When writers gather, the room is often filled with words.
For the Lewiston Writers’ Group, many of those words have made their way onto the pages of published books, thanks to the support and counsel the members offer each other. The group celebrated their 10th anniversary recently and shared some words about what being a part of the group has meant to them.
Norah A. Perez
I was elated when, 10 years ago, Ron Shaw, then the director of the Lewiston Public Library, invited me to teach a series of creative writing workshops. About 20 motivated adults turned up for five Saturdays that spring and again in 2009 as we held two-hour sessions. We talked, we wrote, we laughed and we wept as we read our own efforts and commented on the work of others.
Everyone had a fascinating fable to tell and the talent that emerged was astonishing and humbling. I recall poignant accounts of Depression era poverty and sunny recollections of rural childhoods. A young nun leaves a convent, looks in a mirror, and sees the startling image of someone she doesn’t yet recognize, a woman who will marry, give birth, and publish three novels. An anxious English war bride sails to America, a man reflects on shattering Vietnam experiences, a survivor of a traumatic illness and painful losses is called to relate her own story of how she regained hope and joy. We were caught up in romance, science fiction and crime novels, and we chuckled at nursing school antics and youthful misdeeds.
When the sessions ended, it was Debra Sherman who suggested forming the Lewiston Writers’ Group, and it has thrived. While some have come and gone, the passion, the commitment and the supportive friendships have endured. That is what we celebrate this anniversary, the successful adventure story of the Lewiston Writers’ Group
Discipline - mental self-control used in directing or changing behavior, learning something, or training for something. Something I’ve lacked without some sort of outside motivation. That’s the primary thing the Lewiston Writers’ Group has meant to me. In addition to the friendship and support the members have given me, the group has provided me with a regular deadline to bring the words running around in my head and getting them on paper. I have produced something for my group members to critique, every two weeks since 2011, when I joined this unique band of individuals.
And unique they are. No one tries to overshadow anyone else. No one is afraid to hold back constructive criticism. Everyone is ready and willing to give praise where it is deserved, and all members are excellent writers in their own chosen fields of interest.
My memoir was 90 percent rough-drafted, and I was bogged down with introspection. I consider myself more of a storyteller than a writer. I had my doubts that I would complete my dream. I heard this is the reason why so many famous writers drink too much. Not that I do, but Writers Tears is my favorite Irish whiskey that I sip, on special occasions. The very name reminds me just how fragile we hopeful writers really are ... By listening to others and their listening to me, it helped me to put myself in the reader’s position. Writing helps me grow. I received friendship, encouragement, and stimulation. However, it is the memories and their personal stories that I treasure most.
Writing expresses the viewpoint of the author and is a task that is tackled alone. By joining a group such as The Lewiston Writers’ Group, one feels less isolated, and the work benefits from having others offer what they get from the piece. The feedback gives fresh takes on things perhaps the author was blind to while the writer enjoys community and friendship. There is always something to learn from another writer, whether they have been writing for 50 years of five days.
The Lewiston Writers’ Group has provided friendship, loving support, and much needed help with my writing. Because of their help and encouragement, the memoir I started with has improved vastly; it’s better than it ever could’ve been without their help. And now I’m almost finished with my first novel.
I had written fiction from grade school through college but then, as happens to many of us, life got in the way and I wondered if I still had anything to say. It wasn’t long, however, before I was encouraged to dust off a romance novel I had written years before and go at it with a fresh perspective. Thanks to the interest and honest feedback I received, I self-published my romance and went on to write and publish a second novel, while constantly learning from the tremendous work of my fellow writers.
... having friends who encourage my imagination and my writing makes me feel so at ease with myself like I haven’t felt in years.
Many tears were shed as writers expressed such moving or horrific obstacles overcome. I remind myself to this day, that life and success is about overcoming obstacles ... Health took me away. Health is bringing me back — before life is gone.
The Lewiston Writers’ Group meeting schedule is on the website, www.lewistonwritersgroup.com. They typically meet from 5 to 8 pm every two weeks at United Baptist Christian Church, 4800 Creek Road, Lewiston. All are welcome.