KaBooM WritersKaBooM Writers

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!

The KaBooM Writers Notebook: Our Blog

Try This

For several years, I’ve been privileged to lead a gathering of wordsmiths in “Writing Practice” at the Carnegie Center, where for an hour and a half once a week we do short timed writings in response to specific prompts.  These prompts can be as simple as single words or phrases: one popular prompt collection includes paint chips of bright or unusual colors with evocative names: “blush,” “forest light,” “firecracker.”

The point is to commit to write without stopping, without thinking through labored connections; to write quickly and from our deepest places, burning through false starts and second guesses because there simply isn’t time for unproductive dithering.  Often, writing this way captures an energy of mind our more considered writing lacks.  Frequently, small bits of real treasure are uncovered.  We immediately read these pieces aloud.  Because these pages are raw,  critiques are not appropriate.   Instead, reading aloud releases the words, provides a small public place for them to be heard, and allows some all-important distance between the writer and the pages that have just been filled.  Sometimes what’s read is so fresh and sharp it surprises everyone in the room, including the writer.

And that treasure I mentioned?  Many of us take it away and, in private writing spaces, allow it to open even further.  Award-winning poems, serendipitous solutions to narrative problems, and satisfying essays have all had their beginnings in writing practice.  This is the kind of practice that keeps a word-yogi limber.  At their roots, the words practice and practical come from the Greek praktikos which means ‘concerned with action.’   Writing practice is one way to make our commitments to writing active, to take them from vague good intentions and transform them into embodied reality.

Writers' notebooks

But you don’t have to wait to find a group to try this kind of “capture.”   One of the reasons we chose to include our “Try This” exercises at the end of each piece in our anthology When The Bough Breaks was to encourage our readers to engage in their own creative process.   Our “Try This” pieces are full of questions designed to nudge, suggest, and encourage the reader to pick up a pen and let that ink flow.

Why not make an appointment with yourself this week?  Come on—set a timer, pick up a prompt, and Try This.

A further note: Writing Practice is a tradition Laverne Zabielski initiated more than a decade ago, indebted to Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones, where in her chapter “First Thoughts” she lists “rules” to make timed writings a place where one can “explore the rugged edge of thought.”

Comments (0) — Categorized under: Gail Koehler,Writing Exercises

The National Day on Writing in Lexington

These pictures were taken as the “Longest Short Story Ever Written in Lexington” event unfolded at Third Street Stuff. Everyone was invited to add a line, or several, to the story begun that morning at the Carnegie Center by Ed McClanahan. The tale grew at various locations in Lexington throughout the day. Listen to the WUKY radio report featuring Gail and Lynn.

Gail with the poster advertising Lexington's writing event

Gail with the poster advertising Lexington's writing event

Pam adds to the story as Jan looks on

Pam adds to the story as Jan looks on

One more writer in the parking lot considers what to add before the writing pad moves on

One more writer in the parking lot considers what to add before the writing pad moves on

The Herald-Leader article by Amy Wilson about the finished product, with photo by Pablo Alcala, are here.

Comments (0) — Categorized under: Susan Christerson Brown

Celebrate the National Day on Writing, October 20

This Tuesday morning, October 20, the members of KaBooM will join millions of other Americans as they observe the National Day on Writing.

Conceived by the National Council of Teachers of English, the day is devoted to celebrating and spotlighting one of humankind’s “most central and important activities.” The US Senate recently passed a resolution commemorating the day.

The National Day on Writing is intended to capture what Americans are doing as writers and to document the breadth of that effort—from social media posts to journaling to writing family histories to composing poems and stories to gathering together with the members of a writing group to create an anthology of pieces.

If you would like to post a piece of your own writing to the National Gallery, you can visit www.galleryofwriting.org and find the perfect home for your words. (By searching Kentucky galleries, you can post your work directly to the Carnegie Center Gallery. Or choose another gallery if you prefer.)

Or stop by Third Street Stuff and Coffee between 9 and 11, where the members of KaBooM will be busily engaged in their regular Tuesday occupation—setting pen to paper as they practice the art of writing.

Comments (0) — Categorized under: Jan Isenhour


I’ve been thinking a lot about connection lately. Since the release of the book and the launch of the website I’ve enjoyed meeting new people, both electronically and in person. I love that our website viewers and facebook fans come not only from cities across the U.S., but from four continents and several countries!

Sharing information, ideas, experiences, and perspectives was why we needed written language to begin with and why words fly through cyberspace today. Through writing we can know people distant in place and removed in history. When we’re lucky, the written word introduces us to like-minded souls, reassuring us that we are not alone in how we see the world.

A simple blog like this one can’t foster the same depth of connection as a work of art, but it’s a form that offers its own excitement. For a relatively small investment of time, reading or writing a blog is a chance to interact with a variety of people. It helps us find folks with whom we share something in common, including those whom we might not meet any other way. Those connections can even enable the building of communities through our reading and writing. And making a connection with another person is a gift, in whatever form it may occur.

Comments (0) — Categorized under: Susan Christerson Brown

Caught on a Thread

I seem to always end up sewing something no matter where I start out.  My grandmother taught me to sew when I was a teenager saying that if I insisted on wearing my skirts at belt length,  I should learn to hem them myself. Well, it was the 60s and miniskirts were the height of fashion.  My mother refused to do any sewing, viewing it as a chore.  I’m afraid  I adopted her attitude for years until I caught a severe case of  quilting fever. Now I’m a fabric artist sewing scraps of fabric and thread into complicated wall hangings. I have a studio, a design wall, a website, and a sewing machine that cost more than my first car,  all dedicated to sewing. My grandmother would be proud.

Still, I thought writing would be the one activity that would never involve sewing.  I found out how wrong that assumption was when KaBoom decided to create a book.  Not only did we write, edit, and design our book, we have actually sewn many of them as part of the binding process.  The elegant edge, caught up in what Susan named the butterfly stitch, is a thing of beauty most book lovers will never see.  I , however, will not look at another bound book without seeing the stitches holding the smooth pages together and feeling the prick of the needle as it winds in and out. And I am sewing yet again.

The Butterfly Stitch

The Butterfly Stitch

Comments (0) — Categorized under: Mary Alexander,Sewing Book Bindings

How did Argiope Press get its name?

ArgiopeSeveral of you have asked about the origin of the name Argiope Press, the branch of our collective responsible for transforming manuscript into book.

Two years ago in August I was in my garden weeding (crouched on my knees) when I lifted my head and saw an enormous spider just inches away from my face. She had concealed herself in a clump of balloon flowers, where she was busily spinning a web. By her girth and markings I assumed she was something special, so for the first time in my life I was interested in identifying a spider.

An internet search led me to a picture of argiope, an orb weaver or “writing spider,” named for the way she stabilizes her web by appearing to create letters. I grabbed a camera and snapped a photo. After several days, argiope had disappeared, but the inspiration stayed, and we decided she was a perfect mascot for our group—a Kentucky gal who writes and thrives in a natural landscape.

This August, just as copies of When the Bough Breaks arrived from Larkspur after their letterpress dust jackets and bindings had been completed, I saw another argiope busily writing in the midst of my hostas and took it as a sign of great good fortune than once again our endeavor had received this blessing.

P.S. Argiope Press is not able to accept other manuscripts for publication at this time.

Comments (1) — Categorized under: Jan Isenhour