Tribune Print Share Text

Wind Crest Wisdom Writers

Where written and spoken words come together

Created date

June 21st, 2011

Once a week, the Wind Crest Wisdom Writers gather to share their work with each other and bond over words. At least 22 writers sit around four tables forming a square and nod their heads as each person reads into a microphone and makes their words come to life. You don t have to be a professional writer to join the group; in fact, many of them didn t start honing their craft until they moved to Wind Crest, an Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo. The meat of the writing doesn t matter in this group; what does matter is brevity there s usually a limited word count so that everyone has a chance to share. It feels safe to express yourself fully and honestly, Beverly Balter says of the group. There is no critiquing of pieces, nor is there constructive criticism; rather, it s a place to be one with words their own and each other s. For the Wisdom Writers, writing and reading become an interactive process.

Topics and lessons

To get the group started, there s a topic each week, but the writers aren t limited to this topic alone. Topics range from a concept like porch memories to a word like never to an action like waiting. Mary Cooprider, the facilitator of the group, introduces the topic and keeps things moving along so that the hour and a half is filled with the spoken word. Occasionally, the group will have a lesson, like the time Garrett Ray led workshops on the qualities of newspaper writing and how that can make any type of writing poetry, prose, or nonfiction more accessible. Garrett wrote for the Littleton Independent and taught journalism at Colorado State University. Since moving to Wind Crest, he says he s been focusing on writing. Garrett recently shared a heartfelt piece with the group about meeting a celebrity. He was on a local press bus to meet Hubert Humphrey in 1964, when he unexpectedly met renowned Washington Post reporter David Broder. Broder was known for genuinely listening and being interested in every person he met, whether senators, county chairmen, schoolteachers, receptionists, or unemployed machinists, Garrett says. Garrett eulogized Broder in his piece: Before that night was over, I got to shake Hubert Humphrey s hand as he boarded a hotel elevator. But the celebrity I have remembered and admired for nearly half a century was that quiet reporter who wanted to learn something new.

Mostly personal

Members of the Wisdom Writers write mostly personal stories. Jeanette Albersheim is chronicling her memories as a Red Cross nurse in France during World War II, where she put a single piece of Big Red gum on 1,000 patients pillows just to bring them joy. Edie Collins wrote a story about her conflict when a visitor from Korea brought a cowboy hat and toy gun as gifts for her children, which challenged her beliefs about not letting her children have toy weapons. The Wisdom Writers would tell you that being within a group of writers validates not only the writing but each person s experiences.