The Williams Lake Writers Group is putting out a call to all writers in the lakecity to come out and share their works and talents with one another.
Retired substitute teacher Linda Purjue has been living in the Williams Lake area for the last 42 years and describes herself as a creative sort of person who is involved with the Williams Lake Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists Guild, paints and gardens in her spare time, in addition to her work with the writers’ group. In recent years she has become the unofficial leader of the group due to seniority and experience. Purjue has self-published one book, now in its third printing, and creates 60 little Christmas stories for families and friends every year which she writes, prints and then binds herself.
“I’ve always done (writing). It’s because I’ve got a thousand different places, a thousand different people and a thousand different stories rattling around inside my head and sometimes, they have to come out,” Purjue said with a chuckle.
She first joined the group some years ago after a poem she wrote won first place in the magazine O Canada and she was invited to join. Now she is the last original member still active within the group which consists of four regular members. As such, Purjue believes it is time for them to recruit some new blood for the organization. She hopes to gain enough members so that six to eight people will consistently come to their meetings, to give them a broad spectrum of works to review in an intimate setting.
“The more heads you got the more ideas you got and right now we’ve been trying to think of activities we can do in public that will let people know we’re here but with only four members that is too few to do anything significant,” Purjue said.
So long as they’re able to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards and enjoy sharing what they write, Purjue said anyone is welcome to attend. Subject material and age doesn’t matter, so long as they can tell a story.
The group meets monthly at 2 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre where they share their writings with one another for feedback, criticism and advice in a positive manner. They also will give each other fun challenges, like writing a story without using the letter B.
Purjue wanted it made clear that their meeting time is flexible and not set in stone and can be changed to accommodate prospective new members. Most of all she encourages writers to not store their works in closets and instead share them with others.
“We’ll show your flaws without being nasty about it, we’ll be very encouraging about it,” Purjue said.
Terrence ‘Terry’ Payette is a relatively new member of the group with a deep passion for the craft of writing, which he attributes to Purjue. Payette attended two creative writing courses through Elder College that Payette and other current members attended.
“We’re playing games and having fun with words,” Payette remarked when asked why he takes part in the group.
Payette agrees with Purjue that the group needs to become more visible to the community and hopes to do a beatnik style event at the Bean Counter in the future, complete with beret, striped shirt and suspenders. Functioning more of a writer’s cafe it would give them the chance to read their works to the general public in a fun and cosy environment. Purjue added she’d like to make such an event is open so anyone could come up and read a poem or short story they’ve written.
“If we can stand up in front of people and read our stuff, they may be able to say I can do that and start doing their own writing,” Payette said.
For him, however, writing is more important than just a hobby or something to do, it’s an essential part of the human experience.
“Our stories about me and about Purjue, if we don’t put them down (on paper) in a generation they’ll be gone and people won’t know our past. You can learn from (our work), well I don’t know about learning,” Payette chuckled. “What’s really important is the continuation (of memory) from generation to generation which the written word does.”
He recalled buying an old piece of furniture from the auction house some years ago that had an old mirror attached to it. As Payette looked at it, he noticed a little piece of paper sticking out from behind the mirror and pulled it out. Upon further examination, he discovered a collection of someone’s “illicit love notes” a written testimony to a man’s romance. Preserving local history like this, especially the old western stories, is important to him and is a focus of his writing.
Those interested in joining the Williams Lake Writers Group or finding out more about it can attend one of their monthly meetings or by contacting Purjue via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.