Saline Area Senior Center Hosts Writers' Marathon

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Local seniors met this week to participate in a writing marathon, where they put creative thoughts to paper and shared their experiences with fellow members. The event was hosted by the Saline Area Senior Center’s Writers Group.

“We try to hold it at an offsite location for fun, but unfortunately, there was a COVID-related closure at the site,” said Megan Kenyon, Program Coordinator at SASC. In the past, marathons have been held at Brewed Awakenings, Carrigan Café, and the SHS Writing Center.

“We hope to hold one at Brewed Awakenings in late August, just to support our local businesses, too,” Kenyon said.

Judy Slater, who heads up the writing group, provides three minute, five minute, and ten minute prompts for participants.

“As the group facilitator, I was focused on overall timing, clarification of routine, monitoring the timed writing, and fostering inclusiveness,” she said.

“I love these marathons for the engagement and energetic efforts everyone makes. The laughter, the forming of new friendships, and the reaffirmation of writing’s sustenance to the soul and spirit.”

Writers spent their allotted time quietly putting words to paper, and then shared readings and lively conversations that were inspired by the prompts. Refreshments were provided, and the patio was open for writers who wished to be inspired by the blooming wisteria and tulips.

Dave Talaga, a local blogger and group member, joined in the marathon.

“It’s just a good mental exercise. It keeps your mind sharp, especially if you like to write. There’s just a great diversity of writing here,” he said.

Carol Pullen enjoys the camaraderie shared by the members.

“I really like to write, but I enjoy the people in the group and hearing their stories and different perspectives,” she added. “It’s broadening.”

Kenyon feels that the group is a valuable asset to the SASC community.

“A lot of older adults feel like they want to leave something for their family to have. This is a great way to get inspired to start writing if you’ve never written before. It’s an informal group where they are not looking to be professionally published, but they want to leave something behind.”

“We have these seniors with such great stories,” Kenyon said. She added that some write poetry, some are working on memoirs, and others are recording war stories. Several members are even attempting fiction and short stories.

“Hopefully, the family members of these people will enjoy these treasures,” she said.

The SAS-C Writers Group will soon be finishing their second literary journal, which is being published with the help of Saline High School’s Writing Center. The journal will be sold at Brewed Awakenings, McPherson Local, and the senior center.

“On June 29, we are going to have a celebration in the evening for the public. They will be able to purchase the literary journal there, and we will have a light dinner sponsored by Linden Square with refreshments. We will have our patio open for people to celebrate, and we will do a couple of readings to build up the excitement,” Kenyon said.

Slater was pleased with the turnout at this month’s event.

“I was happy with the easy participation of the whole group of writers, the attentiveness to each other, and joyfulness,” she said. “ I appreciated hearing that some of the writing prompts I presented piqued enough interest in writers to further explore.”

In addition to a planned August event, the group is also expected to enjoy a third writing marathon with students at Saline High School’s Writing Center this fall.

SASC services over 600 members, along with Saline locals through Meals on Wheels and AARP Taxes. Membership is open to residents age 45 and up. For more information, visit : salineseniors.org.

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