Hannelore Hahn and Elizabeth Julia

Recent Letters and Emails to Hannelore and Elizabeth from IWWG Women Who Care

I am so glad you decided to take this step to communicate with us. No matter what happens next, you are the guiding light and source of inspiration and enrichment for all of us. The photo you chose is perfect and reminds us of the gentle, generous spirit that you are. I feel so much love for you both. I hope you hear from many members and former members. Thank you for giving everyone the opportunity to contact you. With love and loyalty, C. B., CA

Although I’ve been aware of the change in IWWG leadership, I’m not in the loop regarding the details. But I’ve often wondered how you are doing, so it’s good to hear from you. Early this year, I received a membership renewal along with a letter welcoming me to the guild. Since I’ve been a member for some 10-12 years, the “welcome” note made me feel completely insignificant and well … invisible, as opposed to the support and acknowledgement you and Hannelore extended throughout the years, and continue to extend, to guild members. Anyhow, I just wanted to say that I’ll always appreciate your support of my writing and publishing endeavors in the past and I wish both of you the very best. Sadly, change is all around us, isn’t it?  – A. M., NM

Thank you for keeping me informed. I do feel very sorry that IWWG has been taken away from you and with your departure, all the warmth that attracted me to this group has also vanished. That is why I left this organization. I truly believe opportunities are awaiting; life has sometimes very strange ways to create new and exciting paths. I would not hesitate a minute to join, as a member, a new and most probably stronger association you would decide to create. I would be delighted to finally get to meet you in person! Thank you for caring, thank you for all the work you’ve done for women writers, thank you for any new group you might be thinking of creating. I will support you. P.S. The two of you look adorable on this picture. All the best, M. T., Canada

Thank you for sending the email with your note and your and Elizabeth’s addresses. I had sent a note to the Guild, requesting your address and did not hear back. I will write you a hard copy note, because I like those better, and want you to know now that I appreciate very much that you reached out to us. I have been concerned about you and do not know what occurred. However, I don’t have a good feeling about it. I do have a good feeling about you. May the Magic you created wrap you in its power and love. I will be in touch. Most warmly, S. F., NYS

So good to hear from you, and what a wonderful picture of you both! Again, I state my support for you both in whatever endeavors you take on. Just to let you know, I have declined to apply as a presenter for the new guild or participate in any way–if I am to put out any effort as regards sharing expertise and/or teaching for anyone in the writing field, it will be for you. I am congruent with the vision you have always held, especially for women, through self-expression, especially, but not limited to, writing in its various forms. Any kind of legalities aside–I am not congruent (or even in the neighborhood of comfortable) with any set of values (or the people exercising them) which/who would instigate and allow what happened to the original Guild, and you as its founder, and Elizabeth Julia as its guardian, and the membership who have always supported you, the Guild, and each other.  – P. J., NYS

Thanks so much for this personal update from you & your dear mother…I keep you both in my thoughts & prayers. And I wish the IWWG a good journey, as well, but will not be sailing–this summer at least–on her ship. I received so many gifts from the Guild over the brief five years I attended, including the privilege of leading mask workshops for three of those years. Thanks to the Guild’s programming, support, and love, I am currently working on my memoir–the healing journey of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. I hope someday to share it with you, Hannelore, and the world! Blessings, A. S., TX

Unexpected change is such a challenge, isn’t it Elizabeth?  Especially when that change appears so negative. I know. When our daughter, Cyndi, died, I thought that nothing worse could happen to me. My world stopped. And yet, seven years later I have discovered that Cyndi’s death introduced me to an understanding of life after death that I never wanted to know about before. It has changed me…for the better. I am more accepting now, more humble, more compassionate. I feel that my mother and daughter’s deaths gave me a golden nugget of life lessons which took me a long time to appreciate. And so a book was born. I am glad that your mom is taking time to appreciate the beauty of the world with friends who love her. I am also glad that you have a little time to rest and renew without carrying your Mom’s pain. I did that for my mother and it was exhausting. Rest and Renewal does wonders, Elizabeth. Use this time well and know that God’s time is remarkably perfect, even in the most difficult time. Sometimes we just have to float on the water, instead of trying to swim! Peace and Love to you,  – L. M., NJ

Such a beautiful picture. I’m so sad this is happening. How did these people just walk in and take over something you’ve spent your life developing. I’m asking this question, but as a person who is concerned and writes about social justice and injustices, I understand how this could happen. Please don’t give up. I am thinking of you.  – B. L., NC

Is my interpretation of a takeover accurate? How is it possible that a founder’s creation (Hannelore’s) was seized? What’s going on? 2nd email: I do not subscribe to coups d’etats. It seems to me that through your recent statements you and Hannelore have been extremely kind and diplomatic. I attended the Big Apple weekend conference and asked for you. No answer was available. I became suspicious and that is why I have not responded to the IWWG’s survey. Why a survey, I ask since I am usually weary of surveys and their purpose. I am not renewing my membership to the IWWG. Please keep up the faith and the energy. God bless you both. 3rd email: For quite a while I had held the suspicion that the IWWG was taken over by a bureaucratic, (unpoetic) sort of “sisters.” Now, that I have the details and the taste of unkindness, I have decided not the renew my 2013-2014 membership. Although my 2012-2013 membership is current,I will not participate in any of the conferences and workshops. I still find it difficult to believe that Hannelore’s creation has been selfishly stolen by the “corporate minded”sisterhood.The great Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos explored this in her poem “She,” “The one who judges my soul by the skin that covers me/does not even reach to the grasp of my voice” (couplet #1) “Pity on her soul, for not always one finds/ an understanding voice on the lips of a woman”/ (couplet #7). As the leader of a cultural organization myself I am aware of those who would want nothing more than to “hijack” ideas and seize leadership. Not a leadership for the sake of community and the Arts but to serve their egos and pockets. Poetically, C. L, NYC

I can only imagine the pain of having your baby ripped from your arms. I know you put your life blood into the guild and some overly ambitious people thought they could do a better job. Wrong!! So sorry. I for one will not be renewing my membership. I can’t even imagine that anyone could be as sweet and thoughtful as you have been. 2nd email: Hannelore, you are my hero. I have dropped the guild and hope that you and Elizabeth will start another one even stronger. There are barracudas in every organization and they found you. Thanks for all you have done for me. Send me an addresses and I will send you the pictures I promised.-  E. L., SD

So good to hear from both of you. Thank you for taking the high road in your communication. Those I have spoken with are shocked at what happened. The whole scenario seemed surreal, yet it really happened. My heart reaches out to both of you sincere women who worked so hard to give all women all over the world a chance at being heard, being understood, being supported, being thought worthy. Over the years, I have watched those you two graciously have nourished, and then congratulated on their achievements. As I have said a couple of times since the lid blew off the situation, I am always here for both of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Know that I am interested in you two as people, not just connected to the Guild you created.  – B. G., NYS

I was shocked to hear about the events of October 2011. You and Elizabeth Julia are the heart and soul of the Guild and always have been. I am distressed beyond words that you are being placed in this position. I am a Hannelore fan and always will be. I will re-join the Guild when it is safely back in your hands. I miss you and Elizabeth Julia and continue to send out to the universe my well wishes for you both.  – B. C., NE

How wonderful to hear from you. I have thought of you so often with great affection. My IWWG membership lapsed late last year, and I have postponed renewing it, having many questions at this time. Your email continues to reflect your grace and lovely manner. I hope we will cross paths again in the not too distant future. Many thanks for all you have done for us members of IWWG through the years. It has meant a great deal to me.  – K. G., NYS

Thank you for your email. I hope all is well with both of you. I was happy to receive your personal e-mail. It really gladdened my heart to read from you. I have been wondering what went amiss in the Guild. However, do not let what is happening change who you are especially Hannelore–my very good friend. I am positive that all will end well in due course because you have done so much for the guild and all the women all over the world including myself, who were, and are still touched in one way or the other through the International Women’s Writing Guild–Worldwide, which you founded. Remain undaunted. We are solidly behind you. 2nd email: I am persuaded to believe that the events as they are unfolding in the Guild are indeed a great lesson to all loving and caring individuals such as you. I believe strongly that the one who suffered for a cause and planted good seeds deserves the good harvest. Hannelore is a great “farmer” for women all over the world. We all, whose lives she touched are very positive that it will not be long when the issues confronting the International Women Writing Guild would be resolved in the favor of the Executive Director and founder of the Guild Hannelore Hahn that we know. Indeed, Hannelore was and still is a great inspiration to me and many women globally. We stand by you.  – D. E., NYC

I was so sad to hear of your difficulties and yes, I wrote to inquire about the changes in the wind. I hope that the issue is resolved to your satisfaction and that you can continue to work on a dream you have nurtured for so long.  – D. L., NYC

I attended only a few of the old IWWG conferences, but they were important events in my life and remember both of you well. I haven’t been following closely what has happened but it was clear that there was some split going on and that someone else was ending up with control of the name and the conferences. I would like to simply say that I appreciate the work you did and my brushes with the old IWWG meant a lot to me and I am sure for so many other women and writers. Best wishes to you for all your future endeavors.  – B. M., VA

What happened to the Guild? Member since 2006.  – L. P., NJ

Thanks for the lovely letter. I of course continue to send you my love and support. Call me anytime. 2nd email: I hope the “karmic lesson” has not caused you undue suffering. I have not had time to read what happened (as I am rather engaged with ensuring access to postgraduate education of a person who is deaf), but I presume the outcome was not what you had either hoped for, imagined or expected. Certainly, you both live on in my heart as angels of light who have brought millions of wonderful words, relationships and books to the world through your passion and concerted effort. If that has not been recorded in American history books yet, I certainly expect it will be. Indeed, I, as a fortunate woman to know both of you personally and share some private moments as well as having been a recipient of your generosity at a time I could not attend a conference, will never forget the profound and eternal impact you both have had on me and my life as a woman writer. My book (after ten years in the proverbial womb!) will be published within the year, I hope. You in no small measure provided the forum for love and support as well as an entre to relationships that began my sacred journey of expressing myself through memoir. Whatever direction The Guild is taking, it will always bear your imprimatur. Greatness never dies, my dears, especially when it is accompanied by humility, with which you two are blessed. My friends, feel free to share my words with all who will listen. Warmest regards for your serenity and prosperity.  – R. C., NJ

You have a wonderful legacy of all the women you have helped. Hopefully I will meet you next year when my memoir is published and I come to New York for a reading.  – C. C., CA

What an un-Guildlike mess. I’m sorry to hear about it. You two must feel as if you’ve been double-crossed. However, your mother’s survived much worse so she’s probably well-equipped for combat. And being your mother’s daughter I assume you are too. Good luck,  R. G., RI

Have received your note and send you both wonderful creative energy.  – E. D., NYC

Thanks for being in touch. Love the picture of the two of you. You look so much alike both very loving. Hope to see you around the neighborhood. Yale won t be the same without you both.  – E. B., NYC

Thank you so much for sending this. My thoughts are with you and all I have known–and loved–as IWWG.  – N. D., VA

Good to talk with you both. Thanks for sending updates. I hope that the mediation is successful and that we get back to common ground. The hearts of our guild sisters are breaking around the world over this.  – J. P., CA

It is so good hearing from you two! I keep you both in my prayers and may all be well with you. Thank you so much for contacting me. In case you two are restructuring, I have some suggestions if you’re open for any that I’d like to submit. It’s most disappointing how trusting we can be at times and that trust is betrayed. No, I have not contacted the IWWG after I heard what happened nor have I had a desire to. Stay Strong & Keep the Faith! Peace. P.S. Beautiful photo!  – M. U., MI

I’m not sure if Elizabeth will remember me, but I was excited about joining the IWWG. Elizabeth, you invited me to submit a profile. Meanwhile, I remain a member because of the founding principles, but now the group’s direction seems muddled. I was set to attend the Yale Conference as my first outing with the group only to be discouraged by one of our local authors here who is mad about the entire situation with IWWG. She told me there were around 50 people at the NYC Conference last fall when in the past there have been up to 200. She also told me that the lawsuit wasn’t over, and that was her opinion on what I should do. She said if I were willing to spend that kind of money on a conference I should put it elsewhere. She is afraid that the new group will not be true to the founding principles. I have decided not to go to Yale after all. If things straighten out with IWWG (do you believe they ever will?), I may go to the NYC one if they still carry the schedules like you were doing. It is the contention of my local author that we don’t know what the future will be with IWWG, and she is watching the situation before she gets involved again. I really believe in the founding principles and who you served. Will the future be more of a professional group of authors rather than writing in all its forms? I wonder. Thank you both. I hope things work out for all of us because I plan to be a published author (of books) in the coming months.  – C. L., MI

I am sorry to learn that you are going through the trials of a judicial action but I trust that the outcome will be fair and just and equitable for you. You were so kind when I contacted you several years ago about my book in progress (now six chapters done). I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you.  – R. C., OR

Ever since I first heard about the ongoing dispute, I have been thinking of both of you. I have a strong sense of right and wrong, and my heart told me immediately that something underhanded had occurred. I also read the legal document and the evidence was clear. You, Hannelore, started this group and worked so hard for all of us for so many years. It is yours and Elizabeth’s. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I have no desire to be part of IWWG until your rightful places have been restored. My best wishes, J. D., NYC

Your organization was one of the most inspirational I ever heard about, and definitely the most inspirational I ever came in contact with. We will all remember the magic until the end of our days. And that is ultimately what is important: that you made a big difference to a lot of women. I love that piece and the photo and the spirit behind it. Much love, M. A., NYC

So nice to hear from you both and see your lovely picture. I don t understand what has happened and have not gone digging for details, but this missive from you makes me happy, and sad. I feel a connection to you. I don’t know about the new Guild. Thanks for communicating so graciously. Goddess be with you in these trying times. With love, I. S., CA

I am happy to read your email. The Guild brought me great friends, contact in the writing world and personal enrichment. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend many events but did squeeze some in during the years. Sadly now I am not in good health, had to stop working and finances are tight. I wasn’t able to join the Guild again because I’m reduced to being careful. My daughter is graduating college this weekend and in the light of our very scary economy does not have a job. She is a Media and Communication/Bilingual Spanish major. She’s interviewed for jobs in NY and come close. We’re praying that things work out. She met Elizabeth last year when she was looking at Muhlenberg as a possible site for an event. I send you my love and good wishes.  – J. J., PA

This is such a precious photo and your spirits shine so brightly that happy tears run from my deep, knowing wise cat eyes. The whole planet is like deck of playing card got shuffling again and again… we are at the end time of the world of maya / illusion and the beginning time of One Heart. I hold you both so dearly in my heart. Much love, S. L., WA

Thanks for the update and reconnection.  – C. S., CT

I am so happy to hear from you. I send you both all my love and prayers for peaceful resolution of what must be a terrifically painful situation. You have helped me set my sails as a woman with a voice. For this, I am eternally grateful. Yours, S. B., MA

Beautiful women, Sending you big love and hugs from England, where I’m visiting my mum. I’m so glad to have your addresses. I had wanted to send you a copy of my book. I chose not to renew my IWWG membership. It just didn’t feel right. Love, M. R. T., CA

Lovely picture. Good to see you both. Robyn graduating this weekend. Will be in touch when I return. Wishing you both the best.  – P. M., NJ

It certainly feels different. You are in my thoughts and I am wishing peaceful resolution.  – G. L., CA

Thank you for emailing. I don’t know if you received the note I sent through your attorney’s office when news of a lawsuit was first announced, but I was not happy about this. It certainly appeared that you were being tossed aside and accused of things that didn’t seem possible. I also sent an email to the new people expressing my disappointment that an organization which was run so smoothly and unconditionally for many years was suddenly just another problem in the lives of creative women who always sought sanctuary through IWWG. I had just renewed my membership before the news was announced, and in my communication to the new people, I expressed my feelings after reading the lawsuit online. I requested my membership dues be returned and received a reply that I d have to send proof of my payment. For people accusing others of not keeping good accounting, this surprised me. They are alluding that all is well by using your names in their communications as if all is well, so I did not seek my reimbursement. But reading between the lines of your email, it appears all is not settled. This is a shame. Please know that the work you’ve done over the years in building and sustaining IWWG was appreciated by many of us. I don’t think I’ll be involved with the new regime. They seem to represent the antithesis of what the guild meant to me. Best of luck to both of you. And if you decide to do something else in the future, I’ll be on board.  – K. B., OH

I wish you both well. Hopefully, we can all remain in the spirit of women writers and hope for a brighter journey into our future together as a team of brilliant women and writers. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. -Ralph Waldo Emerson. God bless,  – L. H., CA

Thank you for your e-mail and photo. I have it on my desk as a reminder to keep writing! I do miss the Network and my question would be—is the publication to continue in print/online or is it forever gone? I read it from cover to cover and back again—handed it to friends—who handed it to other friends—and eventually it came back to me like a friend finished traveling a pleasant road. In my state of Kansas, we have gone through a bureaucratic upheaval with a new governor and dismantling of the Kansas Arts Commission (upon which many arts organizations depended for grants). Now, the Arts Commission is to re-form and become a part of the Kansas Dept. of Commerce (figure that one out. I’m not surprised if the Arts Commission is to become part of the Highway Patrol. Nothing surprises me anymore). Hope everything will work out for the Guild which is first, and foremost, a liberating organization for women in the arts. Sincerely,  – M. A., KS

I hardly know what to say given that I know nothing about what led to your usurped position. I was shocked when I got the news! I’ve always thought of the IWWG as your child. Three years ago my husband and I prevailed in a 16-year property line dispute with an insane neighbor. The real tragedy is how many years this senior wasted on self-will-run-riot due to his inability to extend compassion, reason, and kindness towards others. Bad things happen. But on the other side of the struggle–Always the silver lining, valuable lessons, and opportunity for spiritual growth. The fruits of holding on and keeping the faith about our legal struggle came last spring when we sold our home for close to our asking price and then–by the grace of God–downsized into a lovely new home with an ocean view. … beyond our wildest dreams!! So whatever you are facing–keep the faith and know that you are loved. God has a way of working things out in wondrous ways we cannot foresee! Remember that the human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it! Hugs & Prayers, C. W., RI

Thank You Thank You. Nothing is ever lost in all the Universe. Big Love to you Both, xo, C. M., CA

I am so glad to hear from you and Elizabeth. I was fortunate to take IWWG’s Spring 2010 workshop at The National Arts Club and remember having a wonderful catch-up talk with Elizabeth (as I had been absent for a good while due to personal illness, then family illness and loss). I was quite confused as to what actually happened and remember thinking at the time that I hoped it was what you wanted because this was your baby, built friend by friend, and then entrusted to Elizabeth. I am still in the dark and that’s OK as long as I know you are both OK and will benefit from all the blood, sweat, tears and good times you lived at the IWWG. Sending love to you & Elizabeth, E. C., NYC

It’s wonderful to see your smiling faces & to read your message. Usually, I email you, so I guess I’m fortunate that I haven’t sent any snail mail to be abducted. It is with interest that I’ve read the various communications from–supposedly–IWWG. It is my fervent hope that you will be able to resolve the sad issue in ways that are pleasing to you. My very best, H. D., MA

I am so sorry you both have been going through so much. You have made IWWG such a wonderful and safe place for female writers. Thank you for that.I hope this isn’t the end and I send you many blessings and much love, Warmly, S. R., NYC

Thank you for your email today. I was delighted to hear from you. I read the court case many weeks ago and was appalled at the turn of events, something that would not have happened to anyone when you were in charge. The vision and ethics of the Guild are way above the apparent misunderstandings and possibly purposeful wrong moves. I have not felt comfortable dealing with the new order. I haven t known whom to trust or whether the events they are putting on are legitimate. They sent out a survey recently and I didn’t respond because I don’t know who I’m communicating with. Still, some of our long-time teachers are included in the summer conference. I know you can’t talk about the court case and I understand why it has taken you so long to get in touch. Are you at all involved in the shortened conference at Yale this June? I ‘d be glad to help out again and see my friends, but that sort of arrangement depends on the trust we have grown through the years. I didn’t want to suggest such a thing officially. More important, how are you both doing? This has to have been a strain on you and I particularly wanted to get in touch to say I love you.  – T. L., CT

In the spirit of the Guild as we knew it ~ just so! What a delight to open this post & find Your beautiful Faces smiling out at Me & to read Your comforting & hopeful words. With this post All of Our Guild Sisters will once more have contact with You, both, & can begin to learn the rest of the story, as it were. This gladdens My Heart. As always, I stand ready to assist You in any way that I can be of service in helping to actualize and grow Our shared vision for Our Beloved Guild ~ do not hesitate for a single minute in reaching out to Me. Looking Forward… Love To You Both In The Spirit of The Guild as We knew it, K. B., NYC

Since retiring, I cannot attend all the wonderful workshops and so the newsletter was important to me. I recognize you cannot do this all alone but perhaps a blog, a continuance of some sort to reach out to people who do want to hear and perhaps respond. Thank you for all your endeavors and the new ones that come before you. In much appreciation, N. W., AZ

It is a pleasure to hear from you both, and to see your beautiful picture! Thank you so much. I really appreciate hearing from you as I’ve often wondered how you are and have felt so heartbroken at what I’d learned about the difficulties you faced. I attended Skidmore three times–the last three times the summer conference was held there–and have many lovely memories, and I thank you both for all you did to make that magic possible.  – E. M., NYS

Thank you for this lovely note, Hannelore & Elizabeth. I expect there are women who will want to send you their regards, ever so grateful for all you’ve done for women writers over the years. I also love the picture, one I’d not seen of the two of you together and obviously taken on the beautiful Skidmore campus. I’m hoping you two are well and finding time to do some things you love as you await resolution of all that’s been going on.  – M. D., NYS

I ‘m glad you sent this email. I think the members have wanted to hear from you. My heart goes out to you in this terrible time. I hope to get to the city and to be able to get together with you sometime soon. 2nd email: These people who have seized the Guild are unbelievably Madison Avenue. They get more so with every communication. I don’t think they even have a clue what the magic (that they talk so much about) is.  – P. W., NYS

Ladies, you look beautiful. I quit IWWG last year and did not go to the 2011 summer conference. I believe I attended 8 before that, maybe 9. I didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but I wasn’t liking the outcome. After reading your lawsuit, keeping in mind there are two sides to every story, I at least have a better understanding. Please always keep me on your mailing list.Best of luck.  – S. T., NYC

So sorry for your turmoil. You have done wonderful jobs. Bless you in whatever paths you are led.  – M. C., SD

Hearing from you brought both joy and sadness to me. You look terrific, as usual, but it gives me great sadness to hear what you are going through. If you remember, at a Big Apple Conference, you asked each of us to introduce ourselves, using only One Word to describe ourselves. Being pretty Hefty at the time, I said Svelte from New Jersey. The following Big Apple Conference, having lost a truly significant amount of weight, I Again introduced myself as Svelte from New Jersey. You looked at me and mused, That’s funny. I know Another Svelte from New Jersey. I was soooo pleased to say, That’s me!Though I’ve been through so much in the last few years, being unable to be an active member of IWWG, I’ll never forget the wonderful spirit you brought to this group of women. In the past, working as a teacher in the NYC school system, I always felt like a fish out of water, thinking I could never find women with whom I could find safe and comforting to be with – aside from the many friends I did have. The women I worked with were mostly Highly Competitive–for what, I didn’t know! No bonuses, no rewards for doing the job I considered a true calling. But then, I came to you – and your spirit was keenly felt–We were there to find our souls–to dig deep, to communicate everything we had- in friendship and collaboration! Finally, I found my place among women who were so much like me !! Imagine! Intelligent, warm, supportive women! They did exist! I just never found them until I came to You! and the Guild! Thank you!! Having dealt with breast cancer in the Fall of 2010, having lost 3 of our parents, and now, my husband’s surgery, I decided it was time to renew my membership–to no avail!! I called what I thought was the Guild, left messages–no one returned my calls!! I didn’t know what was going on–especially since you didn’t answer the phone, as you always did – that special personal touch! Hannelore, you have given me faith in women, the drive to express myself with freedom, and the true meaning of writing from the soul–not for rewards or praise. Thank you. I wish you well, and I hope you stay in touch!! All my love, Svelte, aka R. M., NJ

Love and greetings to both of you. I have been so confused about what was going on. I love both of you and am sending love energy to you. Hannelore, you created the very best group that I have ever been a part of & this is huge–no matter what happens from here. I always wanted to create a group that was that great and full of magic. One of my spiritual teachers just passed out of the physical plane, Elias De Mohan. He also knew the importance of group work. I have done a lot of group work but I have not found any group that was as healthy as the IWWG at Skidmore. I am here to help both of you in any way I can. Transformation is not always a smooth path. Trust the process. Not the control. I am here to talk and support you in anyway I can. Love, D. J., PA

I just wanted to let you know that I haven t renewed my membership with IWWG because, while I don’t know what went down with the organization, I don’t feel comfortable with all I don t know.  – P. B., TN

How happy I am to receive that beautiful photo of the two of you and to receive your message. I have been worried but confident that you are cooking up a plan!  – C. D., GA

It was so wonderful to hear from you! The Guild certainly has changed since you stepped down. After years of representing the Guild and receiving a scholarship each year to enable me to continue to do so and acting even as a Guild Representative even during the times my membership was lapsed, I am sorry to say that is no longer the case. I have asked, repeatedly, for a scholarship to continue my guild membership, but have been denied it, and since my membership is no longer, I apparently am no longer an area Representative because I am no longer receiving updates as to new members in my area. I am saddened by this change and am, at the moment, unsure of what to make of it. I am not clear as to the exact nature of the problem, and I know you are not free to discuss it. I can only say the Guild has changed and it has not been a change for the better. I saw the program for this year’s Remember the Magic conference (although I can’t remember if they actually called it that) and was very disappointed with it. For the first time in years I didn’t even feel a pang of grief that I was unable to attend. I don’t know what role, if any, I will play in the new Guild. I am considering my options and my very limited finances and the fact that all my years of actively supporting the Guild seem to no longer matter to those in charge of it. I wish you were back at the helm. You are missed dearly. Know that the two of you always have my admiration and support. If there is ever anything I can do all you need to do is ask.  2nd email: My heart aches for you, to be so maligned and abused. While I am not in a position to help financially at this moment, please know that I have actually started an editing business and while clients are trickling in they are in fact coming. The very next client that comes through the virtual door I pledge to send you ten percent of my earnings to help you with your legal battles. If there is any other way I can help, any way at all, please let me know and I will be more than happy to do so. With all my respect and love for your many years of guidance, T. R., NC

I ache at the pain the two of you must be feeling these past several months.  – T. C., NYC

I miss you both so much. I will be writing a personal letter to both of you within the next 2 weeks.  – L. G., NYS

The vision that was and the dream that is has come under vicious and baseless attack from people who do not understand the vision or our dreams. Hannelore  Hahn and Elizabeth Stoumen have suffered because they thought they were assuring the Guild could last into perpetuity. The truth is they turned the Guild over to people who neither understand nor love what the Guild has meant to thousands of women for the past 36 years. Hannelore was never a business woman and never pretended to be. She is a visionary, but she managed to keep and grow the Guild. Elizabeth developed NETWORK into a first class magazine for writers. To push aside someone who created a place where all women were welcomed and someone who devoted her life to creating a network of women through the written word is unforgivable.  – S. B., PA

Miss you at the helm of the Guild. My thoughts and prayers are with you always that you find love and joy in your lives in new ways. Great memories of amazing times at Skidmore and in NYC. I am always here with appreciation and love.
I did not renew my membership to IWWG. The energy of what they are doing is flat and they will learn. I remember the magic always,Blessings and Love, J. S., NJ

I terminated my membership. I hope that you untangle whatever is preventing you receiving your mail. I wish both of you the best of inspiration for your future writing.  – K. G., France

It is so good to hear from you! We love you, and have promoted the IWWG for years at our Psychosynthesis Open Sundays. I rejoined last year and have heard nothing from your new leadership until recently. I asked for my money back! That didn’t work. Nevertheless, we all love you and wish you the very best. P.S. I have a new book out thanks to you (my fourth) and will always be grateful for your support.  – C. R., CT

I feel that the Spirit of the original Guild no longer exists.  – C. P, MD

I would like to thank you both for all the years of dedication and inspiration you provided, not only to me and to so many IWWG members, the organization that you Hannelore created, and Elizabeth sustained, for more than three decades and WHOSE PRIMARY MISSION WAS TO EMPOWER WOMEN in their own right. Attached is my feedback about what the human value of the IWWG meant to me, but also my reaction to the horrendous HOSTILE TAKEOVER by people whose tactics to overpower the IWWG are in direct opposition to what the IWWG stood for. What the International Women’s Writing Guild Meant to Me: Hannelore Hahn founded the IWWG in 1976, and with her daughter, Elizabeth Julia Stoumen, both sustained this valuable organization for more than three decades through their ongoing devotion and dedication. Under their leadership, the IWWG, which started as a grassroots organization, became a voice at the international level. The primary mission of the IWWG was to empower women to find their own identity, their own voices, by discovering their individual skills through writing, the arts, spiritual growth, and much more. I do know Hannelore and Elizabeth from our shared neighborhood in New York City. The first time I attended the IWWG at Skidmore about 30 years ago, I went for the weekend, but was so impressed by this extraordinary organization, that I stayed for the whole week and again as often as I could ever since. What made the IWWG so unique for me was not only its mission to empower women, but also the ambiance of the conference from the first day to the last. The first evening was to greet all members — they were recognized by States and Nations, teachers were presented, and the agenda for the week described. The last evening ended up with a joyful ceremony full of love, fun and hope for a better, kinder world. It was Hannelore’s inspiration and Elizabeth’s dedication to bring together so many great teachers and members of various backgrounds from all over the U.S. and other Nations that created the Magic, a logo specific to the ambiance of the IWWG. The learning process did not stop in a class but went on, in the dining room or outside, through lively communication with others, exchanging life experiences and gaining an expanded understanding of cultural diversity, but also of what women have in common regardless of a woman’s birthplace or social status. Teachers and members who already published their best-selling books, aspiring writers and those still in the closet would share ideas through freedom of expression, tolerance and support of each others’ talents, solidarity and respect based on real human values. The evening readings were a good example to encourage readers to face a large, but friendly, crowd and to receive valuable feedback and support for their work in progress. The above is just a glimpse of the success the IWWG has achieved over the last three decades through the leadership of Hannelore and Elizabeth. The Magic of the real IWWG was the vision that it is possible to create a better world based on human decency, respect of each other through writing, listening, and most of all ongoing communication, The Magic of the IWWG inspired by Hannelore and Elizabeth together with so many great teachers and the extended membership was the meeting of the minds toward progress for a better world. Both Hannelore and Elizabeth should receive an AWARD FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION TOWARD THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS. The above is the real legacy of the IWWG created by Hannelore and Elizabeth. Sadly, the behavior of some of the people initiating the HOSTILE TAKEOVER of the IWWG IS appalling and in total contradiction to the very values the IWWG stood for. Index No: 101251/2012) of the Court case has been made public and I did read both sides. Apparently, for more than three decades there has not been a fiscal problem until it was recommended to Hannelore to change the purchasing procedure with an American Express card. Instead of guiding Elizabeth with the new procedure to correct any discrepancy before the end of the year, she was stigmatized with wrong doing without a fair hearing. The following is a tragic story of manipulation by those involved to change the by-laws in order to appropriate for themselves not only the name, the logo, but the very MISSION OF THE IWWG. Instead of contributing their individual skills to enhance the value of the IWWG, those involved, in my opinion, are mimicking the brutal behavior of some in the business world for whom power devoid of any human decency and fairness is more important than the quality of life. Their legacy will be the SHAME attached to their behavior.  – E. R., NYC

I am a very new member, have not attended any conferences but have watched and read about all that has occurred within the last year with you and your daughter. I’m sorry this has come to you, it must be more than you can bear, but I am certain that on some level the wisdom resides and one day it will become clear to you. In the meantime, I am sure there are many whose lives you have touched, and that alone makes all living worthwhile.  – P. Z, PA

Thank you for the letter.  – D. S., NM

I was asked to teach as a workshop director this year. Something didn’t sound right so I called Hannelore. I’m very glad I did. I would not want to do something that would hurt her.  – anonymous

It is horrible what was done to both of you, and to the Guild as an organization. The heart was taken out of it. I hope you can start again, even in a small way. P. G., NYC

I am dismayed by all that has taken place but I remain a listener and hope for the best resolution so that IWWG can continue to be there for other women writers.  – D. L., OH

You will always have my support and my prayers. I am also sending blessings, light and hopes for a peaceful resolution in this time of transition and challenge.  – D. R. G., NYS

What a lovely photo and thoughtful and caring letter. Thank you for reaching out, sharing yourselves and inviting us to remember what the magic was about and that it could again be captured. As in all things in life, baggage must be let go of in order to go forward. We must first lighten the load so that the journey of a 1,000 miles will be easier from the first step taken. In the Tao Te Ching it says, in verse 64: a journey of 1,000 miles starts under one’s feet. And in the same verse further on it continues: Therefore the sage…brings men back to what they have lost. You have the vision, the ownership and the will to make the singing bowl hum. It is a gift you have used to convene women to start their personal journey for decades. Such is the life work of visionaries, people who understand that magic is conjured up by those given special powers. Magic comes when intentions are pure and the well-being of those present is heartfelt and sincere. Any man or woman can lead a parade, but it is only the ones with the best intentions who will hold them willing over the long haul. 2nd email: From the very sad experience of losing the real Guild, I now see that what I had  will aways be with me, if I just continue to write and let my work express my appreciation and my thanks for my life and what I had– because I will always “Remember the Magic”. I love the website. It is visually beautiful. Hannelore, thank you for sharing all those special photos. I also love that you both have come back like phoenixes rising from a fierce fire  It is a good thing to see beautiful birds soaring once again, inspiring others in the comeback, in the new magic yet to come. Bravo!! Love, S. B., NYS

Lovely picture of you both. Good to hear something.  – H. S., NYC

I was so pleased to open my email and see your picture and Elizabeth’s. I did read some previous email regarding IWWG, but I never followed the link as to what transpired. I do hope the lawsuit is going well. It is very disconcerting when politics get in the way of running an organization. I have been there… as former president of a volunteer group. There are always hard feelings, and some people leave the group. This happened to me. I have found that when there is a strong leader who wants something very much, change happens. I have enjoyed IWWG, have met some lovely people, have some contacts, and always appreciated my first meeting with you. You were very welcoming. I have enjoyed your Swan story. I wish you much luck in this matter.  – D. R., NJ

What a beautiful picture of you both; I’m glad to have had a message from you, though I am still confused over the course of events and what is happening, and not sure what to think. I am just so sorry, as I can only imagine the past several months have been stressful, difficult, and hurtful. Please take care of yourselves–I will stay in touch. Much love from me.  – K. V., GA

Thank you both for the note you sent out and all your good work for IWWG.  – H. R., NYC

I am angered and sickened by what appears to have been a hostile, calculated takeover of your life’s work. I don’t understand how it could have happened, and hope the legal system will restore the Guild to your care and direction. To me, you both ARE the Guild, the heart and soul of it. I am sure I am not alone in this view. Please know that I wish you both courage and strength as you continue to fight for justice. All best wishes, H. S., CT

Thank you for your email. I do hope there will be something good that you ultimately get from the recent transitions at IWWG, even if it is not immediately clear. I hope you will stay in touch.  – R. R., NYC

What happened to the Guild?  – L. P., NJ

I’m sure you know that there are a lot of us out here rooting for you. As far as I am concerned IWWG does not exist without the two of you. One of the things that always stands out for me is my first trip to Skidmore and a cab driver driving us from the airport, extolling the qualities of Hannelore. I’m sure you are both aware that with organizations and many divergent individuals, sometimes not so nice things happen. The secret, as you obviously know, is to think good thoughts and continue with your lives as you wish them to be and nice things will happen. At present I am no longer a member of IWWG. I was just about to renew my membership when everything went amuck and I just decided that I did not want to be involved with what was going on. I look forward to things looking up for the two of you and hope you will keep in touch.  – L. S., CA

Sending you both love and prayers. You created something extraordinary and I look forward to seeing your next endeavors. – L. T., RI

I am so grateful to have received your gracious and informative letter. It says so much. The picture is wonderful, a true portrait. Yes, you created a magical ship on which we all felt unencumbered and hopeful, and, without the extra weight, were able to soar, or at least begin to sense that we did have wings. Along with my IWWG nurtured friends here, I have been wondering how you have been doing and hoping for the best for each and both of you.  – L. B., NYS

It certainly feels different. You are in my thoughts and I am wishing peaceful resolution.  – G. L., CA

It is so good to hear from you. As you know, I haven’t been at Guild activities for some time, but I have always kept my membership current and I remember the guild fondly. I am perplexed and would like to know what happened. If there is some kind of litigation going on, just let me know; silence will be understood. I do hope you are both doing okay and I am so sorry to hear (not much) of your difficulties.  – Z. D. G., NC

Dear Hannelore & Elizabeth Julia ~ Thank you for the beautiful keepsake photo of you two girls forever dear to my heart and for the words with it. Only the best wishes for you all. I do not plan to renew my membership in the reorged guild until and unless you are at the head again. Love, A. D. G., NYC

What a beautiful picture of you both – you look like young sisters. I was so sorry to hear about the problems within the IWWG. Obviously this is and has been a huge part of your life–I just hope and pray that you reach calm waters and that you are not too lastingly bruised by events (about which I confess to know next to nothing!). The experience of my first ever Conference at Yale last year was unforgettable. With my warmest wishes, A. D., France

It was a pleasure to hear from you directly. We have not had any clear information about what is really happening behind the scenes and I did not know if you were still involved even. I trust that things will turn out to be in your best interests and will look forward to hearing more from you as and when things are resolved. In the meantime, I wanted to say that you have both done a great job of first creating IWWG and then running it and I, along with many others, I feel certain, were very saddened about all that has transpired these past several months to derail all your good work–hijacked might be an appropriate word to use. Meantime, I wish you all the best. 2nd email: It was so good to hear from you and to read all those supportive emails you have received. You will always have a special place in my mind and heart.  If it were not for your creation of IWWG, I would not have begun writing. While I have yet to have anything published, I still write on because I love to write and am not deterred by the lack of publication–actually I only have one finished  piece of writing, which has been rejected three times. I’m not giving up. But I credit you with getting me started on that path.  With all my heart, I thank you. – E. B., NJ

Thank you for your recent email. I have been quite frustrated and confused about what is happening to the Guild. Out here in the hinterlands, we have no clue as to the politics, etc. that go on. I have really been questioning my own continued membership because I am not sure what changes are being implemented. I no longer feel a connection to the Guild. Is there any light to be shed on this situation? I simply can’t afford to go to the conferences so I won’t be attending anything this year. I rely on email for information or the website. I have not received a notice that the news magazine has been available for about 6 months. Is there any way I can find out what is going on so that I can determine what, if any, my continued involvement with the Guild is going to be? I have always felt that you were willing to share with me. The new leadership is certainly not reaching out at all. Thank you for all that you have done to make the Guild meaningful and helpful to the members. Thank you for your support of me as a writer. It’s a big, wild, and scary world out there, so I crave the guidance I am now missing from my sisters. 2nd email: Well, finally some explanation. My sympathies are entirely with you and Hannelore. I see I have done the right thing by not renewing my membership in the Guild because the way things seem to be running gives me no confidence. I cannot be a part of the organization at this point when it seems to be ordered around egos, money, and anything but friendship. I hope to stay in contact with you and learn what you are doing as time goes on. Thank you for the many ways in which you have helped me as a writer and artist.  – L. W., OH

So good to hear from you! And to have the wonderful photo. Nobody ever gets a photo where both people are perfect! How did you do it??? Glad also to have your addresses for the future. I’m really glad to know where to reach you apart from the Guild. Can I be allowed one little moment of pettiness? I was amazed when the new managers used the words renewal and renew in the title and advertising for their first production. I was astonished because in my eyes, the Guild didn’t need renewing. It was perfectly fine just as it was. Sometimes all it takes is a word to get what’s happening.  – B. B., NYC

I am so happy to hear from you and see the lovely foto. I want to thank you for all that you did, for all the wonderful time that you created for women who like to write. You are unforgotten, loved and appreciated, wanted and enjoyed.  – H. K., NYC

I’m so glad to hear from both of you. I didn’t like what was done within IWWG. The lack of respect shocked me. Elizabeth, I must admit I was worried when I didn’t hear from you so glad to know what was happening to the mail. Let me know news from your end of the world. Your plans. Much love to the both of you.  – J. D., CA

This has all been of great concern to me, although I know nothing about the cause, or progress, etc. Do you have a report , email, letter etc. that gives more information, is more forthcoming on what is happening and the current status of IWWG, i.e. some informed information. I don’t know about the other members, but I feel out in the cold on this. Of what organization am I a member? What is your role in this organization you created? What are the objections of the opposition? Do the members have no say in any of this? Sorry to ask so much, but I do care, and I don’t understand. 2nd email: It’s really very sad. I am so sorry. I receive almost nothing from the guild and have pretty much withdrawn from them. It is inexcusable what they had done to you. I hope some cooler heads, and some folks more in keeping with the mission of IWWG will come along and bring it back to what it was. While it lasted, under your care, it was a wonderful Guild and did much for a great many women who write. Take care of yourselves. Don’t let the stress get you. You did something wonderful. Rest on that. oxo.  C. F., CA

I don’t know anything about the problem that caused the change in the Guild but I would like both of you to know that I appreciate the work you’ve done and the supportive responses I’ve received from you. I hope that knowing you are appreciated will help a little in the healing process.  – N. K., NM

I do hope this defrauding effort is thwarted. It is just so unfortunate that these ladies are so grasping and just don’t realize what you’ve given and done to make the IWWG to long be and become what it is. I was not comfortable with your Meet Up set-up and only wish now that when we last met I had mentioned my misgivings. You are the IWWG with Elizabeth no one else. Why can’t they see that. When you start having this board formal structure and the masculinization of the work, it only means trouble. When this is behind you please do consider empowering women to work with IWWG with goal-oriented internships and volunteer work tied to writing opportunities that the Guild (you and Elizabeth) can control and be in charge of. I am praying that this gets resolved quickly in your favor. If you need any assistance this summer please let me know. 2nd email: I just spoke with a friend in Italy experiencing a similar high-jacking of a women’s organization. With this group as well, lots of the business matters have been handled behind doors. The organization has divided into two camps. I will hear more about this later next week. What is so distressing are these high-powered women with savvy, money and social position who feel this alone gives them the right to usurp another’s enduring creativity and ability to persevere on a soft-tone, which I feel has always been the hallmark of the Guild. All those people you’ve known for so long wouldn’t even have been there had it not been for your brainchild Guild set-up, structure, expansion and its flexibility. Bearing witness can have its effect, as you both, no doubt, are living and seeing. Hannelore: Power, and especially exclusive and/or absolute power, corrupts swiftest and most of all. I’ve always liked how you reached out to others who appeared to be ripe fruit for growth to join in with you to promote the Guild with any of their creative moments you felt could add to the Guild’s magic. This is a skill and is what made what these people are squabbling over endure. You and your approach with the Guild process of acknowledgement is what makes it what it is. Those around you and Elizabeth who are against you really ought to be ashamed of themselves. Your presence there, and I do hope it is being documented not only with eventual video, but taped as well for eventual chronicling of what you are subjected to. Poignant reminders should be used as often as possible to contrast with the so-called systems approach I heard of when these people arrived. 3rd email: Thank you for sharing.This has indeed been a dark moment for me too! I am still appalled how other “business entities” can simply “takeover” or “buyout” another endeavor. It’s like “eminent domain” of the government taking over generations of family land “for the greater good” only to learn the move is based on “interests/influences” of the worst kind. From where I am, things look quite sick Stateside. I hope the election results proves me wrong. A big hug to you both! – G. E., Italy

The summer workshops were like a feast; a nourishment to my soul as food for thought with so much POSITIVE ENERGY and it recharged my tired flesh from the daily stressors in life …. when I’m there it’s like MAGIC … and it wakes up my creative mind. I will be going through this healing process with you …. We are a family.  – T. W., TN

First of all, what a picture! It shows your beauty and love.IWWG has meant a great deal to me, so I am writing to support your wonderful spirit. Thank you for all you have been, and all you will be.  – L. L, NYC

Your use of the ship image in your e-mail was quite apt these are indeed storming times for all of us, but especially for the two of you. Having each other to lean on must be a comfort. I’ve also been reading about the Beach Boys. I’m a big fan. It seems that they are embarking on a new tour, after having been split apart a bunch of old guys who still like to make music. Their separation was because the two principal singers were suing each other. Now they say that the lawsuits are forgotten and they are looking forward to working on some new songs. I cannot speak about the current difficulties, but I can speak about your role in creating something which has come to mean so much to so many women. The spirit of the Guild reaches all around the world. Credit for that can never be taken from you; you will always be our founder. As I have said elsewhere, Nelly Frobush, the cockeyed optimist of South Pacific is my patron saint. Like her, I am stuck like a dope with a thing called hope, and I can’t get it out of my heart. My best to both of you, in the spirit of the Guild wherever it may take us.  – M. S., PA

Loving actions like using a small bowl and clapper are what keep the beauty in relationships, groups, and organizations, whether they are formally joined or loosely connected. I shall always remember my first Big Apple conference in 1997 when each, yes EACH, attendee in the conference room stood and said the word that had special meaning for her. I recall thinking, Well this will take forever – and then falling into the spell of the dignity and specialness with which each woman rose and smilingly or seriously said HER word. Every workshop I have done since then has included a piece like that, in fact, all my workshops are under the umbrella of the heading Words Are Powerful. Thank you for the email and photo. I consider it a privilege to stay in contact with you both.  – E. M., AZ

Regardless of what is going on with the Guild at the moment, I wanted to let you know that I appreciated hearing from the two of you and especially seeing your faces at the top of the e-mail. Thank you for being in touch. I am holding energy for peace and ease for you and all connected with the present situation. Bright Summer Blessings, J. J., GA

The Guild, that you founded, has been my lifeline for the past ten years; I cannot let go of it. God Bless and Protect you, Hannelore. Your passion maintained the Guild and empowered women at home and around the world. The Guild provides a non-competitive environment of total acceptance, mutual respect, support and a variety of the best teachers from around the world. (To say nothing about the many members who published.) I learned how to write from the IWWG teachers, and I learned tolerance and acceptance. I am a better human being as a result. I’m okay with myself; the Magic worked for me. I thank you Hannelore Hahn.  – S. B., NYC

So sorry about the problems whatever they are and so glad I got to see you last year. I personally would have never been there if it had not been for our long association and probably will never go again. Thanks for all you are and have done. 2nd email: Hannelore, I can only imagine the pain of having your baby ripped from your arms. I know you put your life blood into the guild and some overly ambitious person thought they could do a better job. Wrong!! So sorry. I for one will not be renewing my membership, I can’t even imagine that anyone could be a sweet and thoughtful as you have been.  – E. L., SD

Not a day goes by when I sit at my computer that I don’t think of you and all that you’ve done to shape my life. Even more important than the numerous workshops you offered that helped me to grow as a writer, you helped me to build my confidence. I am the woman I am today, in part, because you are the woman you are. Whenever I give a talk I remember back to the time I presented my first workshop, I was unsure and terrified but you said I could do it. And then you had the confidence in me to let me try again and I did and I improved and I grew. I’m sorry I haven’t written sooner. Life just seems to get in the way of good intentions but please know that the heart connection you offered to so many through the IWWG will never be duplicated. I am heartsick for you and Elizabeth over what has happened but please know that the impact you’ve made on my life and on hundreds of others should make you stand proud. Your legacy will continue on as we go forth teaching others what you have taught us. With much love and admiration, C. S., NYC

Here’s a bit of the courage and strength and wisdom that you have bestowed upon me over the years to help you through this time. Thank you for the opportunities you provided me with so that I could become the woman I am today.  – M S., NYC

Hannelore has been the visionary of IWWG since its inception and is beloved by all of its members. To deprive Hannelore of her rights as founder, after she has dedicated her life to building IWWG, is contrary to the purpose of the organization. I have known Elizabeth for over 15 years and she is an honest person, with the utmost integrity who would never intentionally steal from an organization she and her mother have devoted their lives to growing. The Guild has meant the world to me and, at this moment in time, it just doesn’t have that spirit of kindness and acceptance I have so cherished.  – R. D., CA

How could a takeover happen, Hannelore?  – R. H., FL

A Guild member called me the other day and we reminisced about IWWG and tghe wonderful lift you gave to so many. You surely did to me, and there were also those lovely lunches at Clausen farms.  – I. J., NYS

I am so sorry to hear what happened. It happens so often to good people.It happened to me once long ago.There is always someone who wants what an innovator has worked so hard to create. I am a couple of days from finishing the proofreading of my manuscript.The next job is to find a publisher. You have a wonderful legacy of all the women you have helped. Hopefully I will meet you next year when my memoir is published and I come to New York for a reading.  – C. C., CA

So sorry to hear that you two were forced out of IWWG. I had no idea this was happening. None of it makes sense from an artistic perspective. If you are ever up to sharing the story please do. You and Hannelore will be in my prayers for healing. it isn’t easy to put your heart and soul into a mission and have it taken away. We continue to ask the universe for gentle egos without the desire for conflict. Our greatest hope remains in choosing peace, one by one. Look with joyful anticipating for that next door to open. 2nd email: In 1989 I “lost” my corporate job, one that I loved and devoted too much personal time to and it seemed so darned unfair. First they “downsized” our company and forced me to let go my two top sales people (that in my mind defied logic in a downsize; wouldn’t you want your strongest people to be there to pick up the slack left by those fired??) Then 8 months later I was “offered a package.” Not really an offer since there was no choice, again no logic, just corporate politics. I was crushed, then angry then very sad. It was in fact a time of grief and to feel all the stages of that grief was exactly what I needed to heal and move ahead. I entered the world of independent consulting and was eventually hired full time by one of my clients. That lasted for 5 years when I was given the opportunity to start my own business. When I gave my month’s notice, the VP, CFO and CEO all thought I was nuts and actually told me so in not so many words. But I knew my business would be successful because it had ME and i had the guts and passion to make it happen. No more three-hour, get-nothing-done meetings to endure! So here i am 18 years later, getting ready to retire from a very successful consulting business. My point to you is I had to go through the pain of loss to feel the joy of success. I pray you will have a similar life experience or one that will allow you to fully heal and recognize your power and goodness as a woman who has much to offer this world. If you ever feel the desire to chat, my ears are open. I am a pretty good listener, so I am told. Be well and kindest regards to Hannelore.  – P. L., NJ

Glad to hear from you and VERY sorry that there has been discord re IWWG.  – N. L., NH

Thank you for your informative email…I joined last year after I attended the Meet The Agent Sunday workshop due to the kindness of Elizabeth who sent me a few emails when the website glitched after I tried to register as a non-member and she made it possible to pay by check on the day that I attended. The people now in charge reissued my membership, as if it was just issued… I am not interested in attending any more functions.  – C. B., NYS

You have both been much in my thoughts and prayers these past few months. I am glad that you put out the e-mail. The Guild has been a lifeline to me and so many women over the years. I am torn and heartbroken to see the current upheavals. I see a great chasm, and on BOTH SIDES I see women whom I have come to respect, admire and care for over the years. I have decided to resign as the Regional Rep for the current Guild. My fervent hope is that SOMEHOW a way will be found for the Guild to rise from these ashes WITH THE MAGIC INTACT. For now I am going to focus on keeping the connections I already have with women all over the US and the world that have come about through IWWG, and on my own creative work (AND on continuing to support circles of creative women everywhere, particularly here in my own region – just not as a rep of the current guild.) I am sending love and light and gratitude to both of you for all the hard work and magic you have poured into the circle for so many years.  – J. P., NYS

Thank you for the email and the nice photo of you and Elizabeth. Finally I received some news from you. I had the feeling something went wrong. I have not instructed my relative in New Jersey to pay my 2012 fee. I just couldn’t imagine what happened to Hannelore and her great creation of IWWG. Many months ago I sent you a manuscript of a funny idea for an animated movie called Ark II. A sudden instinct made me do it. I wanted to cheer you up. Why? Because I had the feeling you got hurt. Sure you did. I do not know why or how, but one can always read between the lines. Whatever it is, I know you aren’t the person that should be hurt or even kicked. I must mail my letter to you today. I can’t let you wait. I wish you the very BEST and hope that you and Elizabeth are not silent any longer. With sisterly Love, G. B., Germany

I have always been a big fan of you and Hannelore. I thought the organization was remarkable! I sincerely hope things can be worked out amicably for all concerned, but especially for you and Hannelore. I worked in the legal system for most of my adult life so I am all too familiar with dissolution of contracts, association, families, marriages, etc. These matters can be disturbing, complicated, complex and yes, sad. I wish you both all the best. Keep your heads up and walk with the pride and strength you always exhibited. I hope things work out as you would like them to. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.  – C. O., DE

Alas, so much has changed for the Guild and in my life. I am no longer a member for a number of reasons. Mechi Garza very much impressed me and affected my life. With her permission, I used the name “Mechi” for a character in a novel I am writing. With gratitude for the days that I was with the Guild and for your wisdom in forming it and changing the lives of so many women. Named Silver Wolf by Mechi.  – W. P., NYS

This doesn’t seem right. I hope you can do something about it. 2nd email: It was great to hear from you again and to read some of your support system, which I would not doubt for a minute. You deserve it. (The picture of you both is beautiful. You are Hollywood material!) I hope you can keep up the good fight for the Guild, if you are in fact doing it. I didn’t re-join; waiting for you to announce the all new IWWG, #2! Let me know if I can help in any way.  – E. W., NYS

You can’t imagine the dismay with which I read about what has been going on since the new leadership took the helm. Elizabeth, I am so, so sorry about what happened to you and hope you understand the support expressed is a sign of respect for how much you have given the Guild. Were it not for you both, much would not have occurred to allow the organization to grow through a critical juncture in its life. I will continue to be part of Carol Peck’s group. Might I say that mother and daughter look identical in this picture – hair color having nothing to do with it! It’s all in the eyes and face.  – K. K., DC

You have been in my thoughts. I hope this finds you in good health and that your spirits are not vanquished despite the recent developments with IWWG. Will you be able to tell us concerned members what happened? I read through the legal filings when they became available and the matter seemed one that could be resolved with the help of a mediator of some kind. Perhaps I did not know how to read between the lines. Many good thoughts, T. R., Belize

I haven’t wanted to write because I imagine you’re bombarded with mail. But honestly, I feel very confused and a little worried about the changes in IWWG. I just would like to know if this was a planned and desirable change in leadership? There wasn’t a hostile takeover, right? I love you and the Guild fiercely, and I trust all is well. 2nd email: I am so very sorry. This sounds like a profound injustice. I will have to think about if and how I will relate to IWWG from here on. That is a terrible loss to me personally. I hope you are both taking terrific care of yourselves and each other as the murk clears. I trust that there is a better path ahead, but it can be very hard on the way there. I love and support you both. Yours, R. A., NYS

This is the email I sent to the Board and the new Guild leadership: I count it a blessing that our writing guild has given us connections to wonderful writing women, and these connections keep growing and giving, as we ourselves keep growing, changing and writing. The positive energy of IWWG flows between the members of the guild, and continues to sustain many writing women, by providing us with inspiration and creativity in our interactions. My hope would be that these positive forces flow backwards and upwards to heal the writing guild board, organization, Hannelore and Elizabeth Julia. Whatever happens with this lawsuit and whatever plan for the future is adopted, it should be essential that we members of IWWG who have gotten so much from the writing guild continue to love and honor Hannelore. She is our elder one, our holder of ancient wisdom, our esteemed founder, our beloved Hannelore. In academia they honor their distinguished colleagues with the title of Professor Emeritus. The Emeritus title comes with retaining a college office and a college address. They continue to contribute to the reputation of their institution by the books they write and public speaking engagements. This split board should attempt to negotiate a settlement that gives similar respect to Hannelore. To me what is most important is that we hold onto our respect and love for Hannelore that our love for Hannelore be unconditional. When boards fight, you have to suspect the reason the reason they are fighting is financial, what else could have led to this dissension and split board? But our love for Hannelore as a group has to remain separate from any organizational or money management oversights that the IWWG organization or board may have made. The challenges in this tough economy have to be adversely affecting our writing guild, just as they are closing businesses and making individuals lose their jobs. The present non-profit operational environment is so complex. The world has changed and the speed of change keeps accelerating. It is essential for any organization to keep up with change and that means keeping pace with new and emerging technologies, constantly changing information, and the way business is done. There are daunting challenges ahead for IWWG, but they are only that obstacles, something that people with purpose can overcome. I would hope that it is decided to move our considerable energies of the IWWG board toward fundraising and grant writing for the guild, if that’s what would be required to save IWWG, instead of in-fighting within the governing board. The people who resigned–Susan Baugh, Carol Peck, and Rachel de Baere–are people I love and respect, so I can only imagine the bitterness that led them to take action. In the meantime, I steadfastly send my love and thanks to Hannelore for all the good she has done for all writing women in her lifetime. P.S. I am the oldest of the 5 Veltman sisters and their mother. I have attended the IWWG Summer Conference for about the past 8 years. 2nd email: I just came back from California after spending a writing weekend with Rachael de Baere, Mary, Richelle and Caroline. The presenters are a credit to IWWG and all your wonderful mentoring of thousands of writing women over the years. Rachael and the others did a lovely job facilitating the writing classes and the location of the workshop in the mountains was awe inspiring. I won’t be attending IWWG this summer, nor will my other four sisters or mother. The two of you have become a precious part of every year and our lives. I send you my warmest wishes for health and happiness. We will miss seeing you this summer. Love, I. B., NJ

I am really upset to hear your news. You are the Guild. Who is it who doesn’t know that? I send you both my prayers that you may find the strength and courage to do whatever needs to be done…not the least of which is taking care of yourselves. The picture you sent is a lovely one and exactly as I remember and think of you. Thank you for your kind thoughts. they go back to you…  – M. M., NJ

I am happy to receive your clarification email. I think about you almost every day and cannot believe the way events have been unfolding. I recall so clearly the gentle way you brought me into the Guild. I had been attending conferences for a few sessions. For some reason I tended to hang on the outside–an old habit of being the observer. Hannelore, the speaker and some others were on their way to lunch in Gramercy (I think it was Pete’s Tavern). Hannelore came over and invited me to join them. I was astonished, not only that, but she insisted she pay for my lunch because I was “at her table.” At that time I was at the beginning of getting my writing going again. Then, a couple years later, I had sent an email from Quebec City about the conference. Elizabeth, whom I didn’t know was Hannelore’s daughter, patiently answered. I had a broken foot at the time and she subtly directed me to attend the Summer Conference at Brown, suggesting I might be more comfortable at the Inn, which turned out to be true. I was very exhausted at the time. Thus, I came to know so many incredible people and to experience the fruit of Hannelore’s lifetime devotion of bringing people into the fold…probably with the same personal touch that I experienced that day at Pete’s Tavern. Again, I get ready to leave for Quebec City for the summer. However, I consider myself your personal friend and hope we can see one another in the fall when I return. All this just can’t be happening. Best love, M. R., NYC

Thank you and Elizabeth for the beautifully written email with the special mother/daughter email! As your story unfolds, I hope your summer holds some carefree days, peacefulness around you, and hope for the days to come.  – C. O., IL

It was wonderful to hear from you after a long silence. I was very saddened to hear about the sudden changes within the Guild and I am hoping a solution will be reached soon. Just want you to know that the two of you are in my thoughts. Take care and stay strong.  – I. M., Norway

I hope you can start again.  – J. S., NYC

Please know that I think about you and your unemployment situation. I send prayers and include you in my daily love blessings for the healing of all woundings. From a somewhat writer who felt empowered when Hannelore gave her a complimentary IWWG membership many years ago.  – C. M., GA

I would like you to know how much I appreciated your luminous smile during all the occasions you were working so hard to ensure the summer conference and also the Big Apple conference were at their best. I can’t imagine how much work you must have done during so many years communicating with and welcoming so many women. I miss your emails; I miss your Network journal contribution. I hope that everything you have done for IWWG will stay imprinted in all the women writers’ minds. I wish everything to be to your satisfaction. I send my love. 2nd email: The last four years I have attended the summer conference, “Remember the Magic,” have been memorable steps in my personal development in literary and artistic involvement. Not only have I made wonderful friends and acquaintances but I have been directed to a new horizon which is widely and deeply rewarding. I don’t know how to thank you enough for having created such a wide open-minded organization with the kind of spirit which makes everybody feel optimistic, free and creative. It has personally given me a new activity with more “joie de vivre” thank before. I hope that whatever happens after all the difficulties you are facing, the Guild will continue in the way you shaped it and with your direction and guidance. I send my best wishes for a happy outcome and resolution. With all my support and love, J. A., France

I’m often thinking of you and wondering just how difficult and impossible your own situation must be and my heart aches at the thought of it and at the sweet-sad memories of my two IWWG summer conferences at Skidmore … Lots of love and blessings to you all.  – M. J. B., Switzerland

I was deeply saddened to recently learn that you were retiring from the International Woman’s Writers Guild. Now, sI hope that every thing goes favorably for you and your daughter. I know you can not discuss certain things, but I did want you to know that I am thinking about you both.I know it will never be the same without you. If you ever think about starting a smaller group – like a salon – I would be happy to help you. All the very best and much love, P. M., VA

I get repeat emails from the group that took over the IWWG and I realize I am not of that element. Your lawsuit, and my own knowledge, speaks to the high-handedness and the ridiculousness of Elizabeth being charged with anything, and the false urgency.  – V. H., VA

I thought the e-mail you sent out was tactful and well thought out. I am truly sorry for all the difficulties that are surrounding the changes in IWWG for you and Hannelore. I have always felt that the two of you ARE IWWG. I hope to stay in touch and I hope you are able to find a way to continue what you do. Thank you so much.  – A. C., NM

It is because of the Guild, your life’s work, that I am now a writer. My art continues to help people heal and I just want to say thank you for the great, life-changing opportunity you gave me to be a workshop director for so many years. I appreciate you both not only for the opportunity–but for what you have done in the big picture– for the world.  – N. R., CA

When I originally heard the news of Elizabeth Stoumen’s termination, I did wonder why someone who had been a satisfactory employee for so many years was fired without notice. I saw an e-mail from a former board member that said someone had “agonized for more than a week before reporting the problem to the Board.” That “someone” was also reputed to have told the board that IWWG could lose it’s tax exempt status immediately unless the issue was “addressed boldly.” I’m quoting the e-mail I saw, not the individual. My knowledge of any of these issues rests on the “raw rumor” as no one in authority has seen fit to address any of them to the membership at large. I have dealt with the Federal Government on similar issues and have achieved, without help from legal counsel, tax exempt status for two other writers organizations of which I was an officer/member. Given that we’re dealing with the Federal government on the tax exempt status thing, I thought “immediately” might be a bit enthusiastic. A problem that involved no collection of large amounts of unpaid monies is not likely be at the top of the IRS’s “to do” list. Therefore, I wondered if the “agonized someone,” whose name I never knew might have a hidden agenda. If there was a question of whether an employee’s task was done, or not done, most folks would pick up a phone and ask for an explanation from the responsible employee, rather than “agonizing for a week” on an urgent matter. From what I hear, the problem was taken directly to the Board without addressing the employee about it, and the individual was fired out of hand, without a hearing or any form of employer/ employee arbitration. (That’s the scuttlebutt in the e-mails I have seen, though I freely admit my information may be in error.) I have had no direct information about the issues from any of the individuals involved. If true, then whoever acted in the Guild’s behalf was quite ignorant of employee termination procedures in most businesses, or else the labor laws in NY are vastly different from the ones in Maryland. But the Board is privy to a great deal of information that I certainly don’t have. I am making assumptions, always a danger, and the information I do have may be inaccurate. I am forty years out of the loop. I do believe all members of the present Board have only the best of intentions for the Guild and are all doing their best to operate on what information they have been given and within its spirit. If the information I had was accurate, it seems to me they were pressured into making a quick decision without having complete, or even accurate, facts about labor-relations, or fair business practices, law. We all must face the fact that sooner or later, someone else must take responsibility for operating the Guild. IWWG is too important to too many women to end with Hannelore Hahn, though she certainly deserves to be honored and respected for all she has done and might continue to do as long as she is able. She has changed the lives of thousands of women for the better. The spirit of the Guild has always embodied an availability to all women, fairness to everyone concerned, and enthusiasm for the talents and dreams of the members. To me, that Spirit IS the Magic we all remember. I have worked for people who had their own agenda and it is highly unpleasant and difficult to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Usually there is no real recourse, outside of legal recourse, for any employee caught in such a situation. My suggestion is to find an outside labor relations arbitrator to hear all sides of the relevant issues. To examine carefully all issues with courtesy, patience, and complete honesty, rather than having to resort to the courts. To do otherwise, might destroy everything we value, everything that has been so carefully built for so many years. No one with the Guild’s best interests at heart would want to see that happen.Elizabeth became membership secretary and NETWORK editor, when I resigned in 1980. That’s a lot of years for any employee with no previous problems reported by supervisors or co-workers. I don’t think anyone on the Board has any concept of the work involved in planning and staging events like the ones the Guild thrives on. I have planned and staged community events on a small-town level and it was incredibly labor-intensive. Hannelore and Elizabeth, working as a team, made it all seem easy. If kept at a level that makes it available to all types of women everywhere, membership dues cannot ever fully support this organization and it is the conferences and events that pay the bills. Please do not lose sight of this fact. Hannelore Hahn made organizing such events look easy, but it is far from easy. Someone has to be in charge who can make a decision. If you have to wait for a committee meeting, and listen while all members argue all sides of every issue, nothing will ever be accomplished. Don’t forget, until her retirement from Civil Service, Hannelore was an events planner for the City of New York. My first thought, when I saw the original e-mail from the Board yesterday, was, “Without Hannelore and Elizabeth, who will do all the real work of organizing conferences and promoting the Guild?” For more than forty years, when someone called the Guild office, the phone rang in Hannelore’s kitchen. To some, this may not seem to be the way a professional international organization should be run. But it worked quite well that members had immediate access to someone who actually could make a decision.Now we have an e-mail address where we can post our thoughts. Who will read them? Who will address them? Is there any assurance this message will reach someone in authority? Perhaps I’ve wasted my morning. On the other hand I have cast my vote for common sense and I am happy to have done so.  – A. C., MD

I had no idea what happened and will not be rejoining. Network kept me going.  – G. R., TX

I want you to see that I’m fighting for you and your mother. I know the two of you have always been totally dedicated to the organization. My friends and I will not support or attend any IWWG events or continue our memberships until you are both reinstated to your former positions. IWWG is more than a corporation. It is the spirit and heart of women writers and it’s being destroyed by those wielding power at the moment. Hang in there. 2nd email: I wrote to the new executive director that I found out that the Board has not been allowed to read my email, or any of the emails she invited us to send in for the whole Board to read, expressing our thoughts and concerns. Under the Freedom of Information Act, I demanded that all these previous emails be sent to each and every Board member and that I be notified that this has been done. To date this has not happened. 3rd email: I was delighted to have dinner with your mom, but it broke my heart to hear how unhappy she was with what’s going on. Worse was her betrayal by women who she thought were friends. You and your mom have my full support.  – B. B., NYC

I will be eternally grateful for everything the Guild, and both of you, have given me.  – J. B., FL

I have so much admiration for what you’ve accomplished over the years with the Guild and the thousands of women who have benefitted so much from your vision, dedication, and unceasing work. I am one of those women who is indebted to you and the Guild. I remember sitting at your kitchen table with Nancy Strode so many years ago. You even cooked pasta for us! I was a bit shy and nervous since I knew that at Nancy’s suggestion, you were considering me to take her place as the presenter of the Intensive Journal work at the Guild’s events. I apparently met with your approval since you invited me to be a part of a one-day event that the Guild was having in NYC in October 1979. That began my relationship with you and then the summer conferences. You invited me to be a presenter at my first one in 1980 and I’ve been at every one since then. Summer of 2011 was my 32nd! conference! What an amazing experience it has all been. I basically learned how to do the Journal workshops by presenting at the summer conferences. it was my chance at student teaching – an advantage most leaders don’t have. Eventually, I felt it was time to do the full workshop at the conference and with your blessings, I did. I’ve loved having this opportunity every summer to do the workshop over the span of a week in the midst of so many wonderful and creative women! I have learned much and grown even more from this yearly spiritual retreat. It’s been such a transformative experience for myself and many so many others. And to you we are all grateful. It’s been a very great privilege and honor to have been a part of this all these years. With love and gratitude, J. C., CA

I love you both. Want to help you in any way I can.  – D. B., OR

I am very upset about what happened to the two of you. Am happy we still have our reading series to go to.  – M. M., NYC

I will never forget the life transformations that occurred in our lives… peace, luv and happiness and joy to you always, We luv you!  – M. C., CA

I rejoined a month ago but have not heard anything. Now I find out that the Guild is no longer in Hannelore’s hands. I do not like the PR online and it does not feel like the Guild. I hope you will start up again. –  L. M., OH

I am aghast at what happened. It feels like an assassination. You both put your heart and soul into this. But now the heart and soul of the Guild is gone, 1976-2011.  – R. U., NY

I joined the IWWG just short of 20 years ago. I was looking for work and I trying to decide what I wanted to do about gradute school. I first learned about the Guild through a course about how to sell and submit your writing, run by a local writer. I still have my notes. She suggested the IWWG as a good place to join for resources. Over the years, I read Network from cover to cover. Due to the distance and other issues, I never made the trip to Skidmore, although I appreciated the IWWG having the offerings and a depository for members’ books. The same is true about the Big Apple Agent meetings. I have several long projects I’m trying to finish and felt when I was ready to pitch them, attending would be a very important step in the process. When I first received the emails about the IWWG going through a transition and a related lawsuit, my day job as a paralegal in public service kicked in, reading the eail I knew there was much more to it than the new management was releasing. I can only imagine how it feels to be locked out of your own organization, especially as a founder. On a personal note, my mother is a founder of the Winthrop Art Association. Moving here from Boston almost 50 years ago, she knew no one, so she put an ad in the local paper in the hopes of meeting like-mnded people and bringing visual arts to the town. The Association remains a small local group and continues to exist with limited membership. Many people come in with different ideas, some more logistically possible than others, but they hardly every carry them through to fruition. We’ve had a few whirlwinds over the years, but then these folks move on, leaving the rest of us to carry on in a small town that overall doesn’t embrace art, despite all our efforts for 40-something years. As the founder (Beverly’s daughter), who rebelled and took up words, I’m called in for back up, especially for our annual festival event. Recently, my mother and I heard the news that other members had voted a long-time member out of our Board without my mom or this very Board member in attendance. I felt a darkness descending in just hearing what these women did to her. In addition, I feel my mother with her own health issues will not be able to battle for long: whether these are petty issues or a drastic reoganization that takes away the WAA far from the original mission my mother founded. My personal experience with lawyers is: things tend to run much longer than anyone wants, they tend not to run smooth, and generally they are not pretty. Keep calm and carry on is the mantra I use at work, and I say that with the best of intentions for you both. Thank you for sending out your contact information. If you and Elizabeth start to sponsor events in New York City, please include me on your list. I wish you both the best in these endeavors and the ability to have piece of mind in picking the battles to fight and the ones to let go. If you are ever in Boston, please let me know as well. Best regards in the spirit of the Guild as we knew it.  – D. B., MA

I remember the wonderful time I had at your conference at Skidmore and what special women you are. You have my full support in whatever you decide to do next. M. S., DC

When I received your emails months ago and realized that there had been a huge shift in IWWG leadership, I intended to send you a note to offer my support and encouragement. Like so many other current and former IWWG members, you, Hannelore, have been my connection to the organization–the face I saw, the voice I heard in my head every time I read an IWWG newsletter or received a renewal form. So although I haven’t been an active member for years, your devotion and sincerity had always encouraged me to renew membership and make a small annual donation. But I have been so consumed by various family issues these past months–in fact these past years!–that I’ve let many professional aspects of my life slip away. And I was so overwhelmed by logistics issues this winter, the care of my 97 yr. old mom, and the birth of a grandson that (rudely) I never even answered your email invitation to get together…So late as I am to say hello, I wanted to let you know that if you two start another organization, you can count on me for membership and support. I normally live in the upper east side but had to completely move out of our apartment in Feb. to do a massive renovation (packing for the move plus construction was a double whammy–oy!) and will be living in Tribeca for the next year. So please do stay in touch. Now that my family life has settled down a bit, I have put aside my new novel and turned my attention to creating a book based on the the parent/teacher lecture I’ve been giving at schools and libraries since 1995, “It’s Easier Than You Think: Raising Passionate Readers.” Although HarperCollins published my novel in 2002 (and I had the honor of participating in a panel at one of your Big Apple conferences), I have hired a team of professionals to help me self-publish this book because I want to have full control over its execution. I have the zeal of a missionary about the subject of children and reading and want to get the message out to parents asap. In any case, wishing you both well in your personal and professional endeavors. – N. N., NY