“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” – Mark Twain
If only writing is that easy. For some, writing flows naturally, but for others it can be a handwringing, emotional experience. Whatever the process, writing helps us express ourselves. And that’s why United introduced Writer’s Corner a few years ago. Each month a group of interested residents gets together to discuss and improve their writing. The program is led by two local writers Erika Bloedorn and Monica Schmidt who have been a part of the Garrison Green community for several years.
While Erika and Monica started as volunteers in the Mount Royal University Life Writing program, the connections they made inspired them to continue to draw out residents’ stories through writing. They developed this program to help people interested in writing gain the skills and confidence needed to pursue this passion.
Virginia Stewart, a published poet that we wrote about last year, is one of the longest attending members of the Writers’ Corner program. She has much to say about how this group has influenced her writing and allowed for stronger connections between her neighbours. This is her experience with the program.
Writer’s Corner, by Virginia Stewart
You may wonder what you have stumbled into when you find yourself on a Thursday evening drawn to a room full of laughter. It’s just one way to spend an evening at Garrison Green. After five minutes of free writing we are encouraged to share the results of our spontaneity.
We will take many hesitant steps on our way to successful writing. I say hesitant because we all understand when we put our thoughts and interpretations on paper— and then read them aloud to a group of new friends— we are uncertain how we will be received.
However, we accept the challenge as Lil rolls out a tale of Tigger, her cabin puss and Wendy reflects on her early life in England. These private recollections have been squirrelled away in our memories until one evening our pens take off and we feel prepared to share.
Can we indulge our spontaneity? Are we able to shed some light on our creations? We have turned our evenings into a collection of happenings, which serve to mark a turning point in our creativity.
We were about six people initially who were interested in doing some writing, or should I say in improving our writing. Two women, recent graduates from Mount Royal University’s English program were eager to work with a group of seniors who wanted to write.
That group has grown to about 13 people keen to talk about personal anecdotes. What does this group mean to me? I find I spend some of my quiet time reflecting on life’s experiences. Such little things often turn out to have a humorous side to them that we hadn’t noticed until we took time to listen.
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To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.