History of the poet's circle
With a history extending back into the 1980s, the poet's circle, today, is the free library privileges and emailing list for the T&SC. All those on the tpc mailing list may utilize the library, however, just those with email addresses in our system receive communications. Under intense financial pressure, as a cost cutting measure in 2009, the Board of Trustees decided only T&SC members will have the option of receiving written communications (as opposed to email).
When the Teaching & Sharing Center (now Teaching &
Sharing Centers) became a Michigan non-profit
corporation on January 1, 2005 the poet's circle made the shift (from functioning
as a piece of the a touch of william sole-proprietorship) along with it. The Teaching & Sharing Centers, christian life programs, and the poet's
circle, are governed by the T&SC Board of Trustees. Being on the
poet's circle mailing list no longer constitutes a "membership" status,
which now is fee based as the primary structure under which the
corporation is filed with the state of Michigan.
The below history is
what was written in newsletters and on the website
prior to incorporation.
tpc-TEC is the Internet version of the poet's circle mailing list I maintain at the Center. If you would like to remain connected, you do need to ask me to add your email address to the list. When a poet's circle (tpc) communication has been sent, you will be sent the item by email, or be notified it has been added to the website (such as with my newsletter). You also receive website updates informing you when new items have been added or existing items significantly changed on the site. Because of the cost factor, more communication takes place by email than by regular mail, so if you have an email address, I encourage you to utilize the tpc-TEC option.
Locally: the poet's circle
the poet's circle membership is the official mailing and library privileges lists for a touch of william. Membership is given to anyone who requests it for at least twelve months. It will be continuously renewed if you are making any financial, volunteer, or material contributions less than twelve months apart. I interpret involvement or contributions to be a show of an ongoing interest in a touch of william (and its missions). Otherwise, you are simply asked to acknowledge your desire to remain on the lists (a member) by stating so on a periodic renewal card. This way I know I am sending newsletters and notices to those who want them.
Benefits of being a member include borrowing privileges
for the Lending Library and Studio Collections Library, discounted
prices at Cherokee Bill's Trade Center, the (occasional) newsletter
wsharing, and creating your own poetry & pictures books free from my inventory.
The above two quotes have had a major influence on what and how I do things at the Center. Other than Cherokee Bill's Trade Center (CBTC) and bookstore products, most of what is available, or done, is offered at no cost. Your financial support is therefore not only greatly appreciated, but essential to the continuation of my work.
(from my newsletter #008, July 1997) Other than
the poetry and photography of mine, the poetís circle is probably the
oldest aspect of a touch of william. When I first took my poetry and
photography public at Ledge Craft Lane in Grand Ledge (probably about 8-10
years ago in the mid 1980s) I quickly found having a booth too much to handle
along with running my insurance business, and the turmoil which was occurring
in my life around then. So I closed it. A year or so later I was being encouraged
to re-establish in another booth there. It was then that I approached some
individuals to see if they would be willing to volunteer to cover the required
hours, since I was not in a financial position to hire, nor in a time position
to cover the hours myself at the arts & crafts co-op (Ledge Craft). That was
one of the conditions I gave myself before I would commit to the rent, materials,
and set-up. Those that volunteered to help, I designated as members of
the poetís circle. I was the poet, and they were the circle of helpers
around the poet which allowed it to happen. That was about 1990 or 1991, I
believe. The reason for creating it at all was to acknowledge and identify
helpers so I could give some sort of benefit to them in return for their help.
This came in the form of discounts initially. And free stuff, when I could.
Along the way, others were willing to help out financially, who couldnít give
of their time, and they also became members. Eventually, I needed to close
that booth too. But, the poetís circle sort of stuck. When I started
to develop the lending library, those who had been members were automatically
given access to the materials. As the Center started to take shape
(after having felt the call to leave my career) the poetís circle survived
as the main mechanism for checking items out of the library, and for identifying
and giving recognition to those who helped the developing array of aspects
to a touch of william. In the past three years [1995-1997] the poetís
circle has been tinkered with and tested in a variety of fashions. Iíve
even questioned whether itís too trendy now that everything seems to have
a "club" or a "card" which somehow connects you to it or provides benefits.
But, itís kind of like an old friend whoís been there with you through tough
times. So I guess itís here to stay. Besides, those original helpers were
given Lifetime Member status when a touch of william began the
transition from poetry and pictures to more ministry like activities.
It was my way of saying a special thanks for supporting my work before there
was any clear indication of a "path." I guess that means as long as theyíre
around and Iím around, the poetís circle will be too.