (with larger pictures and a bonus photo) at The Writeous Babe Project.

Remembering Nan

The women of See Jane Write were hit with horrible news yesterday when we learned that author, artist, and filmmaker Nancy Stricklin was killed in a car crash Tuesday night.

Stricklin, known as Nan to friends and Nan Lin on social media networks, was an active member of See Jane Write and an inspiration to writers and artists all over the city.

On Tuesday evening, Stricklin died after her car left I-459 near Parkwood Road and hit a tree. News about her death was reported yesterday on She was 31.

Between 2008 and 2011, Stricklin wrote and filmed two short films, wrote five books, and saw her paintings showcased — twice — at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Stricklin had also received recognition for her work with On the Set Summer Film Camp, which teaches children about filmmaking. Last year for the camp she wrote the script for “The Hop Off,” which starred actor Kadeem Hardison. She was working on another script for the camp this year. 

Stricklin was also busy raising funds and creating a buzz for her first feature film “Beautiful Disaster.” The work she was doing to bring this dream to fruition was truly an inspiration and a prime example of her dedication to her art. 

On the homepage of her website, Stricklin left us with these wise words: “NEVER be afraid to live your dreams. Life is but a moment. Make it an amazing one.”  

To learn more about Stricklin’s life and work: 
Birmingham filmmaker and UAB graduate Nancy Stricklin is remembered for her talentsBirmingham Exam: Nancy Stricklin, author, artist, filmmaker