Writer’s group promotes creative expression in East Portland

Find out why the writing workshops put on by this organization aren’t open to the general public –and why their ‘Saturday WRITE!’ workshops have been so well attended at all outer East Portland locations …

At this ‘Saturday WRITE!’ venue in East Portland, experienced authors joined budding writers in putting pen to paper, at Tabor Commons.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
All it takes to write creatively is simply to put pencil to paper. So, why did dozens of folks attend a two-hour creative writing workshop called ‘Saturday WRITE!’ held on April 30?

An organization called “Write Around Portland” sponsored three simultaneous workshops on a sunny Saturday morning in the Russell Neighborhood at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, the East Portland Community Center, and the session we looked in on – at Cafe au Play in Tabor Commons, on SE Division Street.

“Write Around Portland” facilitator Kasey Stewart shares “prompts”, to help stimulate attendees’ imagination  and creativity.

Writers sat around tables placed together in the center of the café, as facilitator Kasey Stewart gave them “prompts” – images, and verbal ideas – to help spur on their creative process. After a timed writing, the authors put their pencils down and shared their stories.

The Executive Director of “Write Around Portland”, Robyn Steely, explained why these workshops are held. “It’s an opportunity for anyone and everyone to attend one of our writing workshops, and to get as many people as possible around the table to write and share.”

The 12-year-old nonprofit usually works in partnership with social service agencies, explained Steely. “Our facilitators typically work with folks living in low income housing, or those experiencing isolation – burn survivors; in addiction recovery. The goal is to help these individuals ‘connect’ with other people, through writing.”

During the workshop, participants are given the opportunity to “find their voice” by putting pen to paper, and to gain connection to others through storytelling.

Participant Reuben Alvarez-Paris jots down thoughts, during one of the writing sessions.

“Another goal of ‘Saturday WRITE!’ is to build community,” added Steely. “People sit next to one another, share their writing, meet their neighbors, and build friendships. And, some people volunteer with our organization after they learn what we do.”

Journals, pens, and light snacks were provided at the free event, which was open to adults and teens, thanks to a grant from Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and Oregon Cultural Trust, observed Steely. “We do hold monthly public workshops, and charge a modest fee for those.”

To learn more about their organization, see their website: CLICK HERE to see it.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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