An apt and clever title, Harvest The Word. A writer’s symposium was staged in Murphys over the weekend, sponsored by Writers Unlimited. This event was something very personal to me because I know so many of the local writers. I saw this group get started in 1984, and watched it grow. My point being, a small community can nurture its creative community of writers and thrive. I say very personal to me because when I first moved to the Mother Lode, I wondered if I would find other writers to workshop with. What is the library like? I was often asked by people from surrounding communities, “What do you do up here?” Omigod! Everything. There is so much to do in the foothills it makes me wonder why we didn’t move up sooner.
I always wanted to see a Writers Workshop with successful writers teaching those aspiring writers. And, Writers Unlimited, under the guidance of Monica Rose, made it happen this weekend at the Native Son’s Hall.
It sometimes astounds me how many successful writers have come out of the Motherlode and published books relating to this unique area. Ted Laskin’s From The Mines Comes The Law. He is a local attorney.Glen Wasson, a local balladeer.
Glen has a new book out, River Of Skulls.
Over the years, Glen has portrayed, quite humorously, a couple of the characters he has written ballads about, notably Black Bart, the bandit. He writes ballads about contemporary characters as well. For instance a bunch of guys were hanging out at the Murphys Hotel. A guy comes in with a nice gold nugget and plops it in his beer glass and it passes from one hand to another for everyone to gaze and gawk. One guy decides to chug-a-lug the beer and the nugget. Then all hell broke loose. His ballad tells the full story in verse.
Or the ballad about the rancher from Valley Springs who got arrested for “Drunk Riding” when he left the bar drunk on his horse. Was he driving? He claimed the horse knew the way, he didn’t have to drive him.
The Writers Unlimited, for locals who may want to join, writers meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Calaveras County Arts Council Offices in San Andreas, on the 2nd and 4th Mondays. Writers collectively publish their work in a book called Manzanita. A website for Manzanita is: http://manzanitacalifornia.org
As for things to do in the Mother Lode? I attended the symposium to anchor a CCTV local Public Access Station’s video of the symposium. One never lacks for something to do in the Mother Lode.