Creating “Lyrical” Back Stories

The Saturday, April 20th Member Meeting was a break from formal presentations, with an experiential, group writing exercise led by Charley Valera. Members formed groups of six, each group selecting printed lyrics to well-known tunes, including Barry Manilow’s lyrics to “Copacabana,” the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce, and “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Members were tasked with cooperatively creating a “back story” related to the song in a timed exercise. Stories were read to the larger group at the end. Watch your inbox for an email with the full stories!

Collaboration Stirs up Creativity

We generally think of writing as a solitary undertaking; however, all workgroups found the collaboration involved in the exercise useful, energizing, and sometimes enlightening. Some noted that the diversity of others’ thinking styles and approach to story writing was insightful. Apparently Sci-Fi writers and poets might have perspectives and different thinking styles!

Participants enjoyed the opportunity to work with and to get to know each other. Headley Wilson closed the activity, announcing that he had been blocked in his work on his trilogy memoir, but the experience opened him up again.

Finding Critique Partners and Opening Dialog

Building on members’ deep appreciation for the interaction and collaboration of the exercise, Jeanne Meeks announced that the new GCWA website will have a Members-Only Area. This section will allow members to post their work (or excerpts) with the intent of helping one another connect with suitable critique colleagues to work with.

Business Items

  1. Website to Help Connect Members

Jeanne Meeks asked all members to submit a 100-word bio and a headshot for the website. This will be a great way for members to get to know each other and remember new acquaintances. The Members Area will also provide a forum to foster discussion and conversation among members, according to Ed Donlin, Web Manager.

  1. Skilled Photographer(s) Needed

Mary put out a plea for members willing to serve as photographers during GCWA meetings and events. Please reach out to Mary if interested.

  1. Charley to Speak at Cape Coral Library

Charley Valera, author of My Father’s War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers, will be speaking at Cape Coral Library on Tuesday, May 14th from 2:00pm – 3:00pm. His presentation is Beyond the Homefront: The Untold Stories of WWII Heroes. Please attend and support Charley if you can.

  1. Communications Updates

Thanks to those who completed the recent member survey regarding desired newsletter content. Results were shared by Cheryl Lynn Dratler on the Communications team. Based on member interests, our re-established monthly newsletter, the GCWA Gazette, will feature GCWA updates, a calendar of local events, and an in-depth Member Spotlight highlighting a member’s recent accomplishments, in the writer’s own voice. A Writing Tip of the Month will focus on improving our craft. Members may send “Good News,” simple or grand, to for publishing in the GCWA Gazette.

To date, the Communications team, led by Sheryl Stillman, has disseminated press releases announcing upcoming meetings and the GCWA Writing Contest. The Association’s Presence on LinkedIn has been updated and is now posting news items. Members who have accounts on LinkedIn are encouraged to join the Gulf Coast Writers Association page.



MaryAnn CipressyAuthor posts

Maryanne is the owner of What’s Up SWFL and is a leader in Internet Marketing with experience, a track record of success, and most importantly of all working with each client on a case-by-case basis because every situation requires custom solutions.