At the Oak Park Community Foundation

After the SLF meeting (where Karen, Julia, and I got a surprising amount done — ALL the interviews are now off my computer and on the Google Drive, ready to be edited, so they should start showing up here soon, for one, AND we got started on the illustrator database, AND I publicized the first chapter meeting happening this weekend, etc.), I walked up to the Carleton for a reception for the Oak Park Community Foundation.

It was interesting — they were mostly talking about the fund performance, which is of only academic interest to me at the moment, since we opened a SLF fund with them only so we could take stock gifts — the stocks were donated to the fund, translated into cash for us, and we immediately took them out and moved them to our bank account for use in paying out grants and paying our new part-time staff. (Our Working Class Writers’ Grant is closing at the end of the month, reminder. Get those (free to apply) grant applications in!)

So when they were talking about having had a very good year growing everyone’s investments, I could only sigh wistfully and imagine what it would be like to have a $100k endowment for the SLF, that might grow from year to year. At some point, perhaps we will run a capital campaign, but we’re pretty far from that point right now.

I’m starting to gear up for our spring membership drive, and our goals are much more modest there — if we can collect 125 new members this spring, each paying $2 / month, that translates to $24 / year each, or $3000 / year total. That’ll give us enough money to ensure that I can keep paying the part-time staff for a few more months, and afford the editing services for the interviews we plan to put online for the Portolan Project (our attempt at crowdfunding free creative writing instruction).

So we’re a long way from an endowment! But I’m glad I went, even if I didn’t get a 19% return on an investment like everyone else in the room. (Sigh.) If we do get to a point where we can try to grow the SLF in that direction, it’s good to know that the OPRF Community Foundation seems quite capable in this regard. (Alex Gurevich, I saved their financial materials to show you when I get a chance; would be interested to hear your take.)

(As a side note, they also hold a fund for the library, so in my capacity as library trustee, it was interesting to think about that, and how if the library chooses to pursue more donations along those lines, what it might look like, in terms of cultivating donor relationships, etc. FYI, David J. Seleb, Matt Fruth.)

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First official meeting of the Speculative Literature Foundation

Hey, folks. So we’re having our first official meeting of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s first official chapter this Sunday. (At my house.) Woot!

In 2020, Chicago chapter membership will be free; we’d love to get together with other folks (readers, writers, parents, teens, teachers, and more) who love science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, fairy tales, folklore — anything with a fantastical or speculative element.

We’ve been running a reading series (Deep Dish) in Chicago at Volumes Cafe for the past three years, but we want to do more. What exactly? It depends on what chapter members are excited to have happen — SF/F book club? Writing workshop? Lit festival? Something else we haven’t thought of?

We’re excited to bring even more events and programs to the Chicagoland area but need your help and ideas to grow even bigger.

Food, friends, drinks and games. (I’ll be cooking.  )


3 – 5PM: Open Meeting to discuss plans for the 2020 season. Refreshments will be served.

5 – 8PM: Potluck dinner, games and break outs to discuss the craft of writing, networking and all around hanging out.


Please RSVP here:

• If you can’t make it this Sunday, but want to be sure to stay informed about the Chicago chapter activities, join our Facebook group:

• You can also sign up for the SLF newsletter here:

• Or follow us on Twitter!

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Upcoming at the SLF!

I’m super-excited about what’s happening at the Speculative Literature Foundation in 2020; for one, we have two new interns who’ve joined us this semester from UIC, Darius and Emmanuel, both aspiring SF writers and avid SF/F fans. It’s going to be terrific to have them on board.

We had a great long meeting on Friday, orienting them to the SLF and what we’re hoping to do with:

• the Portolan Project (free online creative writing instruction for all!)

• local chapters (first SLF Chicagoland chapter meeting at my house, Sun 2/16, woot!) — book club? critique group? board game nights? movie outings? bringing in agents and editors to speak? Come join us and help shape the chapter!

• the Deep Dish reading series (next reading Sat 3/14, and if Volumes Bookcafe is up for it, it’s also going to be a launch party for Feast, woohoo, so mark your calendars, locals, as I will have tasty, tasty treats for you there)

• writing workshops in Oak Park, in partnership with Maram Makerspace, including one upcoming Saturday July 25th, again, mark your calendars — we’re hoping to expand those to a 10-day workshop in 2021, and quite possibly a 6-week workshop down the road. (Clarion Midwest? We’ll see.)

• and more! (But wait, there’s more…)

Tomorrow, Darius and Emmanuel are going to come join me and Managing Director Karen for our Monday afternoon SLF work meeting, and we’ll figure out exactly what they’ll be working on first. Over the weekend, I’ve asked them to learn more about the other writing workshops in the field — I told them about Clarion, Odyssey, and Viable Paradise. Which other workshops should I set them to researching, do you think?

And hey — after about a month mostly off, I’m back in fundraising mode for the SLF, so you’re going to start hearing more about that. Most of why we’re able to actually do all this is that we raised enough funds to hire some part-time staff to help us out, and that’s all coming from memberships — we’re up to $510 / month!

(We have a real bookkeeper now. It’s very exciting.)

Can you help us get to liftoff? Our winter fund drive goal is $625 / month — we’re almost there! We’d love to have you join us as a member, for just $2 / month. We’re planning to give back some great resources to the community as we grow! It’s going to be fun. 

Join the SLF here!

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