Members of the Tomales Writers Group pass around writing samples at a recent gathering.     Teresa Mathew

The writers gather at a high table under a single overhead lamp as their elbows compete for space with bottles of seltzer, thick slices of cake and dutifully annotated pages of paper. It’s Thursday night in Tomales, and the members of the Tomales Writers Group begin—carefully and earnestly—to pick one another’s words apart. 

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