VoiceCatcher is open for submissions until May 15

VoiceCatcher is seeking submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and art for our summer 2016 issue. Visit the journal site for full submission guidelines, and read the most recent issue to get a sense of what we look for. Below, meet the editorial team that will be working on the upcoming issue!

The Summer 2016 Issue Editorial Team

Sara-Bednark

Young Voices editor Sara Bednark has been writing off and on since a hastily written play she wrote in 9th grade received these words of encouragement, “How wonderfully absurd!” For twenty-five years writing has confounded, delighted and been her connection to voice. Sara has written and self-published two picture books; owned, edited and wrote for a tabloid newspaper; and is currently working on a middle grade novel. Her pieces can be read in Elohi Gadugii Journal and Typehouse Literary Magazine.

 

Sarah-Brenner

Poetry editor Sarah Brenner writes poetry and hybrid essays in and around Portland, Ore., while battling a crippling book addiction. A graduate of Bennington College, she has studied with April Bernard, Mark Wunderlich and Peter Sears. Her day job allows her to promote and facilitate community arts programs, and in her spare time she obsessively follows her favorite podcasts and makes friends with other animals.

SarahFaganReturning art editor Sarah Fagan received a bachelor’s in Fine Arts and English Literature from Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts. She worked as an editor for a New England arts magazine before relocating to Portland, Oregon in 2009. Here she decided to concentrate on making her own artwork by attending a certificate program at the Oregon College of Art and Craft where she studied bookbinding and painting. In Portland, Sarah developed a curriculum of arts classes that she taught to children at schools, libraries and other venues. When not teaching, she is painting – her forté is the contemporary still life. For 2015-16, Sarah will be the Umbrella Institute’s Artist-in-Residence in Concord, Mass.

Michelle-updated

Managing editor Michelle Fredette has served as a past prose editor with VoiceCatcher and is a current member of the board of directors. She fell in love with literary journals during high school, sitting on the floor of her mom’s cube at Writer’s Digest. Since then, she’s been able to indulge this love as a reader for Ploughshares and Black Warrior Review, and as fiction editor for Oxford Magazine and New Orleans Review. Her writing includes short stories and the occasional non-fiction piece. She’s currently chipping away at a novel about roller derby.

Tanya-Jarvik

Prose editor Tanya Jarvik has worked as a freelance editor for the past fifteen years. She has also taught composition, poetry, fiction, and memoir writing. Tanya’s poetry and prose have appeared in VoiceCatcher, The Manifest-Station, The Open Face Sandwich, the Enter at Your Own Risk anthology series and elsewhere. One of her favorite gigs is writing a pseudonymous advice column for people in alternative relationships

 

Juleen-Johnson-croppedforweb

Poetry editor Juleen Johnson is a co-founder of Soundings: An Evening of Word and Sound. Johnson has been invited to read at: BuzzPoems, Ink Noise Review, Open Door Enjambment, Penduline Poetry Series and Word Warriors. She won first place in the Voices Poetics Poetry Contest. Her poems have been published in printed publications, including Cirque: A Literary Journal, Nervous Breakdown, The Rio Grande Review, Rust and Moth, The Round and other journals. Johnson currently writes and creates art in Portland, Ore.

 

VoicecatcherAssistant managing editor Jennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist-poet who lives and writes in Portland. Her work has most recently appeared in Rain, the Kerf, Medical Literary Messenger, and We’Moon and has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake, The Poetry Box and VoiceCatcher. Jennifer’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and translated into German.

Emily-Ransdell

 

Poetry editor Emily Ransdell holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Montana.  Her poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, Whitefish Review, Hamilton Stone Review0 and elsewhere. Emily divides her time between Camas, Wash. and the North Oregon Coast, where she is a coordinator of the Manzanita Writers’ Series annual PoetryFest.

 

 

_NewHat

First appearing in the Summer 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher, journal designer and administrator Shawn Aveningo Sanders is an award-winning, globally published poet whose work has appeared in over 90 literary journals and anthologies, including LA’s poeticdiversity – which recently nominated her poetry for a Pushcart Prize. She is co-founder of The Poetry Box® and managing editor of The Poeming Pigeon. Shawn is a proud mother of three who shares in the creative life with her husband in Beaverton, Oregon.

Nikki-Schulak-VC

 

Prose editor Nikki Schulak writes and performs comedy about bodies and relationships. Her work has been published in numerous journals and websites, most recently at Full Grown People. She had essays included in VoiceCatcher 3 and VoiceCatcher 5 and served as an assistant prose co-editor for Voice Catcher 6. Her essay “On Not Seeing Whales” (Bellevue Literary Review) was chosen as a Notable Selection in Best American Essays 2013. Her most recent tattoo is an ampersand.

Desiree-Wright

Prose editor Desiree Wright started writing at age 6: handmade books of horse names, rhyming poetry and short stories. She paused her storytelling to entertain locals in Tonga with her bad accent and refusal to do karaoke. She is mother to two super-cool humans, two dogs, a flock of chickens and one naughty cat. She never finished her graduate degree and has no regrets. She recently renewed her vow to say “I am a writer” without any explanation.

 

Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities

The Five-Minute Experiment
by Kari Pederson

This time of year makes me feel tired. Perhaps my circadian rhythms are adjusting to less daylight or my body is preparing for cold weather hibernation. Or maybe I feel weary because of a seemingly endless to-do list. For many of us, late autumn can be a hectic season. Nonetheless, my tempo has shifted, and my body and spirit definitely want to move more slowly.

As I was attempting another internal pep talk to feel energized, two intriguing questions popped out of my subconscious. Why not embrace this new rhythm and allow myself to slow down? And, how could I use this slower pace to my advantage?

The practice of mindfulness has been around for eons and is often considered a type of meditation. Instead of traditional meditation where you try to quiet your mind, the goal of mindfulness is to put your complete focus on whatever is happening in the present moment. Think of it as immersing yourself in a situation and getting everything you can out of the experience. Pay close attention to anything you see, hear, smell, taste, touch, feel – experience. If your focus wanders, gently bring your awareness back to the present moment.

Mindfulness has been linked to improvements in health, working memory, creativity, cognitive flexibility, insight and productivity. My inner writer and artist could sure use more of those enhancements! However, my biggest perk from experimenting with mindfulness has been how much more I enjoy previously mundane activities. My daily walk to the streetcar stop has transformed from a chore into a satisfying journey.

I ignored the potential benefits of mindfulness for a long time because I feared the process might be complicated or time-consuming. In reality, I have discovered endless opportunities to practice mindfulness and just five minutes is enough to reap positive benefits. Every moment in your day is right for mindfulness, including ordinary experiences or special events.

For those of you who already have a full schedule, I am not suggesting you quit your job, stop parenting, or throw your responsibilities out the window. Although right now, three weeks in the French Riviera sounds pretty good to me. I am suggesting you take five minutes every day to practice mindfulness, whenever or wherever it feels good to you.

Let your creativity go wild and design your own mindfulness moments, or try some of the options listed below. Remember you cannot do this practice incorrectly, and your goal is simply to focus on the present moment as much as you can.

Need help getting started? Practice mindfulness by doing any of these activities:

  • Color a page of an adult coloring book with colored pencils.
  • Ask a friend to share a favorite story and listen more than you talk.
  • Nibble on your favorite mini-candy bar for at least five minutes.
  • Play music that makes you tap your toes or sway with the beat.
  • Make the perfect cup of coffee or tea and pay attention to every sip.
  • Cuddle with a loved one or a furry friend. Repeat often.
  • Browse at Powell’s Books, Blick Art Materials, or another favorite store.
  • Watch the last few minutes of a sunset or sunrise.
  • Use sidewalk chalk to create a masterpiece in an unexpected place.
  • Pick your clothing or accessories with care.
  • Explore new products at the grocery store. Bring one home.
  • Build a creation out of Legos, paper clips or coins.
  • Smile at the next ten people who make eye contact.
  • Walk a labyrinth or a favorite trail. Walk slowly.
  • Take a little extra time with a hot bath or shower.
  • Count the raindrops you can hear or feel.
  • Repeat a tongue twister to yourself or practice an impression.
  • Stand up and stretch. Feel each muscle expand or contract.
  • Chop veggies or mix up a cake by hand.
  • Thank someone for his or her help or inspiration.

In addition to all the benefits already touched on, mindfulness is effective and efficient self-care. Artists give a lot of themselves by creating their art and sharing it with others. Sometimes we need to recharge our physical and emotional batteries. Mindfulness gives us a great excuse to focus on ourselves for a few minutes and enjoy whatever task is at hand.

** If anyone is willing to post a reply to this article, we would love to hear about the results of your mindfulness experiment.

Kari Pederson Age 6

Kari Pederson
Age 6

Kari Pederson, MSW, LCSW, is a writer, clinical social worker and wellness coach who has worked with children and adults for over 25 years. An avid student of positive psychology, she loves helping people live their best lives. Kari is a new writer to VoiceCatcher’s community website and thrilled to be part of its mission. This is the ninth installment in her series, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities.

 

A Woman’s Poet: Kristin Roedell

Kristin Roedell

Kristin Roedell

This Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, VoiceCatcher Kristin Roedell is the featured reader at the Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, held at the Angst Gallery, 1015 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660, 7:00 p.m. Meanwhile, fellow VoiceCatcher Tammy Robacker caught up with Kristin last month to talk about her newly released collection of poetry, Downriver; her creative writing process; and what is on her horizon.

Kristin Roedell graduated from Whitman College with a bachelor’s in English in 1984, and from the University of Washington Law School in 1987. She practiced family law for 13 years in the Pacific Northwest. Her poetry has been published in more than 50 journals and books since 2009, including The Journal of the American Medical Association, Switched on Gutenberg, Ginosko, CHEST, Tacoma City Arts, Soundings Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Sierra Nevada Review. She is the author of a chapbook (Girls with Gardenias, 2012, Flutter Press), and a full-length poetry collection (Downriver, Aldrich Press, 2015.) She has been nominated for Best of the Web and the Pushcart Prize, was the 2013 winner of NISA’s 11th Annual Brainstorm Poetry Contest, and was a finalist in the Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest. She lives in Lakewood, Washington with her husband and daughter, and she enjoys traveling overseas.

Tammy Robacker

Tammy Robacker

Tammy Robacker: In Downriver, you write a lot about family – your mother and daughters, in particular. Why do they feature so prominently in the poems?

Kirstin Roedell: I’ve been called a “woman’s poet,” and although I do try to write poems that relate to the human experience as a whole, my poems come from a very deep, female place. I write my poems in the quiet, when I am alone, and I write to process the past. One day a friend of mine suggested that I share my story. I sent out some of my work, and found that it speaks to other women. I learned that a simple but powerful commonality exists between mothers and daughters, and that we are a community. It takes courage to love, and that courage can arise from the knowledge that we are not alone.

TR: Many of the poems in Downriver incorporate the natural realm as your metaphor to speak about life, loss or courage. Why is that?

KR: As a child I spent a great deal of time reading; I took my books outdoors, where a peace existed that was not present in my home. I found comfort in the natural rhythms around us; at heart our experiences are not so unusual. They echo the simplicity of our surroundings. It comforts me to think that nothing is so new that it does not resonate and reverberate with the natural realm.

TR: As a VoiceCatcher poet, how does sense of place and the geography of Washington and Oregon figure into your poetry?

KR: I live in the Northwest, and believe that the place where we are born creates a lasting connection. I feel a kinship with the Northwest tides and shores. The animals here speak to me, the whales and seals and shellfish. I love the sound of the gulls and the salt spray that exists only here, in this green place we call home.

TR: Would you tell us about your personal poetry-writing process?

KR: I write in the silence, wherever I can find it. Sometimes this is late at night while my husband and daughter are asleep, and often it is when they are both out, busy with their own pursuits.

TR: What is next on the horizon for you and your poetry? Are there any new book ideas in the hopper for you?

KR: Right now I’m trying to accumulate a newer body of work; most of the work I’ve written in the past has been based on the growth of my young family, but now that my daughters have left home, I am learning what it is to be an older woman. There are challenges that come with this new place that I now inhabit, and I want to express that.

This Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, VoiceCatcher Kristin Roedell is the featured reader at the Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic held at the Angst Gallery, 1015 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660, 7:00 p.m.

Catch These Voices and Visions

Poems About FoodTonight! All are invited to The Poeming Pigeon: Poems About Food book launch! The celebration opens with a poem by Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita Paulann Petersen. The launch also features VoiceCatchers Carolyn Martin, Cathy Cain, Claudia F. Savage, Elizabeth Moscoso, Tammy Robacker, Shawn Aveningo and Tricia Knoll, among others.

The Poeming Pigeon: Poems About Food
Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Ford Food and Drink
2505 SE 11th Street (at Division)
Portland, OR 97202

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Of Course I'm a Feminist!The Milwaukie Poetry Series sponsors a sampling of voices published in Of Course, I’m a Feminist, a collection of voices of 18 Portland sister poets. Scheduled readers include VoiceCatchers Shawn Aveningo, Brittney Corrigan, Tricia Knoll and Sharon Wood Wortman. An open mic extending the feminist theme follows the scheduled readers.

Of Course, I’m a Feminist – Readings and Open Mic
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
The Ledding Library Pond House
2215 SE Harrison (adjacent to the Ledding Library)
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Contact Tom Hogan 503-819-8367, tomhogan2@comcast.net to sign up for the open mic.

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Polish your skills as a presenter and public reader through the Toastmasters program. Unique among Toastmasters clubs, the Vancouver Thrill of the Quill club caters to writers. VoiceCatcher Barbara E. Berger invites you to come to a meeting, and consider forming a satellite club with her in Portland (contact her). Thrill of the Quill usually meets the first Saturday of each month (check their website calendar for exceptions). All are welcome to attend; no admission charge.

Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters Club
Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, 8:30–10:00 a.m.
Courtyard Village
4555 NE 66th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98661
360-606-9306

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Anthology Cover by Sarah FaganVoiceCatcher cordially invites you to attend our 10th Anniversary Celebration & Book Launch. Join us for food, drinks, artwork and literary readings featuring women of VoiceCatcher. If you have not already done so, please click HERE to RSVP for this event. If you plan to bring a guest, please mention so in the “message to the host” space on the RSVP (registration) page.

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015
7:00 p.m. (reading starts at 7:30)
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
8371 N Interstate Ave.
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 286-9449

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Liz PratoPlonk is a new Wednesday night reading series at Corkscrew Wine Bar, 1655 SE Bybee, Portland, Oregon. VoiceCatcher editor Michelle Fredette organizes the series. The events are 7:00 p.m. Free admission and open to the public. Dec. 2 features VoiceCatcher Liz Prato.

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Click here for the updated calendar of readings and other events from VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

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Click here for the contact form to let us know of other offerings you or other VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!

VoiceCatcher Reading at Stonehenge Studios, Nov. 8, 2015

All are invited to hear these contributors to VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. 

stonehenge_studio

Sunday, November 8, 2015
7:00–9:00 p.m.
Stonehenge Studios
3508 SW Corbett Avenue
Portland, OR 97239

 

Cathy Cain is a writer, painter and printmaker whose work appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She was a 2014-15 Atheneum Fellow in Poetry at the Attic Institute, as well as a Poet’s Studio member there from 2012-14. She has also benefited from numerous Mountain Writers’ workshops. Her work has appeared in VoiceCatcher and Poeming Pigeons. Cathy is finalizing her book-length poetry collection tentatively titled Alive All At Once and is a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher. She has enjoyed being part of Portland’s writing community.

Juleen Johnson was published in the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She is also a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher. She is co-founder of Soundings: An Evening of Word and Sound. Juleen has been invited to read at BuzzPoems, Ink Noise Review, Open Door Enjambment and Cirque in Portland, Oregon. In California, she has read at the Steinbeck Museum, Hartnell College, Steinbeck Library and CSU Monterey Bay. Juleen attended the Wassaic Residency in Wassaic, New York. Her poems have appeared in print publications, including Cirque: A Literary JournalInk Noise ReviewSymmetryNervous BreakdownThe Rio Grand Review and Buried Letter Press. Juleen currently writes and creates art in Portland.

Darla Mottram’s work appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher. She is a soon-to-be graduate of Marylhurst University. Her work has recently been featured in NAILED Magazine, among others, and is forthcoming at The Birds We Piled Loosely. She is a co-founder of the social practice project Put-Pockets (put-pockets.tumblr.com), a blog that documents creative ways of putting poetry into the world.

Jennifer Kemnitz lives and writes in Portland. She is a great defender of plant life and can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Her work has appeared in the KerfVoiceCatcher and We’Moon, and has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and The Poetry Box. She is a reader for We’Moon, and is proud to serve as a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. Jennifer’s work appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland poet. Her work appears in numerous journals. A chapbook Urban Wild is out from Finishing Line Press. Ocean’s Laughter, poetry about Manzanita, Oregon, will be published by Aldrich Press in December 2015. Her work is forthcoming in the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher.

 

 

VoiceCatcher thanks Stonehenge Studios for hosting this event.

VoiceCatcher Prints 10-Year Anthology!

She Holds the Face of the WorldPre-Order Your Copy Today and Get a Pre-Release Discount!

From 2005 through 2015, VoiceCatcher has lifted the voices of hundreds of women by publishing their poetry, fiction, nonfiction and artwork in six VoiceCatcher print anthologies and seven online issues of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

With over 80 stories and poems, She Holds the Face of the World is a print collection of some of the most compelling works VoiceCatcher has published in the last decade. We invite everyone – men, women, young and old – to grab their favorite beverage, get comfortable in their favorite reading chair, and peruse these pages that celebrate women from all walks of life: their stories, their heartbreak, their humor, their courage and their strength.


She Holds the Face of the World: Ten Years of VoiceCatcher is available to order at our pre-release discount price of $15 through November 10, 2015. (Regular price is $20) Click here to order.

You can choose to pick up your copy(s) at our year-end celebration and book launch in Portland, Oregon, on December 1, 2015, or have your book(s) shipped directly to you. More information about the year-end celebration will be forthcoming.

 

Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities

Do You Dare to Call Yourself an Artist?
by Kari Pederson

At age 10 I discovered proof that a seemingly ordinary woman could be an extraordinary artist. There, nestled in the pages of my stamp-collecting catalogue, was a commemorative stamp designed to celebrate a painter nicknamed “Grandma Moses.” My curiosity was instantly piqued by her name. Grandma? I was lucky enough to have two grandmas I adored so that must be good! The stamp was also colorful and depicted a country scene full of energy that instantly pulled me into the action.

As I grew older and became a history buff, I researched more about Grandma Moses and her life. What I learned increased my admiration for her and changed how I view art and my own creative potential.

Anna Mary Robertson was born in 1860 and grew up on a family farm as the eldest girl of ten children. In her autobiography My Life’s History, Anna describes her childhood as “happy days, free from care or worry.” From an early age, she drew and painted with whatever materials she could get her hands on. Anna became a hired girl at age 12 and married Thomas Moses in 1887. She continued to dabble with crafts, but the demands of adulthood often took priority over creative pursuits.

The couple farmed for many years as they raised their family. Anna describes these days as “nearly all the same,” but for me, her life holds simple truths that widely broadened my artistic viewpoint.

Anybody Can Be an Artist
I watched my mother paint wonderful scenes for my childhood bedroom, but I had thought all famous painters were men who lived somewhere in Europe. Anna not only had her first exhibit in 1940 long before gender equality, but she often described herself as a regular person. She answered queries about why she started painting by saying, “If I didn’t start painting, I would have raised chickens.”

Anna appeared to have no formal artistic training. She simply used her talents to the best of her abilities and taught herself the painting techniques she wanted to learn.

Art Can Be Anything
Anna primarily painted nostalgic scenes from her own memories of rural life. Despite the simplicity of her topics, her work became widely popular and was often turned into greeting cards. Although some people criticized her for her mainstream appeal, I still remember the powerful moment when I first saw one of her paintings. That was the moment I realized that art could take many forms. Art became accessible to me and I started exploring many other types of art.

The Right Time to Stretch Your Wings is NOW
Anna did not start exhibiting or selling her work until she was in her 70s, earning her the nickname “Grandma Moses.“ Her previous art had been gifts for others or done for her own amusement. Anna’s example inspires me to ditch the excuses I use to avoid trying new things and encourages me to step out of my comfort zone.

Grandma Moses did not appear bothered by critics and commented on an unfavorable review in a letter to her agent, “This is a free country and people will talk. Let them. If we do what is right, they can’t hurt us.”

The Sky is the Limit 
Grandma Moses began painting more in her later years because this creative outlet was easier than needlepoint on her arthritic fingers. She put paintings in a drugstore window only hoping to make a few dollars, and ended up being discovered and launching a prolific second career. Experts believe she painted 1,500 to 2,000 pieces from her mid 70s until her death at 101 years of age. Her pictures initially sold for $3 while her highest grossing painting to date was purchased for $1.2 million.

I believe the real power of Grandma Moses’s legacy has little to do with whether or not you like her art or are intrigued with her personal history. The true power of her story challenges all of us to see ourselves as the great artists we have the potential to become. If something is stopping you from exploring your artistic side or taking your art to a new level, perhaps it is time to take a step forward and just see what happens. Or in the words of Grandma Moses herself, “life is what you make of it.”

**All citations for the biographical material about Grandma Moses come from her autobiography, My Life’s History by Grandma Moses.

Kari Pederson Age 6

Kari Pederson
Age 6

Kari Pederson, MSW, LCSW, is a writer, clinical social worker and wellness coach who has worked with children and adults for over 25 years. An avid student of positive psychology, she loves helping people live their best lives. Kari is a new writer to VoiceCatcher’s community website and thrilled to be part of its mission. This is the eighth installment in her series, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities.

 

Rock Your Readings! A Workshop

Workshop: Rock Your Readings  1:30–3:00 p.m.
Stumptown Lit Festival, Portland, Oregon, Sunday, October 25, 2015

Alexis Mason

Alexis Mason

If you get queasy and clammy handed before stepping up to a lectern to share your work, you will benefit from this workshop. You may also learn the difference between a podium and a lectern!

The fast-paced workshop – co-sponsored by VoiceCatcher, the Oregon Writers Colony and the Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters club – kicks off with Cindy Brown, author of the Ivy Meadows mystery series, sharing tips she learned planning and executing her two tremendously popular book launch parties.

Alexis Mason, of the Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters club, will add to the workshop with information geared to assist writers, of any genre, prepare and deliver better presentations with the help of specific exercises and insights.

Cindy Brown is a full-time writer, the author of Macdeath (An Ivy Meadows Mystery) (Volume 1) and The Sound of Murder ( An Ivy Meadows Mystery) (Volume 2). She has garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton), and is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Although Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

Alexis Mason is a speaker, author, coach and storyteller. She holds a master’s degree from PSU and has over 35 years teaching experience. She is the owner of Present Yourself, where she offers coaching in leadership and communication skill development. She presents workshops, seminars and keynote presentations on a variety of subjects. As a storyteller, Alexis does monthly presentations to senior communities in and around Vancouver, Washington. Alexis is the author of several business and children’s books.

For more info on the Stumptown Lit Festival, and workshop fee information and registration, please click here.

Be sure to stop by VoiceCatcher’s table at the festival!

Catch These Voices and Visions

Michelle Fredette
Michelle Fredette

Plonk is a new Wednesday night reading series at Corkscrew Wine Bar, 1655 SE Bybee, Portland, Oregon. VoiceCatcher editor Michelle Fredette organizes the series. The events are 7:00 p.m. Free admission and open to the public. The line-ups of readers in the coming months include some from VoiceCatcher:

Oct. 7  Joanna Rose with writers of Pinewood Table
Dec. 2  Liz Prato

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Trista Cornelius

Trista Cornelius

Opening the Creative Mind: Have you hit a creative roadblock? Are you lost in the dry desert of No Idea Land? VoiceCatcher Trista Cornelius, a creative writing teacher, teams up with meditation and yoga teacher Robin Vada to give you the tools to rediscover your inspiration. This half-day retreat will help you clear mental clutter, silence self-doubt, and rejuvenate the joy of the creative process. Enjoy a mix of guided meditation, writing and drawing prompts, and gentle yoga. For artists of all types – whether you are a part-time painter, a professional novelist or anything in-between.

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97215
Fee $95. Limited to 12 participants. Pre-registration required.

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Carolyn Martin

Carolyn Martin

The Studio Series: Poetry Reading and Open Mic features VoiceCatcher Carolyn Martin and F. I. Goldhaber. Free admission and open to the public.

Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Stonehenge Studios
3508 SW Corbett Ave, Portland, OR 97239

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Sarah Fagan

Sarah Fagan

Join VoiceCatcher art editor and painter/book-artist Sarah Fagan for a two-hour introduction to the art of journal/book making. Advance registration required for this workshop. $20 fee. Proceeds benefit VoiceCatcher. Limit: 12 partcipants. (Details and registration here)

Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, 6:00–8:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97215

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Annie Lighthart

Annie Lighthart

Rilke for Writers: A Poetry Workshop by VoiceCatcher Annie Lighthart. If you have been intrigued by the intense lyrics and beautiful elegies of Rainer Maria Rilke, come explore the work of this remarkable poet. Look closely at a range of Rilke’s poems and techniques, uncover the myths and truths of his life and process, and try a variety of writing exercises inspired by Rilke’s work.

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Multnomah Friends Meeting House
4312 SE Stark St., Room 23, Portland, OR 97215
$75 fee. Register with Mountain Writers. 4-10 participants.

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Lioness Writing: Women in the Military Writing Their Lives. A safe place for women veterans of any era to write and produce a public reading and/or a small collection of their work, if wanted. Each session of this workshop will include multiple prompts to generate writing, some practice in revising and reading to others, the comfort and hospitality of good snacks, and the development of a sense of oneself as a writer. Conducted by VoiceCatcher Kate Gray and Dr. Rose King, USAF retired. No fee.

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, 5:45 p.m.–7:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Multnomah Country Library, Hollywood Branch, Meeting room. Sign up here.

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VoiceCatcher, Toastmasters and the Oregon Writers Colony have teamed up to offer a workshop, at Stumptown Lit 2015, on how to polish your public reading skills. This is the Oregon Writers Colony’s second Stumptown Lit. Many of the other conference offerings have no charge for admission. Stop by VoiceCatchers’ table while you are there! Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in NE Portland, Oregon.  Register here for this afternoon workshop.

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Polish your skills as a presenter and public reader through the Toastmasters program. Unique among Toastmasters clubs, the Vancouver Thrill of the Quill club caters to writers. VoiceCatcher Barbara E. Berger invites you to come to a meeting, and consider forming a satellite club with her in Portland (contact her). Thrill of the Quill usually meets the first Saturday of each month (check their website calendar for exceptions). All are welcome to attend; no admission charge.

Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters Club
Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, 8:30–10:00 a.m.
Courtyard Village
4555 NE 66th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98661
360-606-9306

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Click here for the updated calendar of readings and other events from VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

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Click here for the contact form to let us know of other offerings you or other VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!

Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities

Whistle While You Work: Why happiness is a useful tool for success
by Kari Pederson

Mr. Smiley FaceAs a teenager I had big dreams for my career. I wanted to publish books, design greeting cards, and earn a good income. Conventional wisdom taught me hard work and sacrifices were necessary for success. Being successful meant drudgery, long hours and paying my dues.

My ambitions were also designed to help me lead a happy life, but happiness was always something to enjoy AFTER attaining my goals. I will be happy when I publish my first book. I will be happy when Hallmark picks up my line of greeting cards. I will be happy when I have thicker hair. Ok, so I still want that last statement to be true, but most of us can relate to the joy of a good hair day.

Research in the field of positive psychology proves that happiness actually fuels success in our careers and businesses as well as in the areas of creativity, relationships, health and community involvement. Happiness also improves productivity and is an important precursor to success, not just the reward.

In 2005, researchers Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener completed an impressive meta-analysis of previous happiness research, examining over 200 studies involving more than 275,000 people. Their findings strongly reinforced the conclusion that our feeling happy helps us achieve our goals.

Hundreds of studies completed since that publication continue to underscore the idea that happiness improves just about every facet of our lives. For more hard science on the effectiveness of happiness, check out Shawn Achor’s book: The Happiness Advantage: Seven Principles that Fuel Success and Performance at Work. 

By now you might be thinking, “Sure, Kari, thanks for sharing this information, but where do I start or what can I do to feel happier?” First, it is important to know that everyone has a natural happiness set point. Genetics, circumstances, thoughts and behaviors directly impact your set point, which can change throughout your life. Your DNA accounts for fifty percent of your happiness level so I hope you got sunny genes. If not, you can still raise your happiness set point. Contrary to popular opinion, your life circumstances affect only ten percent of your score while your thoughts and behaviors make up the other forty percent. Changing perceptions or adding new habits can instantly increase your happiness levels. To help you get started, I have outlined four simple yet potent actions you can take immediately to feel happier.

1. Do a little digging to find the right strategies
Learn more about the science of happiness and discover tips and techniques that resonate for you. One resource I love is the University of Pennsylvania’s website on authentic happiness where you can take free happiness questionnaires, read the latest World Happiness Reports, and explore the field of positive psychology. If you prefer more humorous resources, read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff, or anything written by Shawn Achor. These writings are also based on the science of happiness but can be a lighter read. Happiness research can be fun!

2. Kindness Matters
Most researchers agree that one of the most effective ways to boost your happiness set point is to do something for others. Volunteer at a VoiceCatcher event, mentor another artist or do random acts of kindness. I recently gave dog treats to some pet parents without means and the results were priceless.

3. Beef up your social connections
Social capital is a very powerful strategy for increasing your happiness. Meet a friend for coffee, send an unexpected thank-you email or be brave and attend a new social event. Make this strategy even more effective by surrounding yourself with people who help you feel good.

4. Positive rehearsal works
Humans respond well to suggestion and our brains typically do not distinguish between doing something or rehearsing the action in our minds. The benefits of using positive rehearsal or a placebo are well documented and you do not have to be a research subject to use these techniques. While you might not need to grow hair, win an Olympic gold medal or avoid knee surgery, visualizing positive outcomes for a speech or reading can help you be more successful at the event. Plus, the preparation helps you stay calm and lowers your blood pressure.

Happiness is not only about smiley faces, unicorns or a great, big, belly laugh. Deliberately putting yourself in a more positive frame of mind is a fantastic secret weapon for your healthy artist toolbox. As I continue to work on raising my own happiness set point, I am happy to report (pun intended) that my life gets better and better.

 

Kari Pederson Age 6

Kari Pederson
Age 6

Kari Pederson, MSW, LCSW, is a writer, clinical social worker and wellness coach who has worked with children and adults for over 25 years. An avid student of positive psychology, she loves helping people live their best lives. This is Kari’s seventh article for VoiceCatcher, and she is still thrilled to be part of VoiceCatcher’s mission. See the rest of her series: Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities.