Writ­ing class brought a new per­spec­tive

The Buffalo News - - CONTINUED FROM THE COVER - Karen Wielin­ski, of East Aurora, found a con­struc­tive out­let in a writ­ing class.

When I moved to East Aurora in 2010, I ar­rived as an empty nester, and I knew I needed to keep busy. Down­time seemed to mag­nify loss and lone­li­ness. I checked classes that were be­ing of­fered through the East Aurora Com­mu­nity Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram, and cre­ative writ­ing caught my eye.

I con­tacted the mod­er­a­tor of class. Rick Oh­ler is a pub­lished au­thor and writer, who has been of­fer­ing would-be writ­ers an op­por­tu­nity to present their works since the late 1980s. I ner­vously at­tended the class. It was a great re­lief when Rick and the other writ­ers liked my piece. Such en­cour­age­ment is a big ben­e­fit of be­com­ing in­volved with a writ­ing group.

As I be­came a reg­u­lar of the group, I would balk at some of Rick’s sug­gested prompts – ideas that would hope­fully in­spire us as a teen took a slide down­hill as she got older. Much to my sur­prise, I wrote a son­net about a kiss, and an­other poem that ex­pressed the af­fects of sounds that have the power to haunt me.

That par­tic­u­lar poem orig­i­nally started out as 12 lines and had about 20 words. I was urged to ex­pand my thoughts to re­flect my feel­ings of those sounds. The night it was read, there were only three of us at the ses­sion. We each read the poem out loud. Hear­ing the work in three dif­fer­ent voices was mem­o­rable – in­flec­tions in each per­son’s voice brought a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to my words.

The op­tion to have oth­ers read our work out loud is an­other ben­e­fit of em­brac­ing the writ­ing group. It is al­ways in­ter­est­ing to see how a change in pitch or in­ten­sity of a voice can change the way we see our work.

For me, the writ­ing process is def­i­nitely a form of ther­apy, and over the years, our group of­ten finds that our meet­ings do turn into ther­apy ses­sions. We are con­fi­dent that what we talk about will go no fur­ther than that room.

Writ­ers also need to be able to ac­cept crit­i­cism, and a writ­ing group can give us op­por­tu­ni­ties to deal with that re­al­ity. In time, we ac­cept the pos­si­bil­ity that we can im­prove our sto­ries, and learn to take crit­i­cism and edit­ing as help­ful tools – well, maybe we do.

I feel ev­ery­one has a story to tell. I can­not stress enough the two big­gest ben­e­fits of em­brac­ing a writ­ing group: en­cour­age­ment and in­spi­ra­tion. It is amaz­ing what you can ac­com­plish when you re­ceive that sup­port.

I love so many pieces I have writ­ten since join­ing the writ­ing group. I once asked a writer friend if that made me vain or con­ceited. He replied: “No, that means you have been in­spired and ful­filled.”

In­spi­ra­tion to be­come ful­filled – what a great rea­son to em­brace writ­ing groups.

I can­not stress enough the two big­gest ben­e­fits of em­brac­ing a writ­ing group: en­cour­age­ment and in­spi­ra­tion.

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