Maple Ridge group supports writers

The mid-month writers meeting and Bean Around Books was a great place for local writers to share and support one another.

The month-start writers meeting on Oct. 5 at  Bean Around Books was a great place for local writers to share and support one another. Photo By: Palo/Flickr

Bean Around Books and Tea is a quiet and cozy place, and the perfect place to host the Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge Creative Writing Meetup.

There were 10 people present at the Oct. 5 meeting, all of them were aspiring writers of various interests. Some of them spun tales of science fiction or fantasy. Others evoked the passions of love and romance. One man wove words like a paintbrush with his poems. Although they were all slightly different in their talents, they were all there for the same reason: to help and support one another with critique and praise.

The first few minutes of the meeting was casually positive. Members exchanged greetings and talked about various topics. Michael March, the organizer of the group, welcomed two newcomers to the group.

Once everyone was comfortable and ready, March then began the meeting formally. He had everyone introduce themselves and say a few words about what they do. After the formal introductions, March encouraged the members to read something if they were brave.

One by one, members read the words on their pages, and the group offered applause and advice. After finishing the readings, the group then finished off by telling stories of life and experiences, for anything can be an inspiration for the creative mind.

March has been the organizer of this writing group since Oct. 16, 2011. The group was originally founded in May 2008. Since then, it has gone through several leadership changes.

It’s a fairly small group, with only about 10-12 member showing up at a time, but March prefers it that way.

“I find with bigger groups, it’s not as intimate or engaging,” said March. “There’s usually about 40-50 people, and they all get about 10-15 minutes to present. After so many, you just get dull.”

Pandora Ballard, an older member of the group, offered some insight into the value of a writers group.

“If you want to be properly critiqued, you need to be critiqued by a writer,” said Ballard. “Other people don’t quite understand what you’re looking for, and sometimes they end up wrecking your work more than helping.”

Ballard believes no matter how much experience you have, you can still learn something new and if you have an open mind, you can learn from almost anyone. That’s is why the group welcomes all writers. As long as a person has a creative mind and a sharing heart, there will be a place for them in the Pitt Meadows Maple Ridge Creative Writing Meetup.

Torin Slik

A student at Kwantlen Polytechnique University in the Bachelors of Journalism program, Torin Slik dreams of becoming a freelance writer.

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