Deb: Giving back

I never aspired to plankton.  But on occasion I suppose we have something in common, in that writers – for good reason – sometimes feel we’re at the bottom of the food chain.  Traditional publishing layers agents, editors, marketing departments, sales staff, jobbers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers between us and our readers.  Our advances and royalties mostly seem microscopic when compared to the immense labor of birthing a well-written book.

Writing for publication may feel like volunteer work – and sometimes, as with journals that pay only in copies, it is.  While you can’t make a living working for free, Martin Luther King Day is a good reminder that we’re all pulling together on this big planet of ours, and compensation doesn’t have to be at the top our list.  From local arts councils to writing groups to library boards to non-profits that support literacy, the work of countless volunteers promotes writing and books

Across the country today, as folks step up to help others, I’d rather not dwell on what it’s like to be plankton.  Instead I’ll think of all the good people right here in Alaska who give voice to writers.  LitSite Alaska.  Alaska Center for the Book.  Alaska Sisters in Crime.  Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.  The Alaska Writing Consortium.  The Alaska Library Association.  The Alaska Literacy Association.  The Mountain Trailer Arts Center.   The Alaska Chapter of Romance Writers of America.  Journals like Cirque and Alaska Quarterly Review.  The Kachemak Bay Writers Conference.  Book Festival Alaska.  Authors to the Schools.  A few of these groups have paid staff or university affiliations, but the bulk of the labor comes from volunteers.

This year, we hope to feature interviews with as many of these groups as we can.  Are there any we’ve missed?  Let us know through a comment, below.  Because when you engage with writing community, you’re making it better for all. 

It beats floating the ocean.  And as I remind myself often, it gets toxic on top.

6 thoughts on “Deb: Giving back”

  1. Hi Deb! I'd like to add Rabbit Creek Community Assoc. to your list. We just sponsored an "artist in residence" program over at Rabbit Creek Elementary. Jack Dalton spent two weeks with all the grades, K through 6, working on story telling projects. Hopefully some of our South Anchorage kids will come away from it inspired to tell stories for life!

  2. "Bottom of the food chain"? That's so negative. Better to think of it as the "base". But I will echo your sentiment by thanking those on that list who have helped me, particularly Karen at AKSiC. I really should treat the sisters better.

  3. Wrangell Mountain Center! The Rasmuson Foundation! UAA and UAF Creative Writing programs! Alaska State Council on the Arts!

    We're pretty rich for being "the middle of nowhere," eh?

  4. Great list, and thanks to all of the organizations. I would also like to add a shout out to Cyrano's, for their commission of several plays.

  5. Excellent suggestions, all. I'm adding to my interview list, and looking forward to reading the results myself. BTW, Alaska Writer's Guild is at the top of the list – blog search for our interview with Jim Misko last year.

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