Waynesboro Cultural Commission announces writers’ workshops

Always wanted to write?  Or perhaps you’re a veteran writer who would like to improve your writing, try a new genre, or meet other writers. The Cultural Commission workshops are designed to give you an understanding of three types of expression, each with an accomplished mentor. All workshops are free and open to the public. Sessions are from 7-8:30 in the Wayne Theatre Office, 533 West Main Street in Waynesboro.

Tuesday, March 6 and 13: Personal essay workshop with Martha Woodroof

Anyone with an opinion is invited to express it, and anyone with a story is invited to tell it, in a two-part workshop designed to help you find your own personal voice.

Martha Woodroof of WMRA, who definitely has opinions and stories, is a nationally-published essayist, the moderator of FaithUnboxed.org in collaboration with On Faith at The Washington Post, editor of WMRA’s “Civic Soapbox,” and creator and host of “Spark!” She will teach the interactive class at the Wayne Theatre Office, 533 West Main Street in Waynesboro, on two Tuesdays, March 6 and 13, from 7 to 8:30 pm. In this workshop, participants will pick up topic and write a short essay.

“Why mutter about events in your community and your life alone?” Woodroof asks. “Once you learn to write short, first-person essays, you can mutter for all to hear.” Woodroof invites writers and non-writers alike to join her in finding effective ways to communicate your life experiences or your ideas for community improvement.

Registration is required. Call 540-943-9999.


Tuesday, April 3: Introduction to Romance Writing with Elaine Grant

Romance writer Elaine Grant will introduce you to this enduring and popular genre, and share some experiences and principles to guide you in your successful tale of passion and drama.

When Elaine was five, she decided she wanted to be a writer who illustrated her own books. In third grade her first short story was published in the local weekly newspaper. There was no turning back then!

At sixteen she began her first novel, an English historical romance about a highwayman. That one’s still in the works. In 1998, her first novel was published by Berkley-Jove Haunting Hearts. It incorporated romance with her love of Southern lore–ghosts, a reverence for tradition, and long, sultry days perfect for falling in love.  Her last three Harlequin Superromances are set in Montana. Grant, who lived in New Orleans for years, now lives in Waynesboro.

She will teach the class at the Wayne Theatre Office, 533 West Main Street in Waynesboro, on Tuesday, April 3, from 7 to 8:30 pm.

Registration is required. Call 540-943-9999.


Tuesday, May 1: Introduction to Writing Poetry with Emily Hancock

Poetry remains the most lyrical and intimate form of written expression and has endured for centuries. Locally, poetry lovers gather monthly to share poetry they love or have written, a gathering moderated by poet Emily Hancock at Stone Soup Books and Cafe. Emily has been composing poems for decades, and in recent months is working on a small manuscript for publication.

Emily is also the founder of St. Brigid Press, where she creates large-format prints on a 1910 hand-crank press, a labor of love where all the type is set by hand.

Emily will teach her deepest beliefs about writing poetry, including sharing the work of some of her favorite authors. Even if you can’t tell a sonnet from a haiku or know nothing about meter or internal rhymes, you can find out what it means to be a poet in this informal, interactive class.

The poetry class is Tuesday, May 1 at the Wayne Theatre Office, 533 West Main Street in Waynesboro.

Registration is required. Call 540-943-9999.


Other local writer’s gatherings

– Check out SWAG (Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta Group) Writers, who have a monthly gathering at The Darjeeling Cafe for WriterDay and Open Mic Night, 6-8pm on the Second Wednesday of each month.

– SWAG plans a reading at The Darjeeling Cafe on February 22 featuring Chris Gavaler (fiction, author of SCHOOL FOR TRICKSTERS) and Lesley Wheelter (poetry, HETEROTOPIA and HEATHEN). 6pm, Wed. 2/22.

– And in March SWAG hosts a talk by Charlies Shields, author of AND SO IT GOES, the biography of Kurt Vonnegut, and MOCKINGBIRD, the biography of Harper Lee. At The Spencer Center at Mary Baldwin College, March 28, 7pm.