A Message from the director 

 

August 4, 2015

I had to chuckle last week as I was reviewing survey results from about a year ago, well before my arrival at The Writers Place. We received these three comments in the “helpful suggestions” section:

1. You people at The Writers Place are too old! You need some young people there!

2. You don’t have enough programs for senior citizens.

3. Don’t try to be all things to all people.

It’s almost impossible for us not at least to try to be all-things-writing to all kinds of people, because we know the benefits of writing transcend age and other factors that can sometimes separate people. We have activities for people from all age groups, and, perhaps most importantly, activities that members of various generations can share together.

In this issue, you will read about some of the work we’re doing to cultivate young writers. We believe that finding one’s voice and discovering the gifts of writing at an early age can serve a person throughout life’s journey -- from the turbulence of adolescence to the ultimate reflection on a life thoroughly lived. If you talk to college professors or business people, you’ll hear laments about how writing quality is deteriorating in academic and professional settings. The act of writing creatively can remove barriers in all types of writing, while allowing the writer to process the emotions of life, exercise mental muscles in developing expression, and gain a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

I was reminded of the lifelong gift of writing when I watched a video of Anita Velez-Mitchell reading a poem called “My Will.” Velez-Mitchell, recently deceased at the age of 98, was the mother of one of our founders, Gloria Vando Hickok. She had a fascinating life that took her from Puerto Rico to New York to the glamorous world of stage and screen . Both of her daughters pursued creative careers, and now her grandchildren are, as well. She is an inspiration in many ways, personifying the power of an adult to influence later generations and set an example of creative activity while pursuing other goals.

(You can watch Anita read the poem via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CUWQYxAX4A, at about minute 11.)

We have some events coming up that I hope you will be able to attend. The fun folks at Hamburger Mary’s will be hosting us for a charity bingo party on August 27, and we will be joining with our friends at LiteracyKC for the annual Power of Reading and Writing event in early September. Details are inside.

Finally, a big thank you to all of our volunteers, especially Diane Salucci and Leah Merrill, who provide writing, editing, and layout help with this quarterly newsletter.  We are very grateful!

Elizabeth Fischer,

Executive Director of The Writers Place