Your mortal enemy is terminally ill, and you have to write a get well card. What will you say?
Or how about this: It’s 1975, and you’ve just arrived home from school. Your younger sister is missing and a ransom note is on the counter. What do you do?
These are just two of the writing prompts that have been used at LowellWrites, a community of writers who get together each week at LowellArts to flex their creative muscles. The group has been meeting from 7pm-9pm each Monday to spend 15 minutes writing in response to a prompt and then sharing their work and other projects for feedback and discussion.
The group is free to attend and open to all from older teens through adults. Participants don’t need to be published or professional writers to join.
Serendipity Leads to Group Creation
LowellWrites was the idea of three area residents who decided they were tired of toiling alone and wanted the comradery of meeting with fellow writers.
Debra Duiven Dunning and John Butler have a history of collaborating on writing projects all the way back to when they were both Lowell High School students in the 1980s. The two also both attended Aquinas College and have been involved in an AQ Writers group as alumni.
However, it wasn’t until the two connected with Noel Seif who had returned to Lowell after working on her Master of Fine Arts degree that everything clicked into place. “One day, [Debra] just casually mentioned getting a writing group together, and my ears perked up,” Seif remembers. She missed the group she belonged to while studying in the Seattle area and was quick to agree to help Duiven Dunning and Butler in forming LowellWrites.
No Experience Needed
Since its first meeting seven weeks ago, LowellWrites has drawn participants from a variety of backgrounds. Duiven Dunning, Butler and Seif are all accomplished writers, and their group has attracted participants who are both new and old to the craft.
“I kinda need a creative kick in the pants,” says Laurie Kuna, a published romance writer who is a regular attendee. Joining the group provides not only the motivation to start writing, but also to get feedback from others.
However, you don’t have to be a published – or even experienced – writer to be part of LowellWrites. Members also aren’t limited to fiction. Those who want to explore poetry, creative nonfiction or other formats are welcome as well.
More Activities Planned
“Writing is like other crafts in that the more you practice, the more proficient you become,” Duiven Dunning says. At LowellWrites, people not only practice writing through the weekly prompts but can also bring work from home for discussion. Duiven Dunning notes, “Writing can be a very solitary experience, but the fellowship that comes from participating in a group helps motivate.”
Going forward, LowellWrites hopes to continue its weekly meetings, hold lectures or workshops with visiting artists and maybe even self-publish a collection of works from its members. “We aspire to maintain an active ongoing group to help develop local talent and a love of writing,” Duiven Dunning says.
If you’re looking for a tribe of writers in Lowell, you’ll find them every Monday from 7-9pm in the back classroom of the LowellArts gallery on Main Street. For more information or to connect with the group online, like LowellWrites on Facebook.