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Writing in Circles: A Celebration of Women’s Writing is a companion anthology to Peggy Tabor Millin’s Women, Writing, and Soul-Making: Creativity and the Sacred Feminine. Written entirely by Peggy’s students using Centered Writing Practice, Writing in Circles is the inspiring product of the process.
In 2013 during the seven-day Lake Logan retreat, the circle had only seven participants instead of fifteen. This changed the dynamic of the circle and allowed more time for writing as well as for sharing not only our writing but our process.
The idea of publishing an anthology of writing from ClarityWorks’ participants had been mentioned at several previous retreats, but the spark did not ignite until 2013 when the small group size fanned the flame. Seven is a good number for a team effort. The team was also geographically diverse: two from Florida, two from Tennessee, three from North Carolina. None of the team had prior experience with publishing or marketing; they recognized that they had a lot to learn.
The first major decision the team made, with Peggy Tabor Millin’s agreement, was that she would consult, but was not to be an active member of the group. They also determined that any profit from sales would go to ClarityWorks to assist Peggy with expenses and that the anthology would be presented as a companion to Women, Writing, and Soul-Making.
The second major decision was a purely practical one concerning the need to limit the number of submissions to be read, selected, and edited, and to keep the cost of the book reasonable. To address those considerations, the team elected to only invite submissions from participants of seven-day retreats. If the publishing was successful, the current team could assist a new team to publish an additional volume(s) including participants of a any ClarityWorks’ retreat, workshop, or class.
By the end of the retreat, the call for submissions and date for selection had been set for mid March when the entire group intended to gather for a work session.
The team was thrilled by the enthusiastic response they received from contributors. They set quickly to work, and, over the course of the next months, they created, edited, and published the anthology. In July of 2015, the anthology was celebrated at a special workshop and reading at Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville.