Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cultivate Your Own Garden

In 2010 my friend, and fellow writer, Mary Dowling walked in to our beloved local library, the Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster, Massachusetts, and suggested to the equally beloved Assistant Director, Nancy Hayes Clune (now supervising two branch libraries in Springfield, go Nancy!), that maybe, just maybe, there might be enough interest to get a writers' group going.  Mary is an alum of  a writers' group in Western Massachusetts affiliated with Amherst Writers and Artists, a group dedicated to the idea that we all have stories tell, and that by providing a safe, supportive, non-hierarchical environment, writers at every level of experience would feel free to share their work and to encourage the work of others.

Mary was right. In fact, there was more than enough interest. And from that first group, gathered that fall at the roundtable downstairs at the library, Seven Bridge Writers' Collaborative, under the auspices of Thayer Memorial (and our new, fabulous, Assistant Director, Karen Silverthorn), now offers multiple programs, including: creative writing groups, formal public readings by local authors, open mic afternoons, craft workshops, a writers' reading group, and an ongoing schedule of readings and lectures by authors, agents, and others working professionally in the field.

Writing is lonely work, and the only thing a writer needs more than isolation and time, is the company of other writers. Encouragement, honest feedback, a fresh eye (or ear), commiseration even, a hand out of the creative muck; these things are gifts from one artist to another.  And there is no more fertile ground than when a group of writers, working at every level, in multiple fields, join together to learn from each other and explore their craft. 

With than in mind, the Seven Bridge website is designed to keep local writers (dabblers and professionals alike) informed of our programs and services, to provide a platform for observation and discussion, and to offer a window on the wider literary and artistic world. 

Like Candide, Voltaire's besieged protagonist, we believe that cultivating our own garden is the best way to serve ourselves as people, as writers, and as members of a wider, cultural community.  We hope that you will join us.

Come on, pick up a spade.... 

Hollis Shore

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