to live and write: A Murder of Crones
To Live & Write is a multifaceted online and in-person writing community based in Alameda, accessible on Facebook, and open to writers from all over. We host daily, weekly, and monthly writing events and activities designed to develop creative habits, stretch storytelling skills, and turn fear into thrill within safe spaces. Our focus is on writing, belonging, and community. Our gifting economy is anchored in genuine support, encouragement, and connection. Membership is free, we do not compete with each other or other writing communities (you can double dip!), and new members are always welcome. Reading at Punchdown Wine Bar is a collection of a few of our writers of a certain age and wisdom that we’re calling A Murder of Crones.
Bronwyn Emery is the founder, facilitator, and chief bottle washer of To Live & Write. She is a writing + creativity coach who focuses on habit, practice, and turning the dream of writing into reality. It’s her job to stay ahead of the writers and develop opportunities for each one to start writing, keep writing, stretch their skills, and achieve their ambitions – but most days, she feels like she’s playing catch up with this amazing community of talented storytellers. She hosts a variety of events and activities through To Live & Write that are free to all members, as well as labs, workshops, and retreats with price tags that pay the bills. You can find more about her at Bronwyn Emery ~ writing + creativity coach. Bronwyn is still revising her first mystery, because she still gets sidetracked by the shiny, sparkly short stories and personal narratives she loves to write. And by her grandson. And by her partner. And then there’s her cat, so warm and so fluffy …
Heidi Benson Stagg is a writer with a sailing problem. She used to live on a 42” sailboat with her husband and Chiweenie in Alameda, but after an intense sailing adventure last year, they now call La Paz, Mexico home. Her blog, Vivo O Sonho | Living the Dream, captures the challenges and joys of living aboard, explores the creation of full meals in her tiny kitchen, and shares a collection of memoir and fictional short stories featured at Alameda Shorts over the past several years. She is a regular contributor to the Imagine March project and tries to hit at least one Flash Lit month every year. She was the on-site cook for many a To Live & Write retreat for several years. When she returns to the Bay Area each year to reconnect with friends and family, she joins any handy retreat she can – purely as a writer these days.
Alison Greene’s 30-year career in science has been punctuated by blogging for the NY Times, fiction writing, and the adoption of a stubborn rescue chihuahua, Toby. As a long-time member of To Live & Write, Alison enjoys stretching her skills in writing workshops and retreats (when she isn’t attending her day job or obeying her bossy dog). She is a popular reader at Alameda Shorts, where her honest memoir musing and humorous contemplation really shine, and might have an addiction to the To Live & Write retreats. Alison has yet to miss an Imagine March project and she is in the early stages of writing her first book and having a little too much fun with backstory.
Bethany Polentz is a User Experience Strategist for a large corporation, which often entails using all of her words to explain to executives why they should care about the user experience.. She enjoys spending time with her husband and voicing the interior dialogue of her cat, Lulu, and is dedicated to the art of Tsundoku and collecting random secondhand items. She also has a fair-to-middling cool collection of finger puppets, made a mean mixed-tape back in the day, and is related to a one-time Jeopardy contestant (but not a famous one). Bethany has been an inspired lurker in To Live & Write since 2014 and an active member for the past couple of years. She is currently working on a collection of vignettes on her relationship to material possessions, American consumption and consumerism, and her desire to simplify.
Sherri Jackson divides her time between Sebastopol, California and La Paz Mexico, two beautiful locations that inspire her writing as she expands from non-fiction into fiction. Sherri is the author of Las velas de Pablo, a travel blog detailing her journey with her husband by sailboat and motor home through California, Baja California Mexico, and the Sea of Cortez. Her passions are nature photography, world travel, sunny days, and cooking. Sherri is an active and engaged member of To Live & Write, despite having just joined our community this year. As a brand-new member, she dove right into Flash Lit June to test her skills and courage, and participates in the community’s gifting economy with genuine and helpful feedback, support, and encouragement.
Erica Peck is a self-described mild-mannered, stay-at-home mom and lapsed drama major who likes to write stories. She has been an active member of To Live & Write since 2016 and is currently working on two novels, both in the realms of fantasy and romance. As a longstanding member of The Flash Lit Collective and regular contributor to Alameda Shorts and Imagine March, she also allows herself periodic forays into the world of short stories and poetry. This year, you can find Erica at home, sequestered as much as possible from the chaos of renovation construction in her tiny but mighty upstairs office, which is located directly above said construction—hammers, saws, drills, and all. You can find much of her fiction (and the occasional poem) on her blog, Soundchecking The Void.
Janet Salsman is a writer cleverly disguised as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor. She loves flower photos, picture books, carousels, and single malts, though not usually all at the same time. Janet has been an active member of To Live & Write for five years. She is a great role model for anyone new to the Daily Pages practice and the concept of a regular writing habit and has been a regular contributor to The Flash Lit Collective, Imagine March, and Alameda Shorts over the years. In 2023, she has been querying one novel while working on another in a completely different genre. In her spare time, Janet is the host and official Safe Space Protector of Friday night Proof of Write. She shares her short stories and poetry on her site, JanCanToo.
Leg 1: 4pm - 5pm Venue: Punchdown Wine Bar
THE PUNCHDOWN NATURAL WINE BAR AND KITCHEN: Our selection reflects like-minded, small businesses that do it out of love and passion. Some are breaking the rules and regulations of their respective regions by choosing to make wine in a natural way. We regard them as heroes in a competitive industry that increasingly manufactures wine as though it is a soft drink or a processed food product (spoofy frankenwines) with a big marketing department.
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