|Amy Bickers shares a laugh with Alexis Barton and Erin Shaw Street|
I truly feel a kinship with every woman and girl on the planet and this drives nearly everything I do. As an English teacher, published essayist, blogger and former full-time journalist, I am particularly passionate about empowering women through the written word. This passion motivated me recently to start See Jane Write, a networking group that will seek to enrich, support, and promote female bloggers, journalists, and creative writers in Birmingham, Ala.
Though I was born and raised in Birmingham, my journalism career was developed elsewhere so I had very few contacts to work with when I was struck with this idea. But I scoured publication mastheads, blogs and other websites searching for women writers to invite to join the group. On March 24, 14 women gathered for dinner at Cantina in Pepper Place for our first meeting. Cantina was unusually noisy that night and I worried the din of the restaurant would stifle communication. Most of these women had never met before this night and here I was expecting them to yell introductions to one another while their fish tacos got cold. But within minutes, and without a single awkward ice breaker game, our table was abuzz with conversation. Women were moving from chair to chair around the table exchanging business cards and making plans to get together for lunch. The conversations, however, went far beyond happy hour small talk. I witnessed two filmmakers in the group become fast friends as they discovered they also shared a love for music and several other interests. I joined conversations on topics ranging from coping with grief and managing illness to natural hair care and gold shoes; from the highs and lows of motherhood to the ins and outs of Twitter.
I took a moment looked around and saw excitement on the face of each woman there because each conversation always turned back to the sentiment of “Just do it!” That book you want to write, that film you want to produce, that blog you want to start – just do it! And I believe, or at least I hope, that in that moment each woman felt she could “just do it” not only because she had the talent and the skill, but also because she had the support of her sisters.
For more information on See Jane Write, contact me, Javacia Harris Bowser, at firstname.lastname@example.org.