Monday, June 06, 2005

Comrades in Pens

At 6 p.m. I was tired, cranky, and ready to roll into bed and watch the finale of Deadwood that has been on my TIVO for a few weeks.

By 10 p.m. I was so energized I knew I wouldn’t get to sleep for hours.

What happened?

Word of Mouth happened.

What is Word of Mouth? Well, it made news last month when the national group sent a letter to Oprah Winfrey asking her to reinstate her book club of contemporary literature. Many of the female authors who signed reside on the East Coast, where the group meets regularly to exchange information about writing and publishing.

Ellen Sussman, whose novel On A Night Like This just came out in paperback, decided to get a group of West Coast women together. Somehow, I got on the list and I joined about 25 other writers at Sussman’s house in Los Altos on Sunday night.

The women were inspiring and amazing. Three had books releasing this week, including Terry Gamble, whose second novel is called The Water Dancers; Leslie Berlin, who wrote The Man Behind the Microchip: Biography of Robert Noyce, and Meredith Maran, who wrote 50 Ways to Support Lesbian and Gay Equality (At Cody’s tonight).

Other authors whose books are hot off the presses included Pamela Holm, who wrote The Night Garden and Martha O’Connor who wrote The Bitch Posse. Mary Felstiner’s book Out of Joint: A Private and Public Story of Arthritis, will appear in October.

Writing is an isolating life, made bearable by the love of the craft, the support of an audience, and appreciation by friends. The Word of Mouth gathering Sunday night was notable for bringing together women from around the Bay Area, women who may have known each other or not, but whom left the evening feeling connected to that amorphous notion, a community of writers.

Michelle Richmond provides more in-depth coverage at her blog, Writer’s Attic, including a list of who attended.

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