IWWG Summer Conference Presenter
This summer marks my sixth year presenting a dramatic writing workshop at the IWWG Annual Summer Conference. My journey to the Guild was initiated by a tap on my shoulder by a fairy godmother of sorts. Eight years ago, I was standing in a wilderness of hundreds of books for sale on tables at a Muse & the Marketplace conference in Boston. From all the possibilities, I picked one up and was reading the title: Looking for Gold: A Year in Jungian Analysis, when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder, turned, and saw the friendly face of a wise woman.
I’m Susan Tiberghien, she said. The book you’re holding is mine.
I was already a woman writer, a playwright, author and workshop facilitator. But I longed for community and intimacy with other writers. Susan told me about her long involvement with the International Women’s Writing Guild and suggested I consider attending the IWWG summer conference at Yale that year. My instinct was to belong to any organization in which this confident writer was a member. When the brochure for Yale arrived, like a lot of women writers who juggle many roles, I longed to register, but finances and caring for children held me back.
Still, my shoulder sensed Susan tapping. I heard the voice of her authority calling me. I searched for the Guild online, but it seemed to have turned to stone. No news was updated. I had missed my chance. Then, months later, I received an announcement with a call for proposals for the summer conference at Drew University. You had to be a member to submit, so I paid my dues and submitted my proposal. Soon, I heard back from the executive director. She was glad to receive my proposal for writing for the stage.
I arrived as a stranger at Drew to present my workshop. The night before the conference, at the table across the room, I spied Susan’s warm and wise face, and thanked her for calling me to a place that felt like a home for my writing life.
About the IWWG Summer Play Lab
My writing workshop has evolved into The Play Lab, now in its fourth year. New and experienced writers for the stage meet intensively for a week of developing short plays and monologues. A play script does not live on the page. It needs to be embodied by actors. So, the Play Lab culminates in staged readings for an audience of the entire conference at the end of the week.
This summer’s Play Lab, a double session, will be Writing & Producing Your Photo Inspired Short Play or Monologue for the Stage – Voicing the Stories of Unsung Heroines. Pre-registration is required, and the workshop is limited to ten participants on a first-come, first-served basis.
Following Your Call to Action Writing Prompt
I invite you to write about a time when an enchanting woman tapped you on the shoulder, encouraging you to follow in her footsteps. Call her a spirit guide, a mentor, or a fairy godmother. Perhaps it seemed foolhardy or wise to follow this stranger. Did you resist or step forward? There is risk either way. It’s scary and exciting to be chosen. But you have discernment. Your journey begins here.
About Kelly DuMar
A poet, playwright, and engaging workshop leader, Kelly generates enlivening writing experiences for new and experienced writers. Her Aim for Astonishing photo-inspired process elicits profound personal awakenings, deepens connection with others, and fosters beautifully crafted writing. Kelly’s plays have been produced around the U.S. and in Canada, and are published by dramatic publishers. Author of three poetry collections, Kelly is also author of Before You Forget— The Wisdom of Writing Diaries for Your Children. She founded and produces the Our Voices Festival of Boston Area Women Playwrights at Wellesley College, now in its 13th year. You can learn more at KellyDuMar.com.