We all write for different reasons: A story needs to be told, a heart needs healing, a problem needs addressing or an answer needs to be shared with the world.
From cookbooks to creative nonfiction, many Rogue Valley women have put pen to paper, creating a library of experience and imagination.
"Because I was writer, I was carrying the story inside me," says Ashland author and writing coach, Alissa Lukara. Her memoir, "Riding Grace: A Triumph of the Soul" (2007, Silver Light Publications) chronicles her journey of finding healing, wholeness and grace through the transformation of chronic illness and childhood abuse issues.
Sharing deeply personal information can be both challenging and rewarding. When her book was published, Lukara realized her story resonated with other women. Readers could relate to the growth and expansion possible in life-altering events. And the act of telling her story allowed Lukara to "de-identify" with that part of her past.
"Once I wrote it," she adds, "I could move on with my life."
Cheryl Long of Applegate followed her passions onto the page, and initially those passions were found in the kitchen. In 1983 she co-founded a small publishing company, Culinary Arts, and gave birth to her first book, "How to Make Danish Fruit Liquors." For the next 18 years she ran the company, published the work of other home economists and produced two more books of her own, "Easy Microwave Preserving" and "Gourmet Mustards."
"Writing cookbooks is a precise science," she says. "I work on a recipe until I think I've got it down. After I have it in print form, I repeat the recipe to make sure all the steps are there for the reader."
Some women become writers out of necessity. "I'm not a writer. I'm an educator," says Qigong teacher, Deborah Davis. "I wanted to honor my teacher, Dr. Wong, who is now in his 80s, and get the information out there."
Her book, "Women's Qigong for Health and Longevity" (2008, Shambhala Publications) "is loaded with practical, effective and transformational information and practices to help all midlife women maintain vibrant health," according to Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of "The Wisdom of Menopause."
Davis, who practices acupuncture in Ashland, has been an apprentice to the Qigong master since 1990. The idea for her book started at the beginning of that apprenticeship.
"A few years ago I realized I would really regret it if I didn't write it before he died."
Lukara, Long and Davis have all been active with the Willamette Writer's Association. The statewide organization hosts local monthly meetings and offers workshops, classes and critique groups for aspiring writers of all genres. Meetings are the first Saturday of the month at the Central Point City Hall Council Chambers, 140 S. Third St., in Central Point.
Valerie Foster is the co-coordinator for the Southern Oregon chapter of the association. She has an article set for publication in an upcoming anthology, "When God Spoke to Me."
"Writing, itself, is a lonely thing, so it's good to have contact with other writers," says Foster.
More information about membership and events is available at www.willamettewriters.com.