VWG in the news

Untitled PostWriter's Reading LUSH Coffee and Tea

posted May 10, 2017, 7:14 AM by Ron Pickett

https://www.facebook.com/VWGSDCounty  

 

 

Veteran Writers - Reading 5/26/17

324 Main Street, Vista, CA92084

7:30-8:30 P.M.

 

Oval: I found the stories compelling and well-written. They took me back to my experience, resurrecting emotions of one of the most difficult aspects of serving in any of our Armed Forces Branches. The contributors are seasoned writers who spend time trying to nurture their God-given gift of wordsmithing with those who aren't so able, but need the therapy that writing offers those who all too often internalize the pain they never forget.  I applaud the groups' purpose and the resulting work they share here with any audience that knows people "who have been there and done that."  By Mike Mullins, MWSA Reviewer  Memorial Day Weekend Theme

           

New Member's New Book

posted May 7, 2017, 12:01 PM by Ron Pickett

Dr. Black has always enjoyed writing poetry filled with peace, love, and serenity. In this collection of poems, Life’s Reflections: A Collections of Poems, Dr. Vernita Black offers her experiences through faith and wisdom of life’s beauty. The poems reflect Dr. Black’s personal and professional ups and downs—both the good and the bad times. The poems are also reflections of life through pain, hope, beliefs, military travels, and God’s love.

Our founder, Gail Chatfield: Front page news

posted Oct 26, 2016, 4:03 PM by Michael Wood

Technically incorrect. Gail was featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune's Lifestyle/People section on October 16th, 2016.

She talks about why the group was started, why it is important for veterans to write their stories, and the upcoming publication release of a new anthology; "Away for the Holidays."


October 16, 2016, 6:00 AM

Gail Chatfield’s father was a Marine who served in World War II, but he died when Chatfield was a teen, so she never heard any of his stories about his time in the service. She found herself fascinated by the stories of other veterans her father’s age, though, and eventually co-founded the Veterans’ Writing Group San Diego County.

“We want to bring together people who love to write and guide them through the writing process. … ,” she says. “The writers in our group share the experience of having served in the military, and we strive to give them a safe and understanding environment to write their stories. Although we are not a therapy group, many of our members find the process of writing therapeutic.”

Chatfield, ... is also a writer who’s authored a book about the experiences of the men who served where her father did on the Pacific front. She and her husband also own and operate Chatfield Air Ambulance, Inc., which provides air transportation to healthcare facilities. She took some time to talk about the writing group, why she finds it important for veterans to share their stories, and the anthology the writing group is releasing at the end of this month, “Away for the Holidays.”

Q: What is your role with the Veterans Writing Group? 

A: As co-founder, I lead the group, book mentors, find opportunities for open-mic events, help our writers find publishing outlets for their work and bring the bagels and coffee.

Q: How did the group get started?

A: I was leading a writing group at the (VA San Diego Healthcare System) when I was invited to attend the Veterans Writing Project weekend retreat, an annual event put on by the Writers Guild Foundation (WGF) in Los Angeles. At the event, I met John Maki, a retired Marine from Oceanside. We were so impressed with the format of having professional screenwriters and authors mentor writers in a creative atmosphere that we wanted to do something similar for the robust veteran community in San Diego. We outlined a plan, booked a room at the Oceanside library, and put out flyers and notices in the local newspapers inviting veterans who wanted to write to come join us.

Q: When did the group start?

A: We started in June 2010 with sheer determination, enthusiasm and absolutely no funding. We do not charge veterans to participate and receive no outside funding or donations. We rely on volunteers and the kindness of the Veterans Association of North County, which provides us a meeting place free of charge.

 

What I love about Oceanside ...

Oceanside has beautiful beaches and great places to get a cup of coffee like the Succulent Cafe. The city hosts music, film and literary festivals, which are such important parts of any community. The Oceanside Library has been very helpful to our group as I am sure it is with others. Not surprising, Oceanside is truly supportive of Marine Corps community and that gives the city a worthy patriotic vibe. 

 

Q: How many members/participants do you have in the group?

A: Our group is quite diverse. We have veterans from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom, all branches of the military and ranks. Our monthly meetings have about 12 to 15 attendees, but since we began, we have had over 120 writers join us. They get the help, confidence, or skill that they are looking for and move on to the next phase of their writing journey. And that is what we hope they do: get inspired, find their voice, and take the time to write their stories.

Q: What happens during a meeting?

A: We try to have a professional mentor discuss writing, we may do a writing prompt, but always spend time doing read-and-critique. For the past several months, we have been working on our very first anthology based on one of our writing prompts to describe holidays spent away from home while in the service. The stories were heartfelt and heart-rending and certainly worthy of a wider audience. We have 22 authors and poets represented in the book, appropriately entitled “Away for the Holidays,” which will be released the end of October.

Q: How has the group evolved in the time since it began? (changes that have been made, etc.)

A: When we began, we focused on the writing. We still do, but we now incorporate opportunities to read at events around the community. We’ve participated in open mics at coffee shops from Encinitas to Escondido. We are pleased to be the special guest at Writers Read at the Fallbrook library on Nov. 15. We have also been featured in PBS’ Veterans Coming Home project.

Q: Have you noticed any changes in people because of their involvement in the group?

A: We had one Vietnam veteran who attended the meetings for several months without saying a word or sharing any of his writing. Then, at one meeting, he volunteered to read one of his stories. He was very uncomfortable reading in front of us and his voice was shaky and hesitant. However, he challenged himself every month to write down and share his innermost thoughts. He paid us a great compliment saying that he could never have done this without the support and understanding from a group of his peers who had “been there and done that.” 

Q: Where did your interest in veterans’ stories come from?

A: My dad was a Marine on Bougainville (Papua New Guinea), Guam and Iwo Jima in World War II. Sadly, he died when I was 15, so I never heard any stories of his time in service. Many years ago, my husband and I attended the Iwo Jima veterans’ reunion banquet at Camp Pendleton, and I was pleased to meet many veterans who, like my father, were in some of the most horrific battles on the Pacific front. The stories they shared, albeit 60 years later, of courage, humor and camaraderie fascinated me and I thought that if I enjoyed listening to them, others may want to hear them as well.

Q: What’s one of the stories from the writing group’s upcoming anthology?

A: I’m proud of the quality of all the stories but one stands out to me because the author has been so successful in pursuing his writing career. Ramon Garcia was one of our first members and … his talent has taken him far in the entertainment industry. Ramon’s story, “Hiding from the Monster,” is raw, expressive, and insightful into the challenges, chaos and camaraderie that was Kandahar.

Q: Why is it important to you that veterans write their stories?

A: Because their stories are unfiltered, real and we would know nothing about military life or war without their voices being heard. And they have the best stories full of interesting characters.

Q: What have you found challenging about running this group?

A: The biggest challenge is to keep the group focused at times as they love to share, but I don’t find that a bad thing.

Q: What’s been rewarding about your work with the group?

A: I have made some terrific friends and heard some incredible storytelling. I am pleased that their enthusiasm for writing has produced this book.

Q: What have you learned about yourself as a result of this work?

A: That like the veterans, I can accomplish the mission.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: Believe there is good in the world and be the good.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

A: I worked in the entertainment industry with positions at the American Federation of Television and Radio Arts (AFTRA), the William Morris Agency and nearly a decade as the personal assistant to Farrah Fawcett.

Q: Describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: An ideal weekend would be walking the beach and the Guy Fleming Trail at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, dinner at the Poseidon in Del Mar, and Netflix at home. Sunday would be church services at the La Jolla United Methodist Church, enjoying ensalada de carne asada on the patio at (Casa) Sol y Mar’s in Carmel Valley and watching the latest must-see movie at the theater.

 

Email: lisa.deaderick@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @lisadeaderick

Copyright © 2016, The San Diego Union-Tribune

North Cost News covers Ron Pickett

posted Jun 1, 2013, 11:23 AM by Michael Wood   [ updated Jun 1, 2013, 11:23 AM ]

Writing group helps veterans find their voice
North Cost News talks about our very own Ron Pickett. Read all about it at the following link;

Congratulations! Serena Reid on your work, 9/11: Ten Years Forward

posted Mar 6, 2012, 9:49 PM by Michael Wood   [ updated Mar 12, 2012, 4:00 PM ]



One of of group members, Serena Reid and her team at Palomar College placed first out of 900 entrants that submitted their work to the Broadcast Education Association. Congratulations, we are so proud of you! Well done!
 

From the website;
Host Barb Whitesides narrates "9/11: Ten Years Forward", a radio documentary marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks on America. The show focuses on how we have changed as a country and how we are going forward. Guests include Palomar College professor of Multicultural Studies Dr. Sharon Allen, military columnist Rick Rogers, Vista Fire Captain Robbie Ford, and a Palomar College student from Iraq.

Originally aired: September 11th, 2011
Producer: Serena Reid
Associate Producers: Jordan Yonts and Dave Prochazka
Executive Producer: Zeb Navarro
(c) 2011 Palomar Community College

Click here to listen the the documentary

MO`OLELO GOES TO WAR WITH ‘HOW I GOT THAT STORY’

posted Feb 27, 2012, 1:06 PM by Michael Wood   [ updated Feb 27, 2012, 1:09 PM ]

Wow what a great play, 

It was nice to to watch a play that relate to but also really good. As a military veteran and  (well maybe) an aspiring writer, it was easy to relate to the story and very interesting to see it acted out on stage by great actors. If you have a chance check it out and let us know what you think about it.

We do have a short video of our stories that is presented before the play starts. So I was very excited in seeing that also. We will have the video on this website soon so stay tuned.  


Here is the The San Diego Union-Tribune review and we are mentioned in it!

MO`OLELO GOES TO WAR WITH ‘HOW I GOT THAT STORY’


If you would like more information about the play check out this link.



from the desk of 
The Worst Writer in the World!

VWG on KOCT's Oceanside Spectrum

posted Feb 21, 2012, 10:12 AM by Michael Wood   [ updated Feb 21, 2012, 12:25 PM ]

In February, program host Elaine Swann talks with Gail Chatfield and John Maki from the Veterans Writing Group; Reginald Owens...



VWG in So Say We All Newsletter

posted Jan 31, 2012, 1:22 PM by VWG SDcounty   [ updated Jan 31, 2012, 1:22 PM by Michael Wood ]


...In tandem with the Grossmont class, Justin and So Say We All will be offering the same course to another group of veterans in Oceanside, in partnership with the Veterans Writing Group of San Diego (VWG-SD). That's two classes, two groups of vets, two showcases and a visit from Tim O'Brien. We're hoping this turns into a regular program, maybe even a Veteran Writers Festival. The biggest of thanks in making this happen go to Sydney Brown for being so generous, talented, altruistic and somewhat magical in her ability to make really important things happen in-between e-mails, and to Gail Chatfield, for her tireless devotion to providing a platform for veterans of all ages to tell their story and have it heard. We're honored to serve with these women.

We fundraise to keep these and other programs cheap as possible or outright free to artists and students. So lock and load sugarpants!...

Click to read more

Veterans Writing for Hollywood

posted Dec 8, 2011, 11:40 AM by VWG SDcounty   [ updated Dec 8, 2011, 11:40 AM by Michael Wood ]

The Writers Guild Foundation mentors veterans as they transition from military ranks to writing workshops. Kevin Ott from the Writers Guild Foundation and Jonathan Michaels, a veteran mentee, join Ana Garcia on Nonstop News LA.

Source: Veterans Writing for Hollywood | NBC San Diego 

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