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article imageOp-Ed: California Writers Club has Jack London connections Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Feb 14, 2016 in Lifestyle
Redwood City - 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of author Jack London's death. It is significant to writers of the California Writer's Club, because London was considered an honorary founding member.
But even more significant for the Peninsula Chapter, they are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year and as chapter club president Carole Bumpus pointed out, "London not only was a world-class author, but he spent part of his childhood on the Peninsula and even worked at a laundry in Belmont, not far from where our chapter was founded in 1965 at the Sequoia Yacht Club in Redwood City.
"As most everyone knows he was a sailor and traveler and many of his novels have to do with adventure. In fact, when the California Writer's Club was founded in Berkeley 1909, he was sailing on 'the Snark' along the Polynesian Islands. But, he was always an active part of that artistic group."
London was one that chummed around with other CWC honorary founding members, like Joaquin Miller of 'The Bohemian Group, which used to gather regularly in Oakland.
"Our chapter has an affinity for London because he bought one of his first sloops, 'the Razzle Dazzle', and sailed out of Belmont Harbor which is now Redwood City/Redwood Shores today," she said.
The little details that bring London in closer to the Peninsula chapter was something that was not known until Bumpus and others, such as long-time member Margaret R. Davis did a little investigating, talking to older members and looking more extensively through archives. Davis completed the Peninsula branch's history in 2007 for the 100-year anniversary of the California Writers Club in 2009.
"We're so tickled by the coinciding of the anniversaries, (our Peninsula chapter's and the commemoration of Jack London) Bumpus added. I think it is more than serendipity." Bumpus then spoke briefly about how important a writer's club is to a writer:
"A writers' club gives encouragement and help to a literary artist, be that person a fiction novelist, essayist, historian, short-story writer or poet. We also have in our club, screen writers and playwrights who often need help sorting out thoughts and ideas. We all need the encouragement of others who have gone before us."
The important aspect to any of the chapters of the California Writers Club throughout the entire State is the fact that the organization was founded by writers for writers. "We are here to support each other, and lift one another up," said Bumpus.
Holding monthly meetings, seminars, workshops or simply having a "support group" as such, provides a very important outlet for not just emerging talent, for the group is there also for established writers.
"I met my publisher at a California Writers' Club meeting," Bumpus said. Up until recently, Bumpus had been a food and travel blog writer. But when an unexpected chance meeting occurred with a woman from France who talked a bit more about history than recipes, Bumpus' writing took a detour. Just this past year Bumpus had She Writes Press publish the companion "Recipes for Redemption" book to her first book "Cup of Redemption" a novel based upon real life personal stories of World War II.
She Writes Press was founded in 2012 by Kamy Wicoff and Brooke Warner as a response to the barriers in traditional publishing. Warner made an impression upon Bumpus as she was a featured speaker at one of the writers club gatherings. Taking a few moments from her busy schedule Warner told this reporter, "California Writers Clubs are invaluable. They are such a supportive resource for writers and authors, she added. They bring in high-level speakers and are focused on keeping writers accountable and educated. I recommend them for any aspiring (or previously published author)," said Warner.
After serving as Executive Editor at Seal Press for almost a decade, Warner left traditional publishing to create a company where authors would be encouraged to publish based upon the merit of their writing alone and not have it subjected to insider bias. Both founders envisioned a publishing outlet by and for women. She Writes Press would be a platform from which a woman could launch a career in writing.
This inspired Bumpus and since being introduced to Warner and her staff through CWC, the two titles she has published with the woman-owned company have brought her glowing reviews and access to audiences never-before dreamed of.
This is why Bumpus is so committed to CWC. In addition to serving as chapter president she currently serves as chair for all the Northern California chapters.
Like Bumpus, club members are very active in the literary community of the San Francisco Bay Area. From the SF Writer's Conference to book festivals and events like Litquake, CWC is there connecting writers to one another and eventually to a readership audience. For more than 20 years CWC hosted the Jack London Writers Conference. Yet when the recession of 2008 hit, by 2010 the annual conference and other events had to be scaled back.
Still, even with set backs membership is 1,800 strong among 21 chapters statewide. As fellow CWC member - published author Elise Frances Miller noted, "we live in a time of unprecedented change in writing. Publishing and marketing our work, with much more expected ahead is now the norm. Learning about our 50 year journey, which includes our up-to-the-moment living history, teaches us how circumstances for writers have never been static, but how the writers of the CWC have smoothed and paved the way."
While Bumpus agreed, she noted that often with the 'hybrid-publishing' format many writers don't realize they must promote their work at their own cost. "Writing is perhaps the easy part. The challenge is promoting a book."
Even with that Bumpus believes this is an exciting time for writers. "The Digital Revolution has opened up so many more venues for writers that in previous times with traditional publishing outlets would have been not possible."
The Peninsula branch of the California Writer's Group will hold its 50th Anniversary celebration on Saturday Feb. 20 in the very same location where it began: the Sequoia Yacht Club in Redwood City. Key note speaker will be Tory Hartmann from the Sand Hill Review Press. A buffet lunch will be served. 50th Anniversary gathering begins at 10 AM. $30.00 for members and $35.00 for non-members. Those attending are asked to please register/RSVP in advance at the California Writers Club Peninsula Branch web site.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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