Our stories are so much of what links us to our own life development and to each other. Without our stories, how would we know each other? How would we come to understand how we grow as human beings?
If anyone had told me in 1995, when our writing workshop began, that in 2010 we would begin something called a “ Blog” which would mean that people all over the world could read the pieces that our group of retirees have written about their varied lives, disbelief would have been my reaction. Our annual reading for friends and family has been an exhilarating experience every May and we have been thrilled to share our work with some scores of people.
We meet 20 times a year, on Wednesday afternoons, in the pleasant meeting room of Morningside Retirement and Health Services, located at 124th Street near Broadway in New York City. The room has many windows. We see trees and hear city sounds: fire engines, the nearby subway and people’s voices in varying degrees of volume. In all kinds of weather, the group creates an intimacy which leaves us refreshed on steamy spring days and warmed during the chill of mid-winter.
Elders Share the Arts has its traditions in asking people to access memory by using the senses. Newcomers to the group are asked to write a piece with the prompt, ‘a smell from the kitchen’ and then led through the questions: what does the room look like, what do you hear, what textures are there, who is with you. The group has been through many themes since; some prefer to write about their current lives, having felt that they have called on memory enough for them to leave stories for their children and grand- children.
After a writer reads her/his story, we all inevitably have a rich discussion of the story itself, the material that inspired it and the associations that come from it. There are questions asked and encouragement by other participants sometimes to go farther and deeper in the writing. People often get inspired for their own writing projects. And we laugh a lot.
Whatever the remarkable participants in our group choose to write about, it is with great care, immense heart and intelligence, and with the individual voice that every writer strives to find. You will be reading stories about growing up in America, Poland, Germany and England. World War II is of course a huge influence on many people whevever they are from. Mothers, fathers, children, love and fashion, how light plays both outside and inside one’s window, stories inspired by one word like ‘fog’. If you have ideas for us, please share them!
We hope you will enjoy reading the stories from Get Your WordsWorth, the Writing from Life Experience Workshop, and that they will inspire you to create your own writing group or to write your own stories.
Welcome to our blog.
Workshop Leader, Elders Share the Arts