A Few Words of Advice from Visitors to Our CityLit Table

by Barbara Westwood Diehl

Thanks for everyone who came to the CityLit event at the beautiful Pratt Library in Baltimore on May 2! And a huge thanks to Gregg WIlhelm and everyone who volunteered their time and energy. A lot of work went into this event, I know.

At the BR table, we had a drawing to win a set of writing prompt cards, and some of the people who entered shared a few words of advice on their forms.

With their permission:

Barbara Morrison, Author of Confessions of a Welfare Mother, teaches here in Baltimore at Litmore and the JHU Odyssey Program: "Read as much as you possibly can, and continue learning throughout your career. I was at a weeklong writers' conference where all the teachers took each other's classes. They know how important it is to keep improving."

Margaret D. Pagan, member of the Black Writers' Guild of Maryland: "Step out of your comfort zone and do something different. Then write about it: how it made you feel, how it changed you, how your family reacted, etc."

James Arthur, teaches in the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars: "Try to always remain open to surprise when writing; allow yourself to discover your subject matter and your themes."

Linda Joy Burke, teaches at Howard Community  College and is an invited teacher at other organizations: "Clear a space for your brain to concentrate—to hear voices in your head. Long bouts of silence allow for one to process problems with a character, plot, or poem."

Shirley Brewer, has taught at Litmore, Brooklyn Park Middle, Passager, and elsewhere:  "Accessorize!"

Alan C. Reese, teaches at Towson University (and winner of the Story Cards drawing): "Do it now!"


Good advice. All of it. I do encourage everyone to leave their minds open to surprise. Getting derailed from our carefully laid tracks can be wonderful.

As for accessorizing—you'll just have to talk to Shirley.