Jim Landwehr – Why We Write

After enrolling in AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop in 2009, I suddenly found myself surrounded by people just like me. Most were just starting out, and few, if any, had published. Yet we were all there for the same inexplicable reason, we felt an urge to write as a creative outlet. While I was intimidated during the first meeting or so, that fear quickly dissipated when my peers critiqued my work. It was their words of support and encouragement that spurred me on. Words like “this is so funny” or “I love this piece,” were exactly what I needed to hear to push me to become a better writer.

I went into the class intending to write non-fiction only. It seemed to be my gift and writing anything else never really occurred to me. My writing instructor, Kathie Giorgio, pushed all of us to experiment with other styles, genres and formats. I began to mess around with poetry, more out of curiosity than anything else. I wanted to stretch myself and see if I was any good at it. Kathie urged me to start submitting my work, so I sent a couple of poems to Verse Wisconsin, a local poetry magazine.

A few weeks later I got an email from one of the editors of Verse Wisconsin, saying she and her colleague were sitting at coffee laughing at my poem, which they loved. They asked if it would be okay to publish it, to which I responded, YES!!! Now, I know this is a small thing, a short poem, not my best work, for a local magazine. At the same time it absolutely fueled my desire to be published. I have been working hard ever since with a fair amount of success, including my first book-length memoir Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, published last month.

But I don’t want to sound one-dimensional, that the only reason I write is to be published. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I write because it is my way of working things out in my head. I tend to reminisce and romanticize the past a lot, which makes memoir a perfect outlet. I tend to be an introspective introvert, which makes poetry a perfect fit. It’s how I put skin to my thoughts and make them walk around. In some ways it’s easier than actually speaking them. In a funny, related story, writing letters back and forth was how I actually met my wife. We were pen pals from five states away for a year and a half before we finally met and fell in love. My wife claims it was my words that drew her to me. I was able to pen my thoughts better than verbalize them to her, and it paid off. We celebrated twenty-four years this June.


Life has a way of creating unexpected challenges, which I guess are there just to push our buttons. This year has presented me with a number of hurdles, which have managed to impede my progress in certain areas. Unfortunately Zest has probably taken the hardest hit.  I want to thank everyone for their patience. I have much correspondence to catch up on and many sincere apologies to make. Thank you for sticking with me during this time. I hope that the next issue will have been worth the wait – I am in no doubt about this as there are many more wonderful creations to be shared with you.

The submissions for issue 7 are currently open – please check out the guidelines on our site. I hope you will send some work my way.

Glad to be back to work, can’t wait to hear from you.



A Zest First!

Well hello dear readers,

Welcome to something very exciting: our very first ‘Why We Write’ vlog, courtesy of Ms Paula Acton. In fact, it was Paula’s idea to approach me with this piece and I am very pleased that she has. Kick back with a cuppa and enjoy listening to her share with us her reasons for writing and taking photographs for Zest.


Zest Issue 4 – Black and White

Hurrah! The 4th issue of Zest Literary Journal is now live! Tell all your friends!

With just a click of a button, you will be transported to a glossy new edition with enigmatic artwork and photography along with thought provoking literary works. It has been such a joy to work on this issue. The file available is a PDF so you can download it straight onto your computer/tablet etc.

Zest Issue 4 – Black and White

Please allow me to extend my thanks and praise to all those involved: the contributors, Liz Bury, the wonderful tech team at lucidpress.com and all of you, our loyal readers. Please enjoy this and share it with those around you who appreciate really fantastic creativity.

Watch this space for further interaction with our contributors.

Kate 🙂

Time is Ticking…

Hello everyone!

I can hardly believe that in just three days the submissions for Issue 5, ‘It’s Complicated’ will be closing. If you are feeling creative, why not send something in. A doodle,  a comic strip, a poem, a song, a story, an essay, a photograph – they tell 1000 words, don’t you know? I’d love to see your work.

There have been unforeseen delays in the production of issue 4, but rest assured, it is certainly on its way. As always, you are in for a treat! I think I have sorted a few technical glitches, which hopefully will lead to the next issue being far easier to upload. Fingers crossed!

So, how have you been?