Write On, Door County! in ‘Dream Stage’

Community members shared ideas, concerns, and questions during an open discussion about Write On, Door County!

The concept of Write On, Door County!, an initiative to facilitate and promote writing in Door County, was the topic of discussion on Oct. 9 at the Door Community Auditorium.

This initiative, the brainchild of Anne Emerson, former owner of Edgewood Orchards Galleries, and Vinni Chomeau, coordinator of Friends of Gibraltar, has already promoted writing and reading in the community by hosting novelist Emma Straub and children’s author Nancy Carlson this past September. Both authors read at Edgewood Orchard Galleries and shared their knowledge and insight with Gibraltar students.

But, what’s next?

“Door County supports visual arts and preforming arts so well,” said Emerson while those who gathered to learn more about the project and exchange ideas on its future woke up with a cup of coffee. “We need to do more for literacy.”

The meeting began with a presentation by Jerod Santek, program director of The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a center which began in 1974 when a few poets wanted to simply discuss their work. In a matter of years The Loft “offered classes, free monthly support groups, and readings by local authors,” explained Santek, who has been an integral part of the center for 18 years. The center now serves thousands of readers and writers of all ages and at all levels of development.

“There’s no should in writing,” emphasized Santek. “I don’t think there is a should in a writing center. Should limits. I hate to think of the art we wouldn’t have if the artists stopped to ask, ‘Should I do this?’”

When an audience member brought up the challenges Door County faces as a rural community, Santek said, “A writing center doesn’t have to be an actual center. There could be programs throughout the county, at coffee shops, libraries, senior centers. Every writing center defines itself and its community’s needs.”

After the presentation, Bret Bicoy led an open discussion in the fireside lobby.

“Let’s dream a bit,” he began. “There are an awful lot of ideas and what works in other places does not always work here, so let’s dream.”

The diverse group of participants offered ideas: workshops, readings, mentorships, a contest, a poetry fest, a poetry scavenger hunt, writing groups.

With a bright marker, Chomeau recorded the ideas – the many, many ideas – to promote and encourage writing, reading, and literacy for all ages in Door County.

Before leaving, individuals interested in helping mentor youth writers, organize writers’ groups, and promote the overall efforts of Write On, Door County! signed up to keep the momentum going.

“It just feels right, this feels right,” said Bicoy.

Keep checking your Pulse for updates on the progress of Write On, Door County!, upcoming programs, and ways to get involved. For more information email Anne Emerson ([email protected]) or Vinni Chomeau ([email protected]).

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