Offshoots 12

Mary Pecaut



Many thanks to all who submitted for Offshoots 12. The launch on June 8th was an unqualified success, and the volume is now available for sale at 15 chf per copy. Copies can be obtained at GWG workshops beginning in September, as well as at quality bookstores with English language selections such as Off the Shelf bookstore and Payot (the Chantepoulet store) in Geneva, and BooksBooksBooks in Lausanne. Here included is the introduction to the latest in the series of our Offshoots anthologies:


Offshoots 12 represents the work of sixty-two authors from six continents and mirrors the multi-cultural flavor of the Geneva Writers’ Group. The writing is as diverse as the group—with stories and poems from Vietnam to Venezuela, Iraq to Italy and places in between. Reflections is writing that resonates. Through the written word, we glimpse ourselves and understand more fully what it means to be human.

Drawing on rich and varied experiences from around the world, these writers remind us of the extraordinary diversity that abounds. We are transported to a fishing boat, to a war zone, or in front of a refrigerator. Amidst these finely crafted scenes, we reflect upon our shared humanity. We are reminded that life is lived in moments—whether strolling

down the street, riding in a taxi, smoking in a bar, or visiting a museum. Each individual voice and perspective, through careful word choice, conveys a particular experience in such a way that we are present in that moment. We hear the evening ‘filling up with cricket song quiet’; we share the loss of a missed opportunity with a loved one because we were ‘focused on other things’; we feel deeply what is meant ‘between human touch and the nearness of heaven.’

While the details presented are unique, the experiences and emotions are universal—hurt, grief, loneliness, rejection, tenderness, amusement and delight. Whether the piece is about parenting, aging, relationships, transitions, or a mother’s love, there is a watershed moment when we see the world differently. We are moved to a new reality. We make a new connection. Later, we may reflect on that story, that poem, that line.

It has been a distinct honor and privilege to edit Offshoots 12 on the 20th anniversary of the Geneva Writers’ Group. I am grateful to have worked with a stellar team who gave tirelessly of their time and talents; Katie Hayoz, a novelist, fiction writer, and editor; Mary Scheurer, a teacher, poet and short-story writer and Sue Niewiarowski, a graphic designer, poet and artist. I thank each one of them for their dedication, professionalism, passion, and the joy they brought to this endeavor. I am grateful to the GWG members who shared their inspiring poetry and prose. I am also grateful to my husband and three daughters for their loving support and encouragement throughout this project. Many thanks to Margot Hendry and Sofie Herbeck for proofreading. And finally, an enormous hug of appreciation to Susan Tiberghien, for tilling the soil of this fine literary garden where writers thrive.

It is my hope that you will relate to these authors’ words, that a piece may resonate and become more than something read. That these words may become something we experience, a part of us.

Editorial and Production Team

Editors: Katie Hayoz, Mary Scheurer

Design: Sue Niewiarowski

Photographs: Valerie Harrison, Karen McDermott


—Geneva, June 2013

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