by Stephanie Shafran
At the Northampton Christopher Heights Assisted Living Residence at Village Hill, I’ve had the privilege of facilitating a Creative Writing Workshop, founded by the local writer Peggy Gillespie. Meeting weekly for 90 minutes, we use prompts and follow the Amherst Writers & Artists Method created by Pat Schneider.
The CH writers range from mid-70’s to late-90’s. Each brings a breadth of experiences, memories, and feelings to the writing table. Through their writing, these senior writers express wisdom that comes with age. I admire their grit most of all. Despite the physical challenges of aging and/or the emotional toil of serious illnesses and deaths of loved ones, each demonstrates a will to thrive in community with each other.
Watching them gain confidence is exciting. A participant who announces on the first day “I shouldn’t even be here since I’m not a writer” is apt to make the offer “I’ve got more stories to tell if you like” weeks later, as a result of the attention and interest shown by others.
With the support of the Community Enrichment Director at CH, Marcos Mercado, the workshop has recently published an anthology of their writings. Write On! Prose & Poetry by the Christopher Heights Writing Group. They appreciate the generosity of local sponsors, including SDWG.
I’ve pre-ordered a copy for SD members to borrow upon request. Please email me to arrange pick-up details if interested.
I hope you’ll take your turn delighting in the courageous and talented writing between the pages of this anthology.