What does a bright yellow epiphyllum cactus flower have to do with the upcoming Santa Barbara Writers Conference? And what about that woman in the orange top, Anne Lowenkopf?
Anne taught at SBWC for many years in addition to her other work as a writer and editor. She had a passion for helping others and for believing in writers and seeing their potential through even their early shitty drafts. Her students (me, included) basked in this sense that we could keep getting better if we just kept at it.
Earlier this week would have been Anne’s 92nd birthday. She passed away in December 2010, leaving behind a legacy of a thousand or so writing students who learned much from her over her decades of teaching.
Anne was also a relentless gardener, and she always had extra plants to share. She gave me this yellow blooming cactus somewhere back in the last century. It always blooms in early June, and so all these years I have never forgotten her birthday. It helps me remember all the other things I learned from her.
So yes, I learned writing and passionate gardening from her, but it was that other quality of believing in aspiring writers that has fueled my effort in directing SBWC.
Putting together a writers conference requires a lot of smiling through challenging moments and hanging on to the belief that every writer is worthy…if they have the desire to grow in their craft.
That idea is prevalent at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.
So here is to you, Anne Lowenkopf, wherever you are. Thank you for the epiphyllum, and all the rest.
Grace Rachow, SBWC Director