Dear Friends of MWC,
I hope this finds you safe and well at the end of this difficult year. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the famous poem “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop, as it strikes me as a perfect poem for what many of us have experienced this year. The poem is about the perfection of loss, and carries a refrain through it: “The art of losing isn’t hard to master”—I’ve thought of this line constantly throughout the past year, how it seems to take on more meaning and weight with each day.
Yet, here we are, at the end of one year, looking forward to another.
While many of us spent all too much time mastering “the art of losing” in 2020, I believe we also learned about resilience, about the importance of personal connection, and about living in history. Here at MWC, we are grateful that we’ve continued to provide high-quality literary arts programs during the pandemic when so many other activities have had to cancel or be postponed, and we are excited to move forward building on what we accomplished this year.
We just announced a submission call for an anthology asking people to document their experiences of 2020, and we’ll be launching a new website with members-only features and resources. We will also be expanding the Young Emerging Writers Program to include teaching artist training for high school and college students, so they can lead workshops for students in grades K-8, to help build a pipeline for creative writers among young people in the Quad Cities. These are just a few of the terrific things we have planned for 2021.
Without the support of our community, however, none of these things would be possible. At a time when so many people are struggling, when students need enrichment outside of school more than ever, writing can offer us a way to reduce stress and anxiety, be more focused and attentive, and develop our ability to express ourselves in any context. We are kicking off our year-end giving campaign on December 1st, Giving Tuesday, and continuing through the end of the year. We hope you will continue to support MWC.
We recently received a $5,000 grant to match all funds received between December 1 through the end of the year, so your contribution will go twice as far. Any donation $25 or more will receive a one-year MWC membership or renewal, donations of $50 or more will receive an MWC Press publication of your choice, and all donations up to $300 are eligible for the CARES Act tax deduction on top of the standard deduction for 2020. Memberships also make great gifts for the writers and readers in your family, so there are plenty of reasons to give.
There is another reason Bishop’s poem resonates with me so deeply right now. The final two lines read:
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
For too many of us, this year has taken more than it has given, but we all have something to give back, to give each other moving forward: the gifts of our stories, our experiences, and our lives. We can, as Bishop implores herself, to “write” our light and share it with as many people as we can, and we can help each other get through whatever comes, this year and the next, and the next.
May you share many stories with the ones you love in the year to come. We hope to see you soon. Please stay safe and have a terrific holiday season…
Ryan Collins, Executive Director