November Meeting Minutes 2023

Hello Everyone, today we held our November meeting.


Sharon, Jan, Mary.


We noted that in about another month, we will be sending out the call for submissions for Talking Stick 33!


Mike wasn’t able to attend our November JWB meeting, but he did attend the PRLAAC meeting and he sent the minutes.

There was a discussion of a Leonardo DaVinci exhibit at a museum in Detroit Lakes. It was very expensive to get it. Twelve paintings and two floors of inventions and drawings. $25 adult entrance fee.

The Arts Council voted to give $900 to a Park Rapids teacher to take his eighth grade class to the exhibit.


Sharon went to see the Event Center in the old J&B building. It is a huge room, very nice, and it would save us a lot of money. However, it has no windows at all and it is so nice to have nice scenery to look at while writing and talking with other writers. The kitchen area was right in the room itself, not separate, and would be very loud for setting up lunch while we are still in the morning workshop. It was a very nice room but we decided as long as we can afford it, we will probably keep going to Jack Pines Resort. We have the date saved at Jack Pines for 9-14-24.


Sharon signed up for another poetry class online. This one is with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg called Writing Ourselves Home. It runs for 8 weeks from Jan 8 through Feb 18. Sharon had taken a Loft class from this same instructor a while back called Poetry Playhouse and it was excellent.

We took turns reading things we had been working on and critiquing each other. We seem to be feeling the gloom of November. We had a short meeting but a good one. Several of our regulars were out selling their books! Hope to see you all next time.

October Meeting Minutes 2023

Hello Everyone,

Today we held our October meeting.


Sharon, Ryan, Mike, Jan, Niomi, Marlys, Dawn.


     Our book release party for TS32 and the workshop by Sharon Chmielarz went very well on September 16. Thanks to everyone for all their help. The TS books are all mailed out to the published writers who did not attend the book party. Donations are coming in.

     Sharon recently got the phone number for The Event Place. This is a big meeting room at the old J&B building south of Park Rapids. They have lots of tables and chairs and a kitchen. She will go check it out when she has time. There would be no windows, no pretty scenery, but it would cost us a lot less than Jack Pines Resort. We have to take a look soon.


We are done with Richard’s poetry book The Dun Box. We are now working on Cindy Fox’s memoir Black and White. We are also working on Sharon’s fifth poetry book Reverie.


     Try Paint Chip Poetry. One of the writers at the book release party told us about this. We found it on Amazon and bought the game. This is great for prompts. You choose one of the paint chip colors (with very intriguing names) and then choose a prompt card. We will be trying this.


Mike attended the October meeting. They discussed Art Leap, the Armory, a Community Ed class, and a trip to New York.


     Sharon has just taken an 8 week online poetry class. This was with Sarah Ann Winn and called Superstition.

     Dawn and Marlys have been doing some poetry slams and story telling slams in Bemidji. They will be doing some reading at Four Pines in Bemidji from Agates, a poetry anthology from League of MN Poets. The scary story slam will be at 7 PM at the Keg & Cork in Bemidji on October 19. Poetry slams are held at Fozzie’s in Bemidji. There is a Story Concert being planned for the spring, not a competition.

     Ryan is working on another book, a sequel to his young adult novel. He may try Draft2Digital.

     Ryan recently attended a writers’ conference called Strengths for Writers at the event center in the Mall of America. This discusses where your personality fits the best as far as writing.

     Mike recently did a talk at a senior high rise regarding his books.

     Ryan has a book-selling event coming up at the Arts and Crafts event at the casino in Walker on November 19.

     Dawn is working on an Ecology event with her photos and writings.

We took turns reading things that we had been working on. Several of us tried the monthly words. We had such a great time discussing using various words in some of our written pieces. Our group really enjoys talking about words and language and how different words affect a poem or story. We hated to leave and go home. Hope to see you all next time!

Workshop and TS32 Book Release Party

Hello Everyone, thanks so much to all of you who attended our September 16, 2023, Talking Stick 32 Book Release Party and the Sharon Chmielarz workshop entitled “Lift Up Your Pens.” Writers came from far and wide. Some stayed at beautiful Jack Pines Resort either Friday or Saturday night. Some stayed in Park Rapids. Some drove early and battled the road construction that was on all sides of us.

For Talking Stick 32, our judges were: poetry, Laura Hansen; creative nonfiction, Julie Jo Larson; fiction, Cindie Ekren. The winners for the new creative twist genre were chosen by our Editorial Board.

We had a great day. We had a good number of writers who brought some of their own previously published books and had them for sale. They included: Mike Lein, Ryan Neely, Sharon Chmielarz, Erin Marsh, Niomi Phillips, Marsh Muirhead, Sharon Harris. Writers started showing up early. Those who had been published in TS32 picked up their one free copy of the book and many purchased more. We also had older volumes of Talking Stick available. The workshop ran from 9 to noon followed by an excellent lunch of soup and sandwiches. Sharon Chmielarz gave us some excellent tips for revising our poems. Writers took turns reading short excerpts of their writing during the workshop.

After lunch, we had more writers arrive. The book release party started at 1 PM. Sharon Harris talked about the group and our history. Tarah Wolff and Sharon Harris realized that this year marked 20 years that they have been working on the Talking Stick books together—from TS12 through TS32. Tarah and Sharon have also done about 20 other books together, various poetry collections, short story collections, a few novels. Other JWB members help with reading submissions, serving on the Editorial Board, helping with proofing, helping with events, etc.

Then other JWB members introduced the winners of each genre. Other speakers were Sharon Chmielarz, Niomi Phillips, Ryan Neely, and Mike Lein. Each winner who was present came up to read their poem or story and receive their prize money. Then anyone else who was published in TS32 was invited up to read. Many stories and poems were very sad and touching. Many were humorous. All were enjoyable. Laughter and applause filled the event center.

At the end, we thanked everyone who helped with the event, everyone who attended, everyone who submitted to the book, everyone who had helped with donations, etc. We are proud of the fact that we have never charged a reading fee or membership fee but we still have been able to give out prize money.

Exhausted, we packed up our books around 3:30 PM. About a dozen JWB members and visiting writers went to the Cookhouse, the Jack Pines Resort restaurant. There we visited for several more hours and had an excellent meal. We hated to leave. Be sure to visit the Cookhouse when you can. Their Sunday brunch is especially spectacular.

For those in TS32 who were not able to attend, we will be mailing out your one free book over the next couple of weeks!

August Meeting Minutes 2023

Hello Everyone, today we held our August meeting.


Sharon, Mike, Erin, Dawn.


The TS32 books are here and ready to go. This week, Tarah and Sharon plan to put together the folders for the workshop. Remember the Workshop and party are to be held on Saturday Sept. 16. We will be having soup and sandwich for lunch for the workshop attendees. We are concerned about road construction.


Mike attended the August meeting. They discussed Art Leap, Art Beat, a contest for artists, their musical.


     The Book and Art Festival was held in Hackensack on Saturday, August 12. Mike sold many books. Sharon and Dawn sold some Talking Stick books and some of Sharon’s poetry books. Niomi sold some of both of her books. Dawn is an amazing saleswoman, reeling in the customers.

     There will be a poetry slam (super slam) at Fozzie’s in Bemidji on Sept. 21.

     There will be a Storytelling event for scary stories at the Keg & Cork basement in Bemidji in October.

    We read pieces we have been working on and others critiqued. Three of us used the monthly words. This was a really good meeting when we all wanted to keep talking and no one wanted to leave. We won’t have a September meeting due to our book party.