The Generosity of Literary Citizens by Ellen Meeropol

May 1 was the last Valley Gives Day — at least in this incarnation of the regional online nonprofit extravaganza — and Straw Dog Writers Guild participated, for the third year. Our fundraising goal was $5000. We asked for your support on our website, in our newsletter, at events, and on social media.

You really came through. We raised more than twice that amount, over $10,000. This money is critical to our mission; it helps pay the salary of our administrative director and honoraria for the writers who present at Straw Dog craft programs and workshops. We are so grateful for your donations, for your support.

Your generosity on Valley Gives got me thinking about literary citizenship in general. It got me thinking about the many ways, in addition to the financial support, that writers and readers in the Valley contribute their talents, time, and effort for the benefit of us all.

Literary citizens are readers and writers, book buyers and library users, authors and editors, indie booksellers and publishers. They subscribe to journals and attend readings. They believe passionately that stories and novels and poems and essays and memoirs enrich our lives. They love to talk about their favorite books. They write notes to authors of books they love. They shout out a book they just finished and loved. They are kind, even about books they did not love. They have strong opinions about sentences and commas and other critical things.

Literary citizens volunteer, in all sorts of way. They host an open mic, offer a ride to a reading, serve on a committee, put up posters for an event. They help set up chairs before a program, put them away at the end. They facilitate a workshop at a jail or senior center or school. They invite a new writer to a reading. They share their time, their talent, their words.

So, thank you. Thank you for donating to Valley Gives. Thank you for being part of Straw Dog Writers Guild in whatever ways make sense for you. Thank you for helping us build a robust and welcoming literary community for all of us.