In the tried and true tones of a carnival barker, I might ask, “Is everybody Happy??!!” I’ll hope that the answer is a resounding affirmation.
I say so even as just the briefest glance around me reveals, at least in terms of the sixty-two years of my lifetime, that struggle and mayhem of unprecedented intensity are ubiquitous. I always recall what the estimable Joseph Campbell said: “We must participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.”
I am writing first of all to check in about all of the wonders and woes that folks might be experiencing. I’d love to hear from people. I don’t hear much, but I would like to have a chance to listen if ever anyone feels inclined to speak.
I also wanted to let people know that I’ll be participating—as Chapter Chair—in our union’s annual Executive Board/Committee meeting in New York in a couple of weeks. If folks will send me anything that they’d like me to share, in a plus-or-minus hundred-word-package, plus a link or two, I will create a document that expresses “Feedback From At-Large” out of this. Any other instructions or suggestions are welcome too.
Dues increases, organizing strategies, the National Union’s website, and more will be on the agenda. In addition, what y’all think could have a moment in the sun, but only if you care to be in touch.
As well, I wanted just to make a few announcements about what the Steering Committee and the Chapter as such have been up to over the past period of time.
- Solidarity Forever Radio just had its seventh Sunday night broadcast. Listening in and downloading program audio are possible here: LINK, and we’re always hopeful to have callers or interviewees.
- The Daily Links section of the website continues to generate consistent, if modest interest: http://worldorganizationofwriters.org/daily-links; announcements, jobs, and all sorts of leads and ideas are present there five times a week, and folks could list their work and ideas too, if they were in touch to do so.
- The Steering Committee has issued a ‘call for proposals’ from other Chapters for an on-the-ground organizing effort for which At-Large will make up to ten thousand dollars available, if matched from National NWU, meaning that the winning chapter would receive at a minimum a half-time organizer’s salary for a year’s work.
- The Steering Committee has approved the development of a campaign to bring about the release of the incarcerated Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, about which further details will be forthcoming.
- Labarre Blackman is doing some outreach in South Carolina and North Georgia; Sandra Campbell is networking with members and prospects in Houston and East Texas; Toni Good and Mike McAllister are making connections in and around Madison, Wisconsin.
- And your humble, happy Chapter Chair is out and about on similar errands in the wild reaches of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee, along with seeking to expand the scope and increase the reach of our jolly little website(http://worldorganizationofwriters.org) and FaceBook page(LINK).
- As the guinea pigs for proof of concept—and proof of performance—my wife and I can attest that Guardian Media’s new project, Contributoria, is at the very least a fairly amazing venture: it provides networking options, chances to write about exactly what a scribe wants to scribble, and the right to set one’s own level of compensation for the work.
I might continue, but perhaps this is adequate.
Of course, elections are around the corner. I’ve just finished a twenty-thousand-word analysis of this realm of activity, in the context of the United States. Nevertheless, as always, I’ll be faithfully voting on Tuesday. Should we be conversing about such things? Inquiring minds would like to know.
In terms of seeking funding, seeking networks, seeking engagement, seeking punch and power for working writers and working people generally, I for one would like to offer much more than I currently do. But, to be honest, I could use a little help.
I’ll hope to hear from folks; I won’t duck your communications if y’all aren’t too chicken to hawk your ideas with your Chair. Keep me posted, Solidarity Forever.