Arizona is opening after the shelter in place orders for several weeks due to the COVID-19 virus. How are you coping? Are you ready to join the crowds on the streets and in the stores? I’m not. I wear a mask when I’m out in public and keep social distancing within a group. Family and friends from the East Coast and California are being very cautious. Here in Payson, not so much.
My home town of Elmhurst, New York has been particularly devastated, with overcrowding in the hospitals and funeral homes. Family members who are doctors and nurses in New York have talked of the lack of PPE equipment, wearing the same mask several days in a row. Maybe that’s why I’m still cautious and not ready to join the throng.
Are any of our APW members writing stories that have to do with the corona virus? I would love to hear from you. What have you been doing at home? Writing more? I’m reading lots more. I put down one book and pick up another, or turn on my Kindle and think. “I should be writing more not just reading.” Alas, my energy level has been low, but hopefully, coming back soon.
Here in Rim Country we started our monthly meetings via ZOOM and had some good interactions with our members, catching up on what they are writing. I love the way Marsha Ward talks to her characters. This time she is asking them how to end the story. Each author has her tricks to keep the writing flowing.
Our virtual APW Board meeting will be May 30th. Contact me at email@example.com if you want to attend and I will send you the ZOOM information. We will have a virtual celebration of our Communicator of the Year and APW meeting this summer. We hope many of you will join us. We will email you with more information later.
Marie A. Fasano
Arizona Professional Writers
This month has been an interesting one with many of us “sheltering in place” at home. How many more Zoom, Facetime or other virtual meetings have you had? I’m getting quite proficient at Zoom- even had a surprise 90th Birthday party for my husband Mac with his family for him!
Due to the COVID-19 virus issues, the APW Board has decided to cancel the May 30th Conference for this year. We have scheduled a virtual APW Board meeting for that day. Anyone who would like to attend can let me know. I will send you the ZOOM contact info. It might be a way to get more involved without traveling to a meeting. We will announce the Arizona Communicator of the Year. We are looking at some future virtual meetings and will keep you informed.
NFPW has also cancelled their National Conference in Arkansas. A conference will be held in 2021.
People are watching more TV, spending more time getting their news through newspapers and online. Have you thought about sending an article to these media outlets that include information about how the COVID-19 virus is affecting people? There are so many stories out there.
2020 has been designated as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization. Since one of my careers included nursing, my intention for my newspaper column “Roaming the Rim,” in the Payson Roundup included writing stories about nurses in various arenas. In the last article, I covered information about how the coronavirus affects the work of the home health nurse. I have some other ideas for articles because of the current situation. I imagine you can come up with some as well. What’s going on in your community?
Stay well. Keep your distance. Wear your mask and wash your hands often.
Marie Fasano, President
Arizona Professional Writers
In February, Black history Month, I remember the black authors who have influenced my writing and my life. My early thirties were rebellious years for me. I remember reading Maya Angelou’s first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and thinking how brave she acted. I wondered if I could be as strong as she in difficult times.
For writers, we have Angelou’s inspiring words. “There is no greater agony then bearing an untold story inside of you.” We must write. We must put finger to keyboard and “get it out.”
Another book by a black author that had an impact on my life was, James Mc Bride’s The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. I had adopted an eight-year-old biracial girl and I needed to understand her experience. His poignant story told of his mother who was loving and caring to all her children, color didn’t matter. I think of these authors often and especially during February.
On Saturday, March 7th our APW Board meeting convenes at 10:00 AM in Phoenix. Any member may join us to learn how APW plans for the future. Email me if you want to attend.
We had scheduled six members to attend the ASU Desert Nights Literary Conference on February 22. After months of planning, the one day of pouring rain cancelled the outdoor exhibit. We’ll try again next year!.
Our APW Conference plans for May 9 are proceeding. It will be held in Payson. More next month.
Marie A. Fasano
President’s message for November, 2019
In November we start planning for the holidays. Some may have family members over to their home; others share the days with friends and neighbors. Lots of writing takes place even if it’s just in cards and email notes.
This year, my first Thanksgiving as president, I am writing to you, the members of APW, to say “Thank you” for your commitment to your chapter by attending meetings to share your writing stories and learn more from excellent speakers.
We have recruited several new members in Central and Rim Country Chapters. There are new ideas to get the word out about you as a writer and to promote APW. Jaimie Bruzenak, our webmaster, has sent out a call to see who might be interested in participating in developing a short video for YouTube or an audio Podcast. Let us know what you think about this idea.
We are excited to announce our plans for 2020 including:
APW representation at the ASU Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference on February 22 by six members: Jan Cleere, Jody Sharpe, Susan Anderson, Jane Ruby, Mary Rechkemmer Meyer and Barbara Lacy. To help with the registration fee, each author will pay a small amount to participate with APW taking up the remainder of the cost. This is just one advantage of being an APW member.
Plans are in place for a spring conference on May 7 in Payson. More info later. Save the date.
Don’t forget Rim Country’s Payson Book Festival July 18, 2020. Sign up early in January to hold your place.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Marie A Fasano
President, Arizona Professional Writers
September was so busy; I didn’t get a message out. So, I’ll combine two months.
The APW/ANA Fall Conference, “Freedom to Write,” was a success! The speakers were right on with their topics. I picked up insights with each one.
Mark Athitakis gave us ideas on the attributes of a successful freelancer with concrete information about publications and how to approach editors. Jodi Weisburg not only did a great standup comic routine but talked about different kinds of humor with examples of how to use them in your writing. Gregg Leslie and Gwen Larson inspired us with ideas about who will defend the First Amendment and how we can access information for our research.
At our General meeting at the conference we had reports from our Central and Rim Country Chapters. Central is starting monthly meetings again with the first on Oct 12, 2019 with guest speaker Connie Cockrell. (See the October 3 blog entry for more information.) Rim Country continues to conduct their monthly meetings with excellent speakers and some months with the group sharing their writing projects and getting help from each other. The 6th Payson Book Festival is getting started.
The Treasurer’s report showed we are solvent and well within our budget this year. Let me know if those members who were not present at the meeting want a copy of the report. I will send it to you.
Our membership has increased, and we now have 46 members! So, two goals of our current Board have been met – a Fall Conference and increase in membership. Great News!!
We have updated our Bylaws and they were sent out to all members with some comments in return. Since we did not have a quorum, even with proxies, we will vote on the Bylaws at the Spring Conference.
Yes, we will have a Spring Conference, the date to be set at our November 16 Board of Directors meeting in Tucson. That will be followed by a Southern Chapter meeting and get together.
Your President has been networking this year with several literary and journalism groups throughout Arizona getting the APW name out there. We partnered with the Arizona Newspaper Association for our Fall Conference and with the Virginia G. Piper Institute for Creative Writing sponsor our speaker, Mark Athitakis.
We plan to give scholarships to students in the field of communications and honor them at the Spring Conference.
We were honored to have Gwendolynne Larson, our NFPW President, attend our Fall Conference. Gwen interacted with our members and talked about NFPW as a Federation rather than an Association. It is an organization, comprised of a set of smaller affiliates which seeks to bring attention to issues that are of importance to its members. Each affiliate that comprises the federation maintains control over its own operations. She encouraged members to join the First Amendment Network to keep abreast of free speech issues. She also encouraged us to get involved in the NFPW Communications Contest.
NFPW Communications Contest
We encourage our members to participate in the “At Large” section of the 2020 annual National Federation of Press Women’s communications contest because APW currently does not have its own state contest. The contest is open to writers, authors, copy editors, public affairs professionals, photographers, publishers or others in the communications field. Entries must be published in 2019. If you win first place in the “at large” contest, you must join NFPW to advance to the national level. Check the NFPW website for more information.
There are over 120 categories and sub-categories! Some forget we are an affiliate of a national organization and that membership allows us to participate in this prestigious contest – a major benefit to our members. In 2019 four members won awards. Let’s increase that number in 2020.
We also plan to have an Arizona Communicator of Achievement Award, so be thinking of who you want to nominate.
As you can see, APW is the move. We have much to offer to members and to the community. If you have been inactive for awhile, won’t you come to one of our meetings and get involved?
Marie A. Fasano
President, Arizona Professional Writers
The Arizona Professional Writers Group is reawakening and moving on. We have new members who are excited to be a part of this eclectic group of writers. While there are many writers groups in Arizona, each with their own genre and interest, our group welcomes all writers, both professional and those trying out their craft. Members can attend monthly chapter meetings as well as our annual state conference.
Monthly Chapter Meetings
In Payson, and now again in Phoenix, we have monthly chapter meetings with invited guests to share their specialty. At chapter meetings we also share our current writing projects and learn from each other. We reach out into the community to share our love of the writing process to work with children in various literacy projects. Contact Barbara Lacy in Phoenix at firstname.lastname@example.org or, in Payson, contact Connie Cockrell at email@example.com. Announcements of meetings are posted on our blog at https://arizonaprofessionalwriters.org/ and you can “follow” and receive alerts when something is posted; or follow us on Facebook and receive updates and meeting announcements that way. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArizonaPressWomen/
Fall State Conference
For our fall conference, we have a variety of workshop speakers. As an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women, NFPW, we are thrilled that the President of this prestigious organization, Gwen Larson, has agreed to come to Arizona to meet our members. We want you to step up and be present for the conference on Saturday, September 28 at the Wild horse Pass Casino in Chandler. Registration is open on our website at arizonaprofessionalwriters.org.
We will first have a membership meeting; you’ll be sent an agenda prior to that. Let me know if there is any topic that you want to bring up at the meeting. One order of business is to vote on the revised and updated Bylaws that have been completed. You’ll receive a copy to review before the conference, so you have time to read it.
For our program, we’ll be offering several topics of importance to writers. A critical topic is “First Amendment Rights.” First Amendment Rights are everything to a writer. We have the perfect workshop for you with experts in their fields. Gregg Leslie is the executive director of the First Amendment Clinic at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Gwen Larson represents the First Amendment Network at the NFPW.
I want to remind you of the NFPW Code of Ethics to review and think about. It is one of the reasons I chose to have speakers on the First Amendment at the conference.
NFPW Code of Ethics
As a professional communicator, I recognize my responsibility to the public which has placed its trust and confidence in my work, and will endeavor to do nothing to abuse this obligation.
With truth as my ultimate goal, I will adhere to the highest standards of professional communication, never consciously misleading reader, viewer, or listener; and will avoid any compromise of my objectivity or fairness.
Because I believe that professional communicators must be obligated only to the people’s right to know, I affirm that freedom of the press is to be guarded as an inalienable right of the citizens of a free society.
I pledge to use this freedom wisely and to uphold the right of communicators to express unpopular opinions as well as the right to agree with the majority.
Do you want to bring in more money writing? Mark Athitakis, who has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years and contributed to publications including the Washington Post, New York Times and LA Times, will show you how.
Writers all need comic relief now and then so we have invited Jodi Weisberg, stand-up comic and former Bureau Chief and legal reporter for the Arizona Journal, and retired lawyer, to help us include humor in our writing.
Kristin Gilger, senior associate dean in charge of professional programs for the ASU Cronkite School and co-author of There’s No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned about What It Takes to Lead, will share her insights.
I’m looking forward to filling our venue with members, friends and students. Students of English and journalism are invited to attend at a reduced rate. Register at arizonaprofessionalwriters.org. Click on the tab that says “Fall Conference.”
Marie A. Fasano
Arizona Professional Writers, President
Most of July was spent getting ready for the APW Rim Country Payson Book Festival July 20.
It was a wonderful success. The new Kids Zone had dozens of little ones giggling with the puppet show and lots of smiles from the parents. The workshops, especially the favorites, Marshal Trimble, Arizona’s Historian, and Buckshot Dot, with her songs and poetry, played to a packed room. The 90-plus authors sold many books and enjoyed talking with their readers.
I ran around handling AV snafus and any other problem that came along. It was a fun and exhausting day that we plan to repeat next year.
Now on to the fall conference – FREEDOM TO WRITE – at the Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler…. SAVE THE DATE Saturday, 28, 2019. Registration will be through Eventbrite.com.
The Presenters are all set. We are so pleased that Gwen Larson, our NFPW President, will be there to speak to our members in the morning and in the afternoon to share a panel on First Amendment Advocacy. She will be joined on the panel by Gregg Leslie, the executive director of the First Amendment Clinic at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, on the topic Who Will Defend the First Amendment?
At the request of members, Mark Athitakis will present Writing for Free? How to Make Money in Today’s Media Market. For a little levity in the program, we have invited APW member Jodi Weisberg to present a stand-up comic routine – Freedom to be Funny: Stand Up or Sit Down & Write.
For our luncheon speaker The Arizona Newspaper Association brings Matt Adelman, incoming President of the National Newspapers Association, to discuss current issues facing journalists. To round out the day, Kristen Gilger, senior associate dean in charge of professional programs for the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, will speak on the topic of Women in Journalism.
We haven’t had a conference in a few years, so I am excited to meet one of my goals as President and, together with the Board of Directors, bring you this fabulous line-up of speakers in our joint conference with ANA.
As a final note, I will be attending the memorial service for Bing Brown on Saturday 10:00 am August 24 at the Community Presbyterian Church in Payson. It would be wonderful for Carol if she could see some of her APW friends in attendance as well.
Enjoy the rest of the summer.
Marie A. Fasano