By Lorraine Glowczak
For most aspiring and published writers, a monthly writing group is the motivation needed to keep the creative juices flowing. Whether it’s to hold one accountable for a completed project, the need for constructive feedback or simply, the want of social connection in a solitary career, a writer’s group provides the impetus to keep moving forward.
For theses reason and through the efforts of Mary-Therese Duffy and the Raymond Arts Alliance, the
Lakes Region Writer’s Guild has been ignited
and met for the first time on Tuesday, June 25 at 2 p.m. at the Raymond Village
Library. “We were quite the dynamic and lively group,”
stated Duffy. “Ten of us were in attendance with all having varied approaches
to writing, as well as our stages with it. Some people have been published,
others coming back to it after some time, while others are just beginning. Many
are in at least one writer’s group already, some several; and many having
taught writing for quite some time.”
|Members of the new Lakes Region Writers' Guild|
The Lakes Region Writer’s Guild (LRWG) began in 2000 with founding members Elaine Griffin, Deb Smith and Alan Lapidus. Griffin, who initiated the group gathering, was an accomplished writer and known by many as a beautiful and special person. “She was uncannily perceptive and had as wide and generous a heart as she did a sharp and wonderful wit,” Duffy said. The LRWG folded in 2014 due to Griffin’s progressive dementia. She passed away on March 4, 2016.
Griffin’s unique and endearing perspectives on life are two of the many reasons for the success of the original LRWG and Duffy, who was a part of that group, hopes to continue in a fashion that would honor Griffin and her success. In fact, Duffy stated that last Tuesday’s first group gathering was very much like the original group. “The exception is that we only provided written critiques when the reader requested it; and we never sent our topics to each other ahead of time,” she stated. “We just arrived and started out of the gate. Also, we never did a group writing, but this is an interest of the majority of members.”
Although it may take a while to get the final rhythm in place, last week’s newly established LRWG have determined to meet once a month with a relaxed structure. “If one would like to read and have critique, they are to contact me ahead of time to be put on the agenda as well as to provide copies of what they are reading to the group at the meeting,” explained Duffy. “If someone would like to read and there is time, we will allow the time for that regardless of prior notification or available copies. If one of us has a question, concern or a topic they would like to discuss in the group, that would also need to go on the agenda ahead of time. If there is time, space and inclination, we may take a few minutes for basic stream of consciousness writing within the group time; this may be to ground and center or process the conversations we have just had and mine the individual inspiration within it.”
Duffy also stated that since LRWG is a group with attentive focus given to each writer/reader, it is requested that only one person speak at a time, with no side conversations. She admitted, however, that respectfully listening is extremely hard to master since a writer’s group, such as this, is so exciting and inspiring.
Whatever the author’s purpose to participate in the LRWG, goals can be met. During their time with the original LRWG, both Griffin and Lapidus successfully published books. Griffin is the author of “Bitter Sweets”, a story that captured a friendship she had with a couple she’d known during her advertising career. Lapidus (who is part of the relaunched LRWG) published “Everything by Design: My life as an Architect”, which includes his accounts of designing hotels and casinos for Donald Trump.
Whatever an individual’s goal in joining a writer’s group, Duffy puts it best: Our commonality is seeking the kind of anchoring, support, motivation, and accountability a good group can generate and we certainly demonstrated that the newly re-launched LRWG has the experience, strengths and insights to provide each of these.”
As of this writing, 16 people have indicated an interest in the newly relaunched LWRG. Duffy said it is possible she might have to start a waiting list. To see if there is space available or for more information, contact Mary-Therese Duffy at 207-712-6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, July 30 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Raymond Village Library.