Meet the Neighbors: Q&A with Patti Ross of the Maryland Writers’ Association

Patti Spady Ross graduated from American University with a degree in Journalism. Having published several articles in the Washington Times and the Rural America newspapers, Patti settled on a career in the corporate technology arena and the raising of her two daughters.

Thirty years later she is sharing her voice as a spoken word artist, “little pi,” throughout the region and working on her debut chapbook. She is the current secretary for the Maryland Writers’ Association. You can follow and or read more on her blog at https://littlepisuniverse.wordpress.com.

We’re very grateful she’s willing to answer a few questions for us.

Q: What’s the mission of the Maryland Writers’ Association?

The Maryland Writers’ Association (MWA) is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the art, business, and craft of writing in all its forms. We work to support aspiring, emerging, and established writers of all genres and disciplines. We hope to serve as an information and networking resource for members throughout the state to reach their full writing potential including publication. Please see our website for more details on the service’s membership provides.

Q: What’s the role of the different county chapters?

The county chapters are created to allow writers from a geographical area to network and support each other through monthly meetings, readings, and local chapter events. Any member of MWA can attend any chapter meeting. Often meetings cover genre specific topics; thus, members may travel between meetings to learn and share writing experiences or opportunities.

Q: How did you get involved with the MWA?

I have been writing poetry for a long time. A few years back I shared some of my work with a dear friend who was a MWA member. As I began to look to further develop my spoken word talent, my friend suggested I seek out the Howard County chapter of MWA. After attending a few meetings I joined. The professionalism of the members and the depth of the presentations were wonderful. Members were serious in their writing but not stodgy. It was a good fit and put me back in to the world of journalism I left a few years after college graduation.

Q: I notice that the MWA’s annual conference is coming up in March. As a writer, why might that be something for me to think about?

The annual conference is always loaded with wonderful learning and networking opportunities. The presenters are leaders in their genre area, and the ability to sit in a relatively small group session with a successful published author and receive specific feedback is not easily accessible. Additionally, having the opportunity to meet agents and publishers face to face at lunch or a Pitch or Critique session can be invaluable to a writer no matter where they are in their writing career.

Q: Thank you for coming to the launch last month of our newest issue. Did you have any favorite readings?

Yes. Of course Alan King is a phenomenal poet. I have heard him read before, and so LPR honoring him was something I wanted to support. He is a Cave Canem graduate, as is Crystal Wilkerson, one of the keynote speakers at our conference in March. The rich history of that program ensures that the writer will have an authenticity that will touch the reader/listener in some emotional way.

I enjoyed Xinyu Winniebell Zong’s poem, “The Bungalow Chicken”; the stripping of the chicken and the stripping of the mother/daughter relationship was metaphoric genius. I loved it. I thought Rebecca Moon Ruark’s story “While Our Grown Men Played” was outstanding. Her reading was fantastic: she drew me in and I was with her all the way. Her writing was vivid and detailed. I went back and read the story in the journal and the words stirred the same feelings as before, perhaps even deeper because it was my voice in my head reliving the details. Powerful.

Q: Are you working on anything now?

Yes. I’m continuing to develop my spoken word world. I use the pseudonym“little pi,” and I am around town at social justice and other type open mic sessions sharing my desire for change in the world. You can read my mumbling, aka. blog, at https://littlepisuniverse.wordpress.com.

As a poet, I was recently published in the Pen in Hand literary journal published by the Maryland Writers’ Association. I am in the beginning of a do-it-yourself MFA program as well as continuing to take writing courses at a number of local institutions. Finally, I am working on my debut chapbook for fall 2019.

Thank you for the opportunity to share share my thoughts.

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