Photo by Anthony Amato
By Donnie Mangino
In the sultry summer heat, beneath the golden evening light of June 21st, at the Alphabet City tent, 318 Sampsonia Way, the Women Writers of Northview Heights gathered for their second public reading.
Inside the large white tent were rows of chairs, a stage, a single microphone, and the murmur of exchanged conversation and laughter between the motley crowd. The stage was flanked by two flat screen televisions, in the center of the screens was a picture of the Women Writers of Northview Heights and a quote, which stated, “We provide sanctuary to endangered literary writers so that the writers can continue to write and their voices are not silenced.”
July will mark a year since the beginning of the Women Writers of Northview Heights, but the group’s direction still rings loud and clear. Before introducing the first reader of the evening, Ms. Hudson Rush—social worker and self-proclaimed artist—expressed her pride and joy in the accomplishments and progress of the women, and described the group as a “bright spot that I can look forward to.”
The Women Writers of Northview Heights emerged from a therapy group at Northview Heights Family Support Center, and provides the women a creative outlet and freedom to their personal issues, reflections, and inspirations. Rush introduced each writer with aplomb and enthusiasm for their work, dedication, and continual creative outpouring.
The women read their work with undeniable bravery. The subjects of their work fell along a wide spectrum of love, heartbreak, failure, religious faith, and self-affirmation. One reading left the audience wiping tears from the corners of their eyes, another reading left the audience with nothing but laughter and grins that stretched from ear-to-ear. Each of the women’s pieces contained a variety of confessional subject matter, but the audience and the members of the writing group responded with absolute adoration and acclaim.
Writing is a means for the writer to translate ideas onto a page that are oftentimes too challenging to express in everyday conversation or rumination. The women writers approached the stage with confidence—clutching notebooks and papers in hand—and gave individual voice and freedom to their personal works of poetry and prose. With faith and excitement filling every word, Rush expressed her hope in the future of the Women Writers of Northview Heights, and proclaimed the group is “never going to stop.”
An astounding feeling of strength and courage radiated from Rush and the women writers as they gathered on the stage at the closing of the event. With gratitude, the women thanked the audience in attendance, and with song and clapping boisterously chanted the lyrics to the well-known Sister Sledge song “We Are Family.” The women originate from different backgrounds, childhoods, and stories, but the Women Writers of Northview Heights is a sisterhood that nurtures and takes pride in their atmosphere of acceptance and camaraderie. Writing is a solitary act, but that evening the women writers emerged as a singular unit of unfailing support and solidarity. The women approached the stage with their individual works heavy as stones, but behind all of this, one can hope they returned to their respected homes feeling light as the summer air. After all, that is the blessing of art: it gives the artist a brief reprieve and relief from a too oftentimes unforgiving and cruel world.
For more information about the Women Writers of Northview Heights visit hudsonrushworx.com.