First, I want to thank those who nominated me to the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference board. It means so much to me – being born and raised in South Philadelphia – to find that my ramblings and teachings managed to land me amongst this fine group of people who care about assisting others in their writing journeys.

About a week after my election to the board, Jim Knipp asked me to set up a PWC sponsored free forum that we hold near and dear to our hearts.  It is a special project that is both timely and necessary. The panel features a theme that my writing partner and dear friend, Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey created literally from her heart and soul.

Painting of Elaine, by Brigitte O’Dowd

Elaine writes this about the project:

Scars and Tattoos: Our Stories on Our Skin originated from my own ten-inch scar which runs down the middle of my chest. I am a heart transplant recipient/survivor. After my surgery, and for many months afterwards, I wouldn’t even look at my scar. I feared the gnarled bloody tear it might be. Much later, I was able to accept and eventually embrace my scar and my story that goes with it. All along as I hid it under my clothes I also hid what it represented: my strength and my fortitude. Once I realized what my scar symbolized, I not only secured it for myself, but also realized sharing my story might help strengthen others. I then took my idea further and included tattoos. Scars and tattoos display the artwork of our living on our bodies.Intentionally or unintentionally they convey whom we become through the tales that shape us.”

As you can see dear readers, it is a most interesting project and topic. So good in fact, that we invited other friends to the PWC free event to share their stories and writing accomplishments.   On Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Haddon Heights Library from 12 – 3 PM, Elaine and Ifellow board members Eileen D’Angelo and Lisa Lutwyche and local inspirations Ayesha Hamid and K.J. Wells will share our work and thoughts on this very important subject.

And there is more! Throughout the week leading up to the panel, we’ll add quotes and information from our participants here on the PWC website and on our Facebook page.

Friends,  I do not hope but instead promise you a heartfelt and much needed discussion on this powerful topic that encompasses our added panel of heroes and their works.  I hope you will join us on Saturday for Scars & Tattoos: Finding Beauty Amongst Life’s Challenges: A deep and personal conversation about turning even life’s darkest moments into pieces of joy, inspiration, and beauty.

Can’t wait to see you there and host your afternoon.

Cathy T. Colborn,Professor, Author, and PWC Board Member