Every Wednesday at noon sharp, I can be found staring into the lovely faces of my writing peers via zoom for our weekly Senior Story Time, hosted by the Senior Scribblers. They are residents of the Senior Center in Franklin, Massachusetts.
I came across this lively group of people quite by “accident,” but I think it was one of those God connections where several needs are served at one time. There are a couple of Senior Scribblers groups online, but I like to believe that my group is unique because they welcomed me with open arms, and I feel like I’ve known them all my life.
So, what does a group of writers do when they meet? We read our stuff, of course. Not just the things we are writing to sell, but as Billy Crystal said to his class in the movie “Throw Momma From the Train,” “A writer writes, always,” and that’s the truth. Real writers dedicated to their craft must take every opportunity to hone their craft. It does not matter if we are working on what we hope and pray will become a New York Times Best Seller or an article for a local small-town paper. The craft must be practiced, or it might go stale on us. Writer’s block is actual, and writer’s stagnation can become a nightmare.
I came across my little New England group through audible.com in their audible plus program, which in simple terms, means when you have used your one paid credit per month to select a book to listen to, you can choose from free selections that might suit your taste. Since I am always trolling for “senior stuff,” I was delighted to come across them, and after listening to thirty plus samples of their meetings and hearing their wonderful New England accents, I took the plunge and asked if I might join them.
The whole idea is for us to write something during the week, guided or not, or share something we have written in the past and read it aloud. I think, however, the fundamental idea is to get together with senior writers of all experiences, newbies to seasoned scribblers, to listen, discuss and gently critique each other’s works. It is a way of remaining relevant in this season of life, or shall I refer to it as a season within a season? With our world going mad as we try to age gracefully within it, we need to stabilize ourselves with what we are familiar with. We talk about a lot of things in this group besides writing. We speak of our upbringing. I share about Chicago sidewalks and growing up black in a predominately Jewish community, and they talk about ferrying to places in New England I have only heard about. They ask if there is still snow in Minnesota and share which flowers are already blooming in Massachusetts.
We are not so comfortable in our world as we age, but are comforting to each other. As many seniors there are today, we realize that we are all God’s great big family. We have (thankfully) accepted that the one thing we have in common besides writing is a shared sense of needing to “belong” sometimes and wanting it enough to cross historical lines of culture and race to seek our circle and respect and love those within it.
As always, I am willing to share this information with anyone in this beautiful group and any of the other groups I have shared with in the past. I am still writing every month with our Hadley Low-Vision and Blind groups and have been asked to mentor those who, like myself, are experiencing low vision and other health challenges, whether seniors or not. It is a great joy to help others over the little hiccups in life and encourage all to stay the course. As long as there is breath, there is life, and as long as we are breathing, we must help each other as best we can!
Loving my groups and responsibilities and always looking for more to share!
Much love and see ya next time!