| By Elizabeth Fishel
Sixteen years ago when the Wednesday Writers first gathered for classes in my Rockridge living room, we wrote for our own private pleasure. From the cozy safety of our weekly circle burst fervent stories of lives in transition when relationships redefined, families regrouped, jobs shifted, and moves, both inner and outer, scattered us into second acts. Mostly women of a certain age and from all over the Bay Area with lives flexible enough for a morning workshop, we bonded as a literary community and inspired each other to start sending out our work.
Then four years ago our first anthology of personal essays, Wednesday Writers, a fund-raiser for the Buck Breast Care Center at UCSF, landed on the San Francisco Chronicle’s local bestseller list and catapulted us from privacy into 15 minutes of unexpected fame. The combination of passionate personal writing by a group of ordinary women and the book’s fund-raising goal touched a nerve in the Bay Area with ripples nationwide. We joked that, like the British “Calendar Girls,” we’ve raised money and attention for our cause. And we did it without shedding our clothes.
Now the Wednesday Writers are back with a second collection—Something That Matters: Life, Love, and Unexpected Adventures in the Middle of the Journey—that’s a fund-raiser for Alta Bates Summit Hospital’s new Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center. Our territory is the moving target of the middle years, from sex, love and longtime marriage to divorce and widowhood, from raising and launching children to reworking work lives and caring for aging parents—all while savoring life’s pleasures along the way. Heralding turning 40, celebrating 50, embracing 60, we counter whispers of mortality with writing’s reinventions of self. Our ordinary moments become exceptional in the retelling while we strive, in the poet Audre Lorde’s words, “to touch something that matters.”
—Elizabeth Fishel, co-editor with Terri Hinte of Something That Matters, is also the author of Reunion and Sisters, among others. For more information about the groups and books, please visit www.wednesdaywriters.com.
Loneliness | by Swathi Desai
Saturday Night Seduction | by Janis Mitchell
Senior Mommy | by Karen L. Pliskin Veronica Chater
A Girl’s Best Friend | by Karen Yencich
Warm Enough | by Suzanne LaFetra