Friday, 30 January 2009

Our History

Sapphist Writers was set up in 2007 to provide a space where women writers can come and be themselves. Lesbian love poetry and alternative viewpoints aren't always comfortable to air in general writing groups. We needed a space of our own. One sufficiently nurturing (and gently challenging!) to give us a chance to grow as writers, and develop the strength of our individual and collective voices.

A year and a half later we're going strong; our meetings are relaxed and fun but writing matters to us, and we are working towards an anthology of our work. Some members come every month, others drop in from time to time or contribute online. We are always happy to welcome new members.

Our next meeting is Monday, 9th February at 7.15.

Check out our exhibit at the Nottinghamshire Rainbow Heritage Project's exhibition, opening Tuesday 17th February, 7-9pm at the View from the Top Gallery above Waterstone's.

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Our Meetings

Sapphist Writers meetings are about enjoyment, support, sharing our work and ideas, developing creativity, embracing diversity. We’re not about literary elitism, genre snobbery or competition regarding publishing success. Some of us have had some writing success, some are absolute beginners.

We take it in turns to lead meetings, and generally we will read some of our work and also have a go at writing something “on the spot”. This free-writing is great for loosening up our writing and encouraging us to share without spending hours honing the work in private. Of course, no-one has to share what they’ve written if they don’t want to!

Example of a Free-Writing Exercise

This free-writing exercise was suggested by Pam. The prompt was ‘write for five minutes only on the subject of something within your line of sight.’

Pam: Inspired by a notice reading “this machine is emptied every night”

This machine is emptied at night. During the day the coins are pushed and fall, a piling store of golden treasure. This machine is emptied of its rich ground coffee granules gradually through the busy day. Fuelling workers, visitors, passers by.

With huge hot lumps of engineering in a humid tropical coffee plantation the journey begins. Growing, harvesting, processing the beans is Janwine. She works 12 hours through the day and feeds her family with her meagre wage. She gets home to cook, clean, do laundry and hold her children until it’s time for sleep. By the time she climbs into bed she is completely emptied.

Nicki: My eyes fell on a concert poster for "A Sea Symphony" by Vaughan Williams

It starts with a calling to the sky,
nothing to divide the two except a familiar glistening.

A rising and falling, helped by the sun.

Distance can't be understood here. Certainly not speed.
I've never developed the need for sea legs,
not had to wrap my head around knots.

Who would want to sail solo around the world?

I simply want to walk out onto that ocean
towards the light,
onwards, always.

Be my own siren.

The water would never come higher than my knees.
That's how certain I can be I'll keep going.

I have direction now.

Viv: Unfinished poem inspired by the word “workspace”

so does this space work for me
to work productively
create design produce each line
of carefully crafted words

work within my solitary cell
draw inspiration from a well
the words and meaning gently leading
my reader to my soul

my workspace closely lined with books
and files and papers often looks
chaotic or perhaps demonic
not the place to sculpture verse

or worse…

Sandy: Dialogue inspired by a poster entitled “Have your say”.

‘Talk, talk, talk, it’s all everyone does around here.’
‘Yeah but – ’
‘This ain’t a democracy, ya know.’
‘But –’
‘My day, everyone just put up and shut up.’
‘I know, but – ’
‘You’ve gotta just get on with it, right?’
‘I see what you’re saying – ’
‘It’s no good complaining when nuffin’s ever gonna change.’
‘Look, will you – ’
‘Quite the mouthy one, aren’t you?’
‘I’m sorry, have I – ’
‘There you go again!’
‘ – got this right – ’
‘All talk, never stop …’
‘You are the Customer Complaints Officer here … aren’t you?

Rachel: Inspired by the words “3 ways…”

Walking along the road I was thinking...There are three ways I could handle this. I could just come straight out with it, sit her down, get the coffees in and say "I've got something to tell you..." I can see her face now, sudden anxiety, possibilities running through her mind as to what could follow my blunt and clumsy opener. Nothing good ever comes after those words.Ok, on to the second option, skirting round the houses "You know that girl we used to know..." and hope she sees the relevance. No, that's too obscure. Right that leaves the third way. I'll write her a note, leave it in her bag to find when she gets home, give her time to digest it all. But what if she never speaks to me again. There must be more than three ways...

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Thursday, 1 January 2009

Welcome to Sapphist Writers

It's the first day of 2009! What better New Year's resolution could you have than to promise yourself creative inspiration.

We are currently working on a contribution to the Nottinghamshire Rainbow Heritage exhibition for LGBT History Month in February. Under the heading "Every Woman Has a Story" we aim to contribute a selection of short pieces of writing in the form of patches on a patchwork. These can be poems, life writing or flash fiction, but should be mindful of the overall Nottinghamshire Rainbow Heritage theme.

Please either bring finished and printed "patches" to the next meeting or send them to If we can make these multi-coloured and visual, so much the better. Try and keep to a readable font size 12-14 and overall roughly A5 size. Hopefully we can ask for further contributions to the patchwork during and after the exhibition and watch it grow.

So, join us on Monday 12th January for the first meeting of the new year. Email for more information. We would be delighted to welcome new members.

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