I Have This Thing About Words

I suspect that most of you writers can relate. We have words that we hate and many more that we love--and yes, we have very strong emotions tied to those words. And now that this intro has become very wordy, I'd like to tell you about a word I love, serendipity.

Serendipity sums up so much of the best parts of life. It can be something as simple as finding the right parking spot on a day that an unexpected downpour hits or that accidental meeting that makes you meet the love of your life.

Serendipity and OWFI? Where is she going with this? So glad you asked.

When speaking to the general meeting at OWFI2016 I was going off the cuff because I must admit, due to unexpected life events, I wasn't prepared. Taking advantage of having the majority of the membership together I decided to answer what many had asked me since December. Why, knowing what you know, would you be president again? And my answer was, knowing what I know, why not?

OWFI has been a part of my life since I was a child. Important occasions were never to be scheduled the first weekend in May.

OWFI is the umbrella organization for affiliate groups not just in Oklahoma, but Texas, Kansas and Arkansas. It's what makes us connected. It's what keeps us writing when any sane person would throw in the towel. It's not some far off organization that makes up rules and throws conventions. OWFI is individual people who volunteer enormous amounts of their time to keep the group going in order to support each other in this crazy world of writing.

So back to serendipity. Speaking from my heart rather than from preparation I wanted to convey to our members how important it is that we embrace that OWFI is not a select group of people on an exclusive board that decides everything and does everything for the organization. OWFI is the members. And I stumbled upon a phrase that instantly caught on and has become our conference title for 2017--We Are OWFI.

With that theme, our team will be working this year to be inclusive of all our members, beginning with our affiliate groups. We want to pull from the rich history of our members, utilizing our vast pool of talent so that as we approach our fiftieth year we will continue for fifty more. Let's work to refocus our thinking from they will do it to we will and each of us embrace our organization to make it thoroughly awesome.

I think we have our most exciting year yet ahead with OWFI. Some of the highlights to be looking forward to will begin with looking back on our first forty-nine years. Projects are in the works to remember those who started our organization and those who have kept it going.

We are half-way through recruiting our faculty for #WeAreOWFI2017 and it is already jammed packed with talent both new and old to OWFI. See Sabrina Fish's article on pg. 16 [of The Report] for a sneak peek of the highlights. We will be bringing back favorites to the conference, including the literary hero's costume contest, the basket auctions, and the writing contest awards. We are also adding more fun, beginning with what is sure to include some theatrical shenanigans as Amy Shogai will be kicking off our first meeting. And we are so happy to have Andrew Kaufman back so we can celebrate along with him his victory over cancer.

But don't wait until May the fourth (be with you) to enjoy the benefits of OWFI. Join your local affiliate now--information on our affiliates is posted on our new and improved website www.OWFI.org (Thanks Jack Burgos!). Start working on your contest pieces now (See if you can beat Jennifer McMurrain's all-time entry number of 24 last year). Enter the Report Fiction Prompt and hopefully your story will be printed in the November Report. (I've already won twice and it feels so cool.)

I hope that you'll take the time to participate and maybe you'll also have some serendipitous moments as you embrace your unique part of #WeAreOWFI2017!