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!


Prompt-a-Month: Next Door

Writers in the Grove Prompt-a-Month badge.The January prompt-a-month for our Writers in the Grove members is:

Next Door

The deadline for submissions is 2/1/2018. Submissions will be published during the next 30 days.

Writers in the Grove members may hand in their submissions during the workshops or use our members only submission form. Check out the guidelines and instructions for submissions in the announcement.

Writers in the Grove News: Local Pen Pals

News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon - CoverAt the beginning of this school year 2016-2017, a local parent and volunteer with the nearby Gaston, Oregon, elementary school contacted Writers in the Grove about a local pen pal program. Many members volunteered to correspond with the children at the school, and it has changed lives on both ends of the mailbox.

Words bring old and young writers together in special partnership” features the unique program of connecting local writers with local elementary students for a pen pal program, and includes interviews with several of our members.

Gretchen Keefer had a question for the sixth-graders at Gaston Elementary School: What are you thankful for?

She wrote to them as part of the pen-pal relationship between Gaston Elementary and her Forest Grove writing group, hoping the question would give the students something to write back about.

Turns out the students had never thought much about thankfulness, said their teacher, Thea Hiersche.

But after taking the time to list all the things they love in life, they were “amazed,” said Hiersche. From there, the class “started the conversation about how we, as a thankful community, could help others who don’t have as much.”

Keefer’s writing prompt ended up inspiring a donation drive for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

That’s how words can turn into ideas that turn into actions. It’s also how old-fashioned letters can provide inspiration and writing help to young students — and joy to their grown-up writing partners.

“Just seeing these older people gathered around the table — none of them can wait to open the letters as soon as we get our stacks,” said Mary Jane Nordgren, a member of the writing group. “It really warms the hearts of everyone.”

This wonderful project could not have happened without the dedication of Sheila Harter. She has worked overtime to volunteer her services as “pony express courier” to collect letters from both groups and exchange them every week.

You may read the full article on the Forest Grove Times News site, and check out our pictures of the articles below.

News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon (2) News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon (3)


The following is by William Stafford, a member of Writer’s in the Grove.

He really did believe it could be possible.

He had been collecting possible all during his 70 plus years. He had stacked them in the corner of his room and the stack was about 4 feet high. The weight must be considerable.

He was always wanting to dig through it, but had a hard time. There wasn’t any light in the room, except for the light coming through the small gap at the bottom of the door and when that light was out it was a black, black place.

He knew that the basis of his possible was prejudice. He also knew that common consensus was prejudice was synonymous with racial problems, well he thought that was sin ominous. Prejudice was learned and perpetuated by all of those surrounding the younger generations and through actions and words planting bad seeds. We can be prejudiced with food, politics, weather, color, smell and almost anything else that we face daily.

What he wished for was a new plan.

He wanted everyone in the world to get a box and each morning write those things that they were prejudiced about, on a piece of paper. Vow not to be that way today. Fold that paper and put it in the box. At the end of each month everyone in the community met at a central location and burn those boxes. He hoped the heat would sooner or later end prejudice and end his search for possible.