Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Faces of 49 Writers: Lizbeth Meredith

49 Writers volunteer Lizbeth Meredith

November is our volunteer appreciation month.  It's only with the help of our capable and committed volunteer crew that we're able to serve Alaska's writing community.  On Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7 pm at the 49 Writers Cafe at Out North, we'll be honoring our volunteers during Open Mic night.  All are welcome!  If you'd like to read from your work, please email 49WritersOpenMic@gmail.com.  Featured here: 49 Writers volunteer Lizbeth Meredith.

Tell us a little about yourself, including your day job and what you do as a volunteer for 49 Writers.

By day, I work as a district supervisor of juvenile probation in Anchorage.  

As a volunteer for 49 Writers, I hang posters of upcoming events at local establishments, occasionally interview Alaskan authors for 49 Writer’s blog, and work with a neat team of volunteers to offer writing programs for youth.

Why did you decide to volunteer at the 49 Alaska Writing Center?

 I love reading and writing, but haven’t always had the time to indulge my interests.
 A sole-supporting single parent since 1990, I’ve been so used to rushing around before and after work to sporting events and other kid activities.

 My daughters are grown now. Their absence has left a big cavity to fill.

When 49 Writers formed, I was impressed with how well-organized it was from the start. It’s been a perfect venue to absorb some of my extra time and energy.

What is the highlight of your involvement so far?

Interviewing the author Jack de Yonge of Boom Town Boys was nice. His sincere enthusiasm for his work was contagious.

 But the most fun has been working to develop writing programs for teens. My day job keeps me involved with kids who often have incredible stories of strength and survival that are buried underneath their delinquency. These kids were excited to fill out recent surveys from 49 Writers indicating their interest in writing opportunities. Likewise, the adults I’ve met, whether they’re staff at non-profits working with kids, Rotarians, or private business owners are just as excited to create those opportunities the kids requested.

Tell us something about your literary interests or activities.
I like reading and writing mostly non-fiction. When I was little, I wrote a lot of poetry. In college, I majored in journalism, but never did much with the degree. Life unfolded differently than I expected, with much of it turning out hideously. Yet I realized it didn’t play out too badly on paper, so I started writing again several years ago.

Now I belong to a great critiquing group which keeps me humming along with my own writing. I’ve learned that my book group is nearly as instrumental in improving my writing skills as my critiquing group. A couple of times a year, I enjoy taking a workshop from 49 Writers, including the David Vann workshop this fall.

What’s the last great book you read?
Lit by Mary Karr, and Half a Life by David Strauss. I simply can’t get enough of well-written, depressing memoirs.

When you picture our writing center ten years from now, what do you imagine?
I envision it being much the same, with but with a cozy, larger location and with numerous community partners that continue to offer opportunities for kids and adults to attend affordable workshops and retreats given by amazing writers.

3 comments:

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Great to learn more about your background, Lizbeth! I've known you through some shared volunteer duties and events, but didn't know your current job or background. I really appreciate these volunteer interview posts, which help us get to know the people who are doing behind-the-scenes work.

Also, your mention of "Half A Life" inspires me to add it to my 2012 TBR list.

Cindy Dyson said...

Thank you for volunteering your time and passion Lizbeth.

LAMeredith said...

Thank you both for your parts in making this such fun. I've volunteered at various places for the past many years, but this is the most organized, fun, and appreciative group of people I've encountered.