by Patricia Grady Cox
This past spring I spent a couple of months in Rhode Island, where I’m from. I missed Arizona and took video of snow falling (often), not out of appreciation for its beauty but to show everyone back home how horrible it was in my home state. I was fortunate to return to Phoenix in time to enjoy one of the most beautiful spring seasons I can remember in my 29 years of residency here.
I didn’t completely abandon my writing/marketing while I was gone. I heard about an organization that supports writers and stopped in one afternoon at their downtown Providence location. I was curious about the club, how it started, and what it offered. What a pleasant surprise!
What Cheer Writers Club is a nonprofit 501c organization catering to content creators, whether that be writing, illustrating, or podcasts. It began because a group of people wanted to create a place where these artists could be welcomed, supported, and provided with a place to co-work, learn, and meet with others.
“What Cheer, Netop” is the greeting Roger Williams received from the Narragansett Indians when he canoed across the Seekonk River in 1636 and landed on the Rhode Island shores, escaping the religious persecution of Massachusetts. Generally believed to mean “Greetings, friend,” it’s a famous slogan within the state.
The club is in one of the old “skyscraper” buildings in downtown Providence. A private elevator to the second floor leads to an expansive layout of conference rooms, meeting areas, a room for making phone calls, a recording studio. Leaving the elevator, you walk past the “Hall of Fame,” which displays the members’ books. Inside the meeting area, a separate book shelf displays the books of any local author (not necessarily a member) – in my case, having lived in Rhode Island for 40 years qualified me. They purchased copies of Hellgate and Chasm Creek to put on the shelf!
Along one wall of the main area are partitioned work stations for those who desire more privacy. The communal work areas have laptop desks scattered about. Coffee and tea are available in the hallway. There is always a volunteer available to show people around, answer questions, and be generally helpful.
At just $10, monthly dues are minimal, as are membership requirements, and the benefits are great. Free classes and workshops, discounts at local businesses, open seven days a week, publicity, informal Meetups for mutual support. Co-working space, a podcasting studio, and meeting room rentals are available for small additional fees.
Phoenix is a much bigger city than Providence. We have a huge writing community. Where is our What Cheer Writers Club? Couldn’t all the various writers’ groups, critique groups, authors get together somehow and at least rent a meeting room that could be shared? A permanent, centrally located venue we could all call home?
Recently I saw a posting in a local writers group’s Facebook page asking if there was some central location to get information that would be useful to writers such as statewide events, conferences, workshops, author appearances, etc. Maybe we could start with that – a newsletter or Facebook page or ????
What are your ideas?
Patricia Grady Cox is a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West. Her nonfiction work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and ghost-written memoirs. Patricia has volunteered at the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum where she experienced, first-hand, the realities of life in the 1800s. Her love of the Southwest – the landscape, the history, the culture – infuses her work with authenticity. Originally from Rhode Island, Patricia moved to Arizona 24 years ago and currently lives in Phoenix. Her novel, Chasm Creek, is available through her website and on Amazon. She blogs weekly at Patricia Grady Cox, Writer. Her second novel, HELLGATE, is now on sale.