“Know you what earth shall lose tonight, what rich uncounted loans,
What heavy gold of tales untold you bury with my bones?”*
Once a week for the past several weeks an enthusiastic group of fifteen writers has been meeting in Sydenham at the library. Up until now most of them had never considered themselves writers, but all were intrigued by the idea of a five-week course in memoir writing. Some came at the urging of family who want them to pass along their spoken stories in a more concrete form, others to research and record the tales behind family photos, or to reclaim a past time or event in their own lives. All have become excited and absorbed by the processes of writing and storytelling.
Teacher Jean Baxter guides and encourages them by explaining story-writing techniques and giving tips on how to use research, write family history, develop characters, make dialogue sound interesting, and much more.
I talked with Anne Hall, the librarian who organized these courses. “Jean came to us offering to teach memoir writing and it’s proven very popular: we’ve had long waiting lists; we could run this short course as frequently as she’s available to teach it.”
This week was the final Sydenham class: the participants now have two more weeks to write and polish their stories in preparation for their windup event, called Showcase. One has the impression that this will not be the end, but the beginning of a whole new adventure for the members of this group.
Showcase will be Saturday November 3, from 2:00 to 4:00, in the community room at Sydenham Branch Library. Family, friends, and anyone who’s interested are all invited to drop by and listen to the new authors read portions of their work.
*from GK Chesterton: “The Last Hero”