Upcoming Events

The following events are coming up for Writers in the Grove members and the general public.

  • Mondays: 9-11AM Creative Writing Workshop – Free – Forest Grove Community and Senior Center
  • Second Saturdays: 10:30am-noon Creative Writing Workshop – Free – Forest Grove Public Library
  • Conversations with Writers, last Monday of each month, 7-9PM, Reedville Presbyterian Church, Aloha
  • Washington County Writers, February 1, 2018, Lucy Monroe, author, in Hillsboro


One of our group’s members, who taught special ed for two decades, brought in a poem by anonymous about being who you are and proud of it, though it started each element with the negative.

The first few lines were:

If you can’t be a tree on the top of the hill

Be a shrub in the valley, but be

The best little shrub on the side of the hill.

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. 


Write about how you go about being yourself and what attitude or perspective is required to accomplish this .


The prompt this week is posing the question of how you would have conversations with those whose views differ from your own on subjects that you have a strong opinion about. It could be conversations such as between vegetarian/carnivore or democrat/republican.

How do communicate while still remaining friends and civil with one another?


The prompt this week is a poem by Mary Oliver from her book of poems titled, A Thousand Mornings.

THE MOCKINGBIRD, by Mary Oliver.


All summer

the mockingbird

in his pearl-gray coat

and his white-windowed wings



from the hedge to the top of the pine

and begins to sing, but it’s neither

lilting nor lovely,


for he is the thief of other sounds-

whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges

plus all the songs

of other birds in his neighborhood;


mimicking and elaborating,

he sings with humor and bravado,

so I have to wait a long time

for the softer voice of his own life


to come through. He begins

by giving up all his usual flutter

and settling down on the pine’s forelock

then looking around


as though to make sure he’s alone;

then he slaps each wing against his breast,

where his heart is,

and, copying nothing, begins


easing into it

as though it was not half so easy

as rollicking,

as though his subject now


was his true self,

which of course was as dark and secret

as anyone else’s,

and it was too hard-


perhaps you understand-

to speak or to sing it

to anything or anyone

but the sky.


Take any inspiration you find in the poem and write in whatever direction you wish to take it.


Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

We don’t often promote writing competitions, but this one was too good to pass up. It is the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest.

The deadline is April 1, which should give you a hint as to the 17 year old poetry contest topic. Prizes total $2250, and the winners will be published online.

There are no restrictions, no limits. Just make it humorous.


Third Grade Writers

Recent letters to pen pals gives us these excerpts from the 3rd Grade of Gaston Grade School.

I enjoyed your letter. I’m lucky that my house is not a monster because it would eat my mom and dad and that would be scary.

And we are teaching Razer my dog not to bite.

What do you want for Christmas. I want a desk that is a bed and a deskbed. That is what it is called. I also want a spiny chair. I want that because I could do my homework on my desk and I can plug my computer in and do schoolwork at my desk.

Merry Christmas

F. 3rd Grade


There was a very interesting word that caught the attention of many people in the class recently, can you decipher the word?


Unknown. 3rd Grade

(The interesting spelling is the word “questions”!


Amazing Sky

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Patti Bond.

When I look out my window
I see clouds racing by.
Where do they go?
Are the clouds circling the globe or
simply relocating themselves?
In the early morning there is a patch of blue sky,
bringing me a sense of hope
that it will be a nice day.
Five minutes later, I see dark, gloomy clouds.
How can clouds change so quickly?
Giving me the false hope
it will be a nice day.
At moment’s notice there is a terrific downpour,
or a jaw-dropping snowstorm of ten inches or more.
What an amazing thing sky!

2018 Authors Conference: Thank Yous

2018 Authors Conference - Food Donations and Preparations for Lunch - Lorelle VanFossenOur first conference, the 2018 Authors Conference, on January 27, 2018, was a resounding success in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to start first. First are the thank yous.

Thank you to all the Writers in the Grove members and their families who gave up so much time, energy, feet, and backs to help us make this possible. It is amazing how much can be done with so many eager volunteers. We actually had the Center cleaned up and restored to normal in less than 45 minutes after the end of the event, which is saying plenty!

Thank you to the speakers who shared their powerful perspective on the publishing industry in workshops and open panel discussions. Chip MacGregor, Holly Lorincz, Kristin Thiel, Deborah Reed, MaryJane Nordgren, and Jessica Morrell helped many many find their footing in this new technological world of publishing and push their story ideas and characters even further. Paulann Petersen again swept away cobwebs and restraints to help writers tap into their muse to find the words to share their thoughts, dreams, and stories through the magic of her inspiration.

Thank you to the participants. Your ticket donation helped us raise about $3,000 for the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center to keep their ongoing projects and outreach programs vital, supporting our community. The feedback was amazing. Everyone was so appreciative to have such an exceptional program and group of speakers in Forest Grove. They soaked it up and are eager to get to work writing.

2018 Authors Conference - Food Donations for Lunch - Lorelle VanFossenTo the donors who gave so much to help us feed and keep our participants happy, we are so grateful.

  • Raeann Johnston and FGSCC
  • Bill Stafford
  • BJ’s Coffee
  • Chuck Pritchard and family
  • Diana Lubarsky
  • Diversity
  • Elmer’s
  • Fred Meyer, Cornelius
  • Godfather’s Pizza
  • Jan Spoelstra /Carolyn Bradley
  • Jennings-McCall
  • King’s Head
  • Lela Baskins
  • Lorelle Van Fossen
  • M.J. Nordgren
  • Maridon’s
  • Parks and Paula Adams
  • Prime Time
  • Safeway
  • Schmidlin Angus Farm
  • Susan Field
  • Urban Decanter
  • Walmart
  • Yellow Llama

To the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center, we are beyond grateful for your continued support and encouragement of Writers in the Grove, our activities, and now our special events. The work the staff and volunteers of the Center provide to the community continues to amaze. The senior and community services, affordable meals, Meals on Wheels, bread-baking services, outreach programs, and other social services makes the Center an invaluable resource for our community.

To Lorelle VanFossen for helping with the logistical arrangements of the event, we are very thankful. She kept everyone and everything on time, on track, and mischief managed throughout the entire process.

To Susan Field, our amazing promoter. The event was featured in newspapers, newsletters, posters, signs, and everywhere around Washington County, even in the local utility bill. The success of the sold out program is thanks to her incredible determination to spread the word in spite of life getting in the way. Thank you so much for everything you do for us.

To Diana Lubarsky, our cheerleader, we thank you. Thank you for helping us keep our heads together with your strong leadership qualities. You keep us smiling in spite of ourselves.

To MaryJane Nordgren, our fearless leader, we are eternally grateful. You had a vision for this group from the very beginning. Your determination to provide a safe and supportive environment for creative writers in Forest Grove, outlets for their work through public readings and collaborative published works, and educational opportunities for writers is a testimony to your faith as well as your legacy. You’ve changed this community, added value, and lifted us all up to be better, as people as well as writers. Thank you for believing and trusting us.

I know we’ve forgotten some people to thank. Know that you are not forgotten in our hearts. We could not have done this without you.

Thank YOU!