Writers of all stripes, genres, talent levels and ages have found a home at the WritingÂ at Â the Ledges group, which recently published â€œSeasons of Life,â€ its second collection.
Nearly seven decades separate the oldest writer from the youngest in the new collection of short stories, essays and poems, and among the 24 contributors represented in the book, almost half are first-timers, according to Rosalie Petrouske, co-founder of the group.
Senior writer Alta C. Reed, who started writing at a young age, has an entire chapter in the book titled â€œSeasons of Alta.â€ In her short essays she writes about topics as diverse as her life before electricity and Senior Skip Day in 1939. Her biography describes how she still has an essay she wrote in the third grade and a story she wrote in 1939 about her senior trip to the Worldâ€™s Fair.
On the other end of the spectrum, Shelby Pontius, a senior at Grand Ledge High School, contributed a short story titled â€œThe Year Santa Go Stuck in My Chimney.â€ In her biography, Pontius says she has a passion for writing rhyming poetry and plans to attend Michigan State University after graduation.
Petrouske says the number of firstâ€“timers represented in the book shows the level of interest in the writing group, which was founded in 2005 and now boasts 30 members. The Lansing Community College writing instructor said that five years is a long time for a group to stay together.
â€œItâ€™s been an amazing journey,â€ she said.
She said the group works together to encourage new writers and 10 of the 24 contributors to â€œSeasons of Lifeâ€ were new to this second collection. Writing at the Ledges published its first anthology, â€œSmall Towns: A Map in Wordsâ€ in 2008.
Dividing the book into four sections allowed the writers to represent the changes theyâ€™ve experienced in life, according to Petrouske. An introduction describes the organization as following the renewal of spring to summerâ€™s promise of hope, through autumnâ€™s vibrancy and the inevitability of winter. Petrouske has contributed poems to all four of the seasons.
Several of the works, including those by first-timer Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and veteran Randy D. Pearson, successfully weave humor into their pieces. Pearson is shown above.
Goldberg-Strassler â€” who is the voice of the Lugnuts â€” contributed a piece called â€œSwing for the Fencesâ€ that begins with the line, â€œA hearse just pulled up outside our house.â€
Pearson has won several national writing contests and published a very funny road trip novel, â€œDriving Crazy,â€ last year. He writes about one of his fatherâ€™s favorite war stories in â€œLoincloths and Bolo Knives.â€
Asked why writers join a writing group, Petrouske said writers like to get feedback on their work. â€œThey want to see if it is working and if others get it. They want to know if their writing is doing what itâ€™s supposed to do.
â€œThis effort gives group members a chance to be published and to learn about the publishing business.â€
Petrouske also attributes the success of the writersâ€™ group to meeting on a Saturday, when more people can make it. She also said the group encourages the members to try new styles and genres.
â€œOne half of the group never wrote poetry and now all are trying to write it,â€ she said.
And although the group may soon have to limit membership or break off a new group, Petrouske and numerous fellow contributors are doing a series of signings at which interested writers can ask about writersâ€™ groups.
Members will sign copies of â€œSeasons of Lifeâ€ and talking about writersâ€™ groups at the following times and locations: 1 p.m. Monday, Delta Township Library, 5130 Davenport Dr., Lansing; time to be announced, March 21, Grand Ledge Public Library, 131 East Jefferson St., Grand Ledge; 2 p.m., March 26, Schuler Books & Music, Eastwood Towne Center, 2820 Towne