vernonia library writing group

October Vernonia Library Writers

Our recent class as Vernonia worked on the art of the critique.

As a group, we used a few paragraphs from a story and looked at each sentence independently from the story to find spelling and grammar  issues. The original piece was printed out for each participant:

The desk sat in the hallway with a lonesome Victorian Chair. The drawer was filled with bits of news articles, postcards and letters. I hesitated as I peered into pile and silently pondered about her estate and why it came to be that I was the one enlisted to care for the precious memories that she had left. It wasn’t because I was family, she only had her husband still alive and he couldn’t bring himself to even walk into the house much less touch the items that she had held dear. So grief struck, he moved out of the house the day after she died. He took only a bedside lamp and small nightstand to the furnished apartment an hour away and vowed never to return.
So it’s back to me and these things, these belongings for me to deal with. I could not just sweep them away as trash. I felt the need to cherish the reminders of her. I read the news from years gone by, laughed at the travels of friends jotted on cards, and then I found a Valentine that had a postmark from 1953.

After the initial work-through, the group then formed the sentences into a style more comfortable for reading:

The desk sat in the hallway with a Victorian chair tucked close to the writing surface. One drawer was out slightly, and I could see that it was filled with news clippings, postcards and letters.

I hesitated a moment to silently ponder her estate before delving into the jumble. I wondered if I would ever know why I was the one enlisted to care for the precious memories that she had left. It wasn’t because I was family, she only had her husband still alive. Stricken, he moved out of the house the day after she died. He couldn’t bring himself to even walk into the house much less touch the items that she had held dear.

He took only a bedside lamp and small nightstand to the already furnished apartment an hour away. Tearfully, he vowed never to return. He called me to put the house on the market and dispose of the contents.

I might have left everything for the movers who were coming in a few days. The know how to handle unwanted estates. Anything not marketable would be sent to waste management. Nothing would be saved except for the few pieces of furniture that could be sold. All evidence of the life of the frail old lady would be lost forever.

So it’s back to me and these things, these belongings for me to deal with. I could not just sweep them away as trash. I felt the need to cherish the reminders of her. I read the news from years gone by, laughed at the travels of friends jotted on cards, and then I found a Valentine that had a postmark from 1953.

The next class at the Vernonia Library will be held November 19 at 6pm. Please join us if you can.

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August at the Vernonia Library

The Vernonia Library Writing Group met August 20 at 6 pm. We explored the writing practice of Imitation, that is writing about an object or experience in several different ways.

Seeing the moon as a perfect pearl, or a white balloon that had lost its string, or an owl eye without a pupil, or a saucer without a teacup all gave us ideas on different ways to describe a single thought.

The prompt for the group was a sentence of unknown origin, “I will never hide my talent, if I am silent, I am forgotten.” The group was given 15 minutes to free write.

A homework assignment was given to the group. Before the next meeting on Sept. 17, individuals will ‘eavesdrop’ on a conversation and write what they have heard. This practice is designed to focus on not only dialog, but nuances that can change a conversation. Writers are not required to copy the conversation as they heard it, but to see if they can discern and imitate the tone.

Assignments will be discussed at our next meeting scheduled for September 17, 2015, at the Vernonia Library, 7pm.