Home Washington Twp. News ‘It’s a wonderful group’

‘It’s a wonderful group’

Writers gathers monthly to share their struggles and accomplishments

Albert J. Countryman Jr./The Sun
Sharing ideas and displaying their published works are members of the New Jersey Writers Resource Group at the Margaret Heggan Library. They include facilitator Laura J. Kaighn, Joanne Costantino, Linda Silver, Tom Minder, Kathy Appleton, Jane Mayer, Sandy Skalski, Cindy Mazer and Joe Tierno.

The creative process of putting a book or article into words can be difficult at times. Thoughts bounce around the brain at rapid speed, but still the writer is staring at a blank computer screen.

But there are also times when sentences pour forth from the keyboard like a symphony of words.

Some area writers hoping to get published or share ideas have formed the New Jersey Writers Resource Group at the township’s Margaret Heggan library.

“We have upwards of 25 members and a core group of six to 14 writers,” said Facilitator Laura J. Kaighn of Williamstown, adding that English students from Rowan University occasionally visit the group. “New people coming in energize us.”

Besides their meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m., the group sponsors poetry presentations and writing workshops throughout the year. Their January session was canceled due to snow, but nine writers filed into one of the library’s meeting room on Feb. 13 for a spirited discussion.

“It’s a wonderful group. Everyone helps with your writing and you get the input of different people,” said Jane Mayer, who self-published a book of her grandmother’s photos from the early 20th century. She is part of Innovative Creations, a web design graphics photography company based in Mantua.

“We share a lot of ideas. Laura is such a good communicator,” noted Kathy Appleton of Mount Laurel, who gets paid for articles about families that she writes for Upper Room magazine. She also plays the harp and is a piano instructor.

“You get a different point of view when other people look at your writing,” offered Joanne Costantino of Sewell, a professional writer and creator of the Writing in Circles blog, which features tall tales and short stories from South Jersey.

“The group enhances the writing experience,” said Tom Minder, author of “The Ferret,” the story of cross-country journey filled with memorable characters and available online through Black Horse Publishing. “Laura gives us a lot of assignments that help with our writing techniques.”

“I love the camaraderie and I get a lot of ideas,” said Sandy Skalski, who has published two science fiction short stories for which she was paid.

“We are a diverse group with a lot of different perspectives,” Cindy Mazer observed. “We learn how to incorporate humor and surprise into our writing.”

Joe Tierno has had articles published in Easy Rider magazine.

“I like the companionship,” he noted of the writer’s group. “There is incentive to push you into areas you are not comfortable going through.”

“They are all my friends,” acknowledged said the eponymous owner of Linda Silver Impressions in the township, who creates original impressionistic prints exhibited in local galleries, including the Galleria in Deptford. “I need the assignments Laura give us.”

Kaighn, who has written “Rabbit’s Tale & Other Rites of Passage” and “The Vesar Warrior Legacy” is working on her third book in “The Earth Child Trilogy. She recalled how the New Jersey Writers Resource Group began after South Jersey poet Joanna Swank led a series of workshops in 2012.

Some writers at the workshops wanted to keep meeting together, and with Kaighn leading the way, the group has met at Heggan library since January 2013.

Aspiring writers 16 and up are invited to visit the group and write, share, be inspired and enjoy the company of other scribes. Contact Kaighn at ladyhawkestorytelling@comcast.net for information and to register.

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