Issue Nine - May 2005

One writing group

All of the pieces in this issue of SHARK REEF are from the members of one long-standing writing group on Lopez Island. We are honored to have been invited to share our work in this publication. We admit to having “connections.” Two of our members, Lorna Reese and Leta Currie Marshall, have been among the steadfast leaders of the Lopez Writers’ Guild as well as the founding editors of SHARK REEF. But over the past seven years, we’ve proven ourselves to be worthy of this recognition. All of us have been published, and several of us have rejection letters from some very fine publications.

Our group was conceived seven years ago on a ferry ride from Shaw Island following a writing workshop led by Alie Smaalders. Three of us from that original group are still writing together and have been joined by four others. At first, we gathered every other week and spent much of our two hour meeting confessing to not doing any writing outside of the group. Every few weeks or so, one or more of us would wonder if we could or should even call ourselves writers. But we persevered and eventually all seven of us committed to meet weekly, to set writing goals and deadlines, to critique each others’ work, and to submit our writing for publication.

While this issue feels like a celebration of our longevity as a group, it is also an opportunity to share some of our new directions. As we critiqued each others’ writing for submission, we realized each one of us had taken a few steps (and in some cases, giant leaps) away from our usual styles or genres. Fiction writers submitted non-fiction, and non-fiction writers crossed over to fiction; serious essayists wrote humor; and we all experimented with new verbs, metaphors, and topics. So thank you for being our audience; we hope you will enjoy the results of our dedication to refining our craft.

—Iris Graville