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Monday, May 24, 2010

Pen Women: State Day 2010

On Saturday I went to the Indiana State meeting of Pen Women, hosted by the Indianapolis chapter. We met at the Universalist Unitarian International church in the informal sanctuary, walls lined with art by various local artists. The program consisted of three presentations given by Ellie Siskind, an Indianapolis painter, Sarah Long, a Terre Haute poet, and Daniel Fisher Executive Vice President, New Century Publishing Company, an Indiana-based publisher.

Ellie Siskind, also a very good story-teller, shared her passion for her art through the description of significant moments and events in her life that kept her focused on her work in spite of the requirements to make a living until she was “discovered”. She reminded us that not only is it important to believe in yourself, but also to surround yourself with people who see the beauty in your work and the potential for development.

Sarah Long shared with us a booklet produced by a group of poets in the Terre Haute area. Each contributor designed a front and back page with original poems and hand-drawn illustrations and make 200 copies. Then they gathered one afternoon to collate and staple to produce 200 copies of their book. The book is for sale locally (her poetry group meets at The Coffee Grounds in Terre Haute) and all proceeds go to a selected non-for-profit organization in the community. I really liked that idea and thought it might be the direction to take with our journaling group’s vision to compile some of our pieces into a tangible product.

Finally, the Daniel Fisher described in detail the process of transferring a final manuscript into a book. I knew it was a tedious and detailed process, but for every step I knew about, he told about 5 – 6 more in between. New Century Publishing Company aims to publish Indiana authors, but they are not closed to authors in other locations.

Pen Women is a national organization of professional women who work in the arts. The first meeting was held in 1897 in Washington, D.C. Within the first year of existence, Pen Women had expanded to include chapters across the country including Maine, Texas, New York and California. Today there are more than 55,000 members. Pen Women is an organization committed to their mission of “Mentoring, encouraging and promoting emerging professional women in the arts …”


  1. Note from one of the Pen Women received via email:
    Nice to be mentioned in your writing blog- the church was Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis and the art on its walls is from church member artists. It was a delight to have the Muncie Pen Women join us- State Day is always fun.

  2. Note from Carolyn:

    I think it would be great if we published our group writings and contributed to Haiti . The Clohessy family has a library established in Haiti and their orphanage has taken in many of the children whose parents were killed in Port au Prince. Love ya, Carolyn