About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, Masque & Spectacle, and several other journals. I have a poem in The Poeming Pigeon, essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. My story "Santa Lucia" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I've written three novels entitled Purple Loosestrife, Hoping It Might Be So, and Dark and Bright, all of which are as yet unpublished. I'm working on a memoir about my experiences with bipolar disorder. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The CNY Creative Writers Cafe

My writers group, the CNY Creative Writers Cafe, of which I am the Organizer (with three fabulous Assistant Organizers, including my critique partner, Michael Canavan), just had its 200th meeting! And we turned five on April 13, 2013! Quite the milestones, and it's thanks to the wonderful people who make up the group.

The group started in 2008 as the Maxwell Writers Group because it met at a library called the Maxwell Memorial Library. Soon we stopped meeting at this and other libraries (not enough time to meet) and started meeting at the Wegmans Market Cafe. Wegmans is the most wonderful regional grocery store on earth and we are blessed to be near its epicenter of Rochester, New York. Many Wegmans stores have Market Cafes and they're perfect for writers groups meetings. We have all the time we need, plus any food and beverages our hearts could desire (Wegmans contains many in-store eateries, a coffee shop, and a bakery to boggle the mind). We changed our name shortly after we began meeting at Wegmans (The "CNY" stands for central New York).

We currently have 48 members, though fortunately not all of them attend meetings at the same time. Our meetings recently have been fairly large--maybe 12 to 19 people. It's a little cumbersome to critique the works on the agenda, but we manage and I think we do quite well.

The CNY Creative Writers Cafe is a fantastic group that I'm so honored to be a part of. The members have helped me a lot with my writing, and I hope I have returned the favor.


  1. Everyone at the CNY Creative Writers Cafe has helped me tremendously! I miss you guys and hope to see you all soon =)

  2. Thanks, Kerry! We are glad to be of help to all members.

  3. 12-19 attendees! Wow, how do you get thru all the critiques?

  4. Vonnie, everyone critiques on paper as well, so the writer gets written critiques in addition to verbal critiques. When we have as many as 12 (or 19!) people, we just try to hit on the main points of our critiques and give the rest of our comments to the writer in writing. We also meet from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., which usually gives us enough time to get through the agenda. Each week's agenda consists of three works. The larger meetings do tend to feel a bit rushed and there's less discussion of relevant points, but I still think we do a good job of giving the writers what they want and need.