Town ᾽N Country Seniors Offer Seasoned Perspectives in Book
Town ᾽N Country Senior Center members have lifetimes of knowledge and experience. Thank goodness some of them are writers, or aspiring writers.
About five years ago, a handful of them formed the Creative Writers Club and launched an occasional publication, Pencil Me In. Participation grew. Now, 10 to 12 seniors go to the group's weekly sessions, and those who are unable to attend send in works - poems, stories, and even notes to the group - that are read aloud.
This year, the club published a collection of their writings called Out of the Box. The anthology is categorized by chapter, such as "When Words Provoke Inspiration" or "When Words Tell of Service to Others." "Author Bios," near the back of the 258-page book, offer brief profiles of the 17 contributors.
At each group session, someone pulls a "word" out of a small metal box - the inspiration for the book's title. The following week, many of the participants use their creative talents to write something with that word as the theme. Often, the word has more than one meaning. For example, the word at a recent session was "pine." Writers described pine trees, needles, and cones, as well as pining (longing) for a person, place, or experience.
Sample of a poem from Out of the Box
S ucculent roast pork
A pple pie a la mode
L ucious plum pudding
I cing on the cake
V egetable soup
A romatic spices
T ender T-bone steak
E ggplant parmesan
Some writers choose to write about other topics, and that's OK. As John Christ, one of the club's leaders, explains, "There are no rules set in stone." After members read their short writings aloud, their colleagues offer praise and encouragement. Constructive criticism - usually minor grammatical or structural suggestions - comes only if requested.>
The common denominator is a passion to write.
At a recent club meeting, Michele Miller Germain spoke of the potential inspiration for a future poem. Hurricane Irma knocked down a favorite tree in her backyard, she explained, exposing an expanse of sky. Now, to her delight, she can watch sunsets.
Club members encouraged Michele to write about it. "You lost something, but you gained something," Lisa Smith said.
Experience gleaned in lengthy, fulfilling lives comes through in most of the works, whether the topic is a reflection on the past or commentary on current happenings. These are not the writings of teenagers. Their seasoned perspectives are insightful and refreshing.
"We all bring to the table our life experiences and are willing to share them," John says. "Just because some of us are in our 70s and 80s doesn't mean we can't learn."
Club member Betty Morris puts it succinctly: "The older you are the more you've got to write about."