Meet Word Wizard Maggie Pucillo

The Word Wizards and Me

 We introduced ourselves at the pool. “Maggie here, morning.

“Good morning to you, I’m Barbara Hodges.”

After the workout we chatted. “I’m a writer,” she said.

 “So am I,” I blurted, and it’s been a fun ride ever since.
My writing up to that day was full on non-fiction. Writing essays and presentations; working on projects for the degree and teaching credential, completing individual and group work for continuing ed units.It was working writing. I hadn’t written a page of fiction for years, then I found a small writer group and sat with them for a year or so back in the Pasadena years. We focused on creativity and worked with writing prompts-some of them linger in my mind today. We scribbled away then read aloud to one another. Not a hint of critique from anyone. The point was to get words on paper, however they landed.
I met with the Word Wizards ten or more years when all four founding Wizards still sat with us; all of them published, sure of themselves and ready and willing to help a newbie.
It was a steep learning curve from day one.
This was a critique group. Of course the art of writing and the fun with characters and dialog were discussed; my challenge was to learn how to take critique and use it to improve my pages. I treasured my words. The characters were fully realized, their dialog all it should be-blah-blah-blah. Like many beginners before me I defended every point and tried to win it. Not the preferred response, I soon learned.
   I dare say, without the valuable skills (see above) I learned over time, this little essay itself would be poorly punctuated and the narrative would likely be bullet point style. Sitting with the Word Wizards has been busy and demanding and at the same time an experience learning from peers and having discussions that matter about the crafts of writing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. At times the group is like a family, at times like a group of asylum escapees-but never dull or boring.
   Thanks, fellow Wizards, for still letting me in the door.

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