The Kent Writers’ Guild is celebrating spring with the release of its latest anthology of poems and short stories.
Meeting monthly at the Chatham branch of the Chatham-Kent Public Library, the guild has been helping writers find and express their voice since 1983 when it was first started by five people, including Chatham’s Frank Doyle.
Still a member, Doyle joins fellow writers as they use innovative ways to help with the creative process. At a recent meeting, current guild president Paul Ritchie gave the writers three words and 20 minutes to incorporate those words into prose.
Ritchie said each member is then invited to read what they have written, but can decline if they wish.
“It helps with the creative process and the idea is that it helps break up writer’s block,” Ritchie said.
What is interesting is how many different ideas can come from three words, said long-time member Patricia Weaver Blonde.
“You look around the table and it is amazing the different ways the same words are used,” she said. “It really gets you used to the creative flow.”
Members of the guild are welcome to come and go as their schedule allows, and meetings are at 1:30 p.m. in the meeting room.
Blonde said the anthologies are something the guild does two times a year; once in the spring and once before Christmas, and the books make great Christmas presents or stocking stuffers. The members contribute their work to the anthology, and the spring one is currently available for $5 to the public.
Ritchie, who has been president of the Guild since 2006, said the writing process can be very therapeutic and when you read back over a story, it can surprise you.
“Sometimes, I look at a finished piece and think, ‘I had no idea I had that in me,’” he noted. “Our group is about writing and socializing, and meetings help you get good ideas for the next story.”
One member, Patrick, said writing is like painting a story in someone else’s mind.
To see samples of the guild’s work in the anthology, the books are available by calling Blonde at 519-676-8140.