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First Saturday Writing Workshop: Every Month!


This is a workshop that helps writers come up with topics they might not have otherwise thought to write about. You’ll be given a variety of prompts, with five to fifteen minutes of time to write about a memory related to the prompt.  The class aims to tap in to your ability to write without thinking ahead too much. At the end of the class, you will have a half-dozen or so little bits of writing to take home and build upon if you so wish.

You need not attend every month, but naturally I’d be thrilled if you did!
Held at the Marks St Recreation Center in downtown Orlando.

Class is $35: register online here (you’ll have the option of mailing a check after registering here).

James Doherty
Jim Doherty

Our class members come from all over, and often send me samples of their writing, and I am so pleased to show you a few examples of the types of pieces you will come away with after each and every First Saturday workshop:

The Messenger – Jim Doherty

The primary reason for working in a zoo, after saving wild animals, Is to educate guests as to how wonderful and important animals and wild places are to all of us.Too many times the messenger presents an interesting and highly educational message that is largely ignored. What the messenger forgets is that the information offered is in direct competition with live animals. Information not creatively presented will lose out to the animals every time. Brevity is also important. Say what needs to be said to complete the thought most descriptively in the fewest words. But first the writer needs a hook. The hook is what is said that will entice potential readers to read on. Remember guests come for fun, family outings, or maybe just exercise. Education is not high on the list of most zoo visitors. Find your hook and catch your guests.

Carol Wall, from Oregon

We were handed a blank piece of paper and told to just write, but the paper was not just blank. It had a swish of a rainbow across the page, which my simple brain picked up on, and I wrote the following:

Somewhere over the rainbow, dreams really do come true. This class is a dream come true for me. Already, I know I have gleaned inspiration to dream possible that I have a story to tell, and I will write it. Each person [in the workshop] has inspired me. The teacher helped me look inside and find a few nuggets of value. I know there is a treasure deep. The teacher used words to jog my memory of life itself. This has been the beginning of a great adventure for me.Thank you, keep up the amazing gift of helping the novice.

My 50th Birthday by Barbara Wohlwend

January 24, 1987, Naperville, Illinois

Dedicated to Joan Purvis, Sr. Mary Southard, Ron Wohlwend

In the fall of 1986 I was led to a course at Loyola University entitled “Self, Symbol & Integration,” taught by Sr. Mary Southard, an artist and a fantastic instructor. It was a course in spirituality where we learned to use our right brain to develop our creativity and imagination. A requirement was to bring crayons and sketch paper to class, drawing images and mandalas; we were asked to record our dreams, participate in guided imagery and write fairy tales. The class was such a gift to this left-brain thinker! My written fairy tale became the basis for a 5-year-old party for my 50th birthday; the teacher gave me an “A” and suggested we take lots of photos!

The party was held the night before my “real” birthday; I didn’t want to compete with the “Super Bowl,” I hired a “mother,” Joan Purvis, my dear friend and massage therapist; we had so much fun planning the party! Everyone’s invitation said to dress as a five-year-old, no gifts, but if they insisted, to bring something for a 5-year-old. I took a risk, some invited people called me concerned: they weren’t sure how or if to dress the part, but many did, surprising the child in them while playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Hot Potato, Pitch for Pennies. I will always remember my two favorite nuns, Sr. Anne and Sr. Gretchen rushing around to get a chair during Musical Chairs (they dressed in their habits)!

I received so many children’s gifts: a beautiful porcelain doll dressed in a white dress and bonnet, which I promptly named “Barbara.” She still has a place of prominence in our home! I have played “tea” with my grandchildren using the children’s china tea set. I also remember yo-yos, bubble pipes, coloring books and many stuffed animals; my “mother” gave me a quacking wooden duck which survived many years of grandchildren’s use.

My wonderful husband, Ron, reluctantly agreed to the whole idea but had a hard time with a child’s costume; he came as the “clown” in full dress suit with face make-up and was a rousing success! He never lets me down!!!!!

True to my written fairy tale, we had a chocolate cake with white icing; a rose that was juststarting to bloom was on top (just like me); there were 51 candles on the cake (1 candle to grow on). And although I practiced to make sure I could blow out all the candles, the party was a huge success and my fairy tale came true!

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