By Omie Drawhorn
Silver Falls Library, 410 S. Water St.
Meets 7 p.m. the first and third
Thursday of the month
All are welcome to participate.
Mary Jean Loftis never saw herself as a writer, but when the Silverton resident decided she wanted to turn her journal of experiences in Africa into a literary work, she sought out the advice of members of the newly formed Silverton Scribes.
Ron Drake, reference librarian at Silver Falls Library, pitched the idea of a creative writing group to the library board last fall, when the board was talking about including more adult programming into the mix.
Drake, a writer himself, has been running the Silverton Scribes since its inception in October. The group meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Thursday of every month at the Silver Falls Library, 410 S. Water St.
Loftis said she worked on her journal when she first returned from her 2009 Africa trip, but after a while didn’t touch it for a year.
When she heard about the Silverton Scribes she thought, “I’ll go and maybe they can give me some ideas and hope,” she said. “They were very helpful and supportive and helped me with a more cohesive story line.”
Drake said the group started with eight or nine members, five or six attend consistently.
He said each person shares something, providing copies for the rest of the group to read and make notes on. The author reads it aloud and the group gives feedback.
Loftis said she usually shares one chapter of her journal per meeting, but during her first meeting, she was a little apprehensive about taking center stage.
“I was really nervous,” she said. “I didn’t know if I would share my journal but I read a page and everyone praised it. I felt encouraged.” She said the feedback has been both helpful and gentle.
“We’re starting to laugh more and more now that we’re getting to know each other; we’ve let our defenses down, it’s positive.”
A creative writer, Drake said he is inspired by sharing his work.
“It gets me to sit down and get things written each week, things to share with the group,” he said. “I’m sharing some children’s stories I’ve written. There are some very sharp people in the group; they give good insight.”
Glen Olsen, who leads a writing group at the senior center, also has been attending the Silver Scribes.
He sold his first book, 101 Ways To Make $100 A Day in 1991.
“I’ve been going to writing classes constantly, and I keep writing every day,” he said. “I want to find my voice, and get better.”
He said writing every day is an obsession and he also enjoys critiquing others’ writing.
Drake said all levels of writers are welcome at Silver Scribe meetings. Some are newer like Loftis, and others are “using it as a way to get back into it,” he said.