November 2020 NorthWords

Writing in Retirement: How To Get Started

Virtual Panel

Thursday, November 5

7 pm – 8 pm via Zoom

Maybe you’ve always wanted to write, but never had the time.

You’re retired or approaching retirement.

Maybe you’re still working but your children have all left the nest and you’ve extra time.

The urge to write keeps nudging you, but how do you get started?

Lake Superior Writers is presenting a panel discussion about writing later in life. Four local authors, who started writing after retirement, will hold a Question & Answer session via Zoom on Thursday, November 5, 2020, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

This event is free and membership is not required. And even if you’re years away from retirement, but want to start writing, you’re welcome to attend. Much of what the panelists will share is useful to new writers of any age. TO REGISTER EMAIL: A link will be sent out the day of the event.


After Christine Marcotte retired, she attended a birthday party for a great-aunt and learned about an ancestor who was murdered in 1897. Intrigued, she researched and wrote a historical fiction novel based on the murder. She also writes short stories and a newspaper column about historical events in Itasca County.
Molly Hoeg began writing after retiring from a career in IT eight years ago.  She is a regular contributor to several regional and national magazines and is currently writing a book about her other retirement hobby, bicycle touring.
Ann Marie Mershon is a retired English teacher who taught in Minnesota and Istanbul, Turkey. She has written three books, and she writes about travel, health and fitness and outdoor adventures.
Victoria Lynn Smith started writing fiction and creative nonfiction after retiring from teaching. Her stories and essays have appeared in regional publications and on blogs. She is working on a book of short stories.

Literary events in our region 

Nov 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 (Sun) 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Weekly Duluth Poetry Chapter Meetings

The Duluth Poetry Chapter meets every Sunday over Zoom. They share poems, write using prompts, and critique each other’s work. Check out their Facebook page to learn more:

Nov 8 (Sun) 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Second Sunday Reading Series

The Duluth Poet Laureate Project will conclude its “Second Sunday Reading Series,” an online open poetry reading organized by Gary Boelhower, 2018-2020 Duluth Poet Laureate, on Sunday, November 8th, from 3 to 4 pm. The reading will feature Sheila Packa and Blair Powless, followed by an open reading. The poetry reading will be offered through the ZOOM online video communications technology. The public is invited to view the reading through a ZOOM online portal; please register for the program with Gary Boelhower through email, Poets who wish to participate in the open reading segment should contact Gary Boelhower. The Duluth Poet Laureate Project began in 2005 and is funded by donations from The Friends of the Duluth Public Library, Lake Superior College, Lake Superior Writers, and the English departments at the College of Saint Scholastica, UMD, and by generous individuals. The Zeitgeist Community Arts Center is the fiscal sponsor. More information can be found at

Nov 12 (Thurs) 7:00 pm – In Conversation: Thomas D. Peacock and Linda LeGarde Grover

Zenith Bookstore is thrilled to host award-winning authors Thomas D. Peacock (“The Wolf’s Trail”) and Linda LeGarde Grover (“In The Night of Memory”) in conversation about their writing and their recent novels. This Crowdcast virtual event is free. RSVP at to receive the login link.


Split Rock Press Poetry Chapbook

Split Rock Press is a micro press and an imprint of Split Rock Review. We host the annual Split Rock Chapbook Series and publish eco-friendly books that explore place, environment, and the relationship between humans and the natural world. We’re currently seeking poetry chapbook manuscripts for publication in 2021. Manuscripts should be 16 to 28 pages in length. Submissions are read blind. Simultaneous submissions are OK. There is a $7 submission fee. For more information and a full list of guidelines, visit: Submit at Reading period November 1-November 30, 2020.

Nov 14 (Sat) 10:30 am – 12:00 pm – Making Comics: An Online Workshop

Have you ever wanted to make comics but weren’t sure how to start? Do you like creating characters and telling stories, but are intimidated by drawing? This workshop offers participants the opportunity to explore the comics medium. Participants will be introduced to the basic elements of comics and learn how to create their own comics through a series of short writing prompts and fun drawing activities. This workshop is appropriate for both adults and high school students. No drawing experience necessary. This workshop will be presented online via Zoom. Tuition for the 90-minute workshop is $30. Write On members receive a 10% discount. To register online for this workshop, visit: For other registration options, please call 920.868.1457.

Thin Air MagazineThin Air invites all writers, emerging and established alike, to submit to our Spring 2021 issue. We accept fiction and creative nonfiction up to 3,000 words, up to five poems, and up to five pieces of visual art. Our editors are also interested in pieces that defy categorization. Regardless of form, we want material that feels fresh. The pieces we accept tend to surprise us and remind us why we fell in love with reading in the first place.  We continually strive to publish authentic work from a multiplicity of perspectives.  

We publish and circulate our journal annually. Alongside our print journal, we also offer the opportunity for publication through our online Web Features with no submission fee, as well as a submission fee-less day on the 15th of every month for submissions from Black and Indigenous writers of color. 

We are also hosting an inaugural free-to-submit contest that celebrates, centers, and pays BIPOC writers for their outstanding work. We are seeking submissions in any genre under 500 words. The winner will receive $500, be interviewed for Thin Air Online, and be published in Thin Air Magazine. Entries are free, limited to BIPOC writers, and will be accepted from October 15 to December 1 on Submittable. This year’s judge is American Book Award-winner Jake Skeets. 

Is the landscape of your piece one which we’ve never seen before? Send us your most resilient work, something that will survive above 7,000 feet. We’re excited to read it.

River Poems – Organizers of the St. Louis River Summit and the River Talks speaker series will soon seek submissions of poems about rivers. Featured poems will be chosen by a panel of local writers and river scientists. Poets will have the chance to read their poems during an online River Talk event held in conjunction with the Summit on March 3, 2021, at 7 p.m. Poems about the St. Louis River are preferred, but those about any river are welcome. The St. Louis River Summit is an annual event attended by more than 250 natural resource managers, researchers, educators and the public with the goal of sharing river activities and research. River Talks is a public-friendly evening science event held monthly during the academic year. More details to come next month. The deadline will be in early February 2021.

The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar is now available for sale at The coil-bound weekly agenda calendar is 160 pages and contains poetry by almost 200 poets. Quantities are limited, so anyone interested in ordering is encouraged to do so early.

KUDOS – News about our members

Jan Chronister has poems appearing or forthcoming in Glow (Truth Serum Press), The Aunt Flo Project, and Highland Park Poetry. Her poem “Dichotomy” was nominated by Highland Park Poetry for “Best of the Net.” Jan was invited to submit a poem to Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems, an anthology edited by Margaret Rozga, Wisconsin Poet Laureate. Jan earned a third place, two honorable mentions and an award of merit in the League of Minnesota Poets 2020 contest. Decennia, Jan Chronister’s second full-length poetry collection, has been released by Truth Serum Press. More about the book and ordering information can be found at Copies can also be ordered directly from Jan at via

Imelda Dickinson

Imelda Dickinson – At 90 years old, local writer, Imelda Dickinson has just completed her second book in a 3 part series of 40 interesting stories and cleverly written poetry as seen through the eyes of beautiful, porcelain dolls which she gifts to people all over the world. The first book, Personally Yours, was self-published, and now she is looking for an agent or publicist to assist her with the remaining two. More information, photos and contact info can be seen on her website;

Linda LeGarde Grover‘s poem “Everything You Need to Know in Life You’ll Learn at Boarding School” has been included in When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, W.W. Norton & Company, October 2020.

Linda Olson (pen name Leith Brown) has had her horror short story “The Fun Room” published on the Twin Ports Terror website, just in time for Halloween.

Victoria Lynn Smith‘s short story “Silent Negotiations” took second place in the 2020 Hal Prize Fiction Contest. Her story and other contest winners can be read at Poetry and nonfiction winners can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of the page.