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Calling all Scribblers past and present

Prinevilles Scribblers Club, comprised of local writers, is seeking submissions for an upcoming anthology


by: RON HALVORSON - Local Scribblers (left to right) Glenda Janssen, Nancy Dachtler, June Selis, Mary Reed, Nita Regnier, Carol Wayne, and Barbara Minturn meet together.

However satisfying it may be, often it's not enough for a writer to merely write.

Once the pen has been set aside — or the last digital page sent to the printer - the completed work demands an audience, whether it's the entire literary world, or simply friends and family.

It's in the spirit of the latter that a local writing group is seeking short stories from its members — both past and present - to compile into an anthology.

"About the last six or seven years, we've been talking together, as a group, about putting together an anthology of our writings," said Scribblers Writing Club member Mary Reed. "We are gathering stories from a lot of our different writers, and we are getting permission from some of our writers who have passed away — from their families — to include their stories."

The title of the book, "Life is a Road," allows for a bit of creativity when it comes time to organizing it into sections.

"We're going to eventually divide it up into, 'Curves in the Road,' 'Bumps in the Road,'" she said. "Yesterday, I got a couple of farm stories, and I thought that would be good for ‘Beyond the fence,’ ‘The fence alongside the road,’ or something.

“Some of it will be family stories. Some of it is just poetry. Life is a road, and it’s going to be whatever anybody wants to submit.”

Reed estimates each book will cost about $10 to print. Each writer is expected to contribute $5, and Reed is hoping for a grant from the Crook County Cultural Coalition to cover the rest.

“There’s a pretty good chance that we'll get it,” she said.

Scribblers was born from a mid-1980s Central Oregon Community College class called “Write Your Life History,” according to Frances Juris, a founding member who remained active until just recently. She said the class continued for several years, but then there was trouble finding an instructor.

“We started thinking, and we decided we don't need an instructor to do what we're doing,” she recalled. “We’ll just do it ourselves.

“We ended up with Scribblers, because we couldn't consider ourselves authors, or writers, or anything really fancy — just Scribblers.

“Whatever we wanted to write, we would just write. And we would read it at the next meeting, and if people wanted to criticize, they could, but we got to a point where we never criticized, we just enjoyed it.”

The COCC class, and then Scribblers, motivated Juris to write not just her own life history, but that of her family as well.

“We have a lot of people there who have written their family stories,” said Reed. “Ongoing stories, where you write a chapter a week, and eventually you have a book.”

Similarly, Reed has spent the last eight years writing — and compiling 74 chapters — about her Civil War-era great-grandparents. Once she realized that much of what was known about her forebears was based purely on family stories, she decided to thoroughly research her subjects to find the facts. She used not only genealogical, courthouse, and museum records, but also visited the areas they lived, and documented what life was like during that period.

“I’ve done heaps, and heaps, and heaps of research to justify the things I’ve written,” she related, “but some of it is still fictional, because there’s nobody alive to tell me what really happened. So I can just make it up and nobody can argue.”

Scribblers doesn’t put on writers’ workshops, Reed said, but the members do what they can to encourage one another and to hone each other’s craft. This includes helping the mostly-senior members become tech savvy.

“Some people were writing all their stories in longhand, and typing them on typewriters,” she said, “and all of a sudden they realized that it’s so much easier to do it on the computer. So we've gotten them into the computer age.” She estimated that during the last 15 years she’s been a Scribbler, 140 people have come and gone. One who has come is June Selis, a Portland transplant who was involved in writing there, and has been a Scribbler for about four years.

“I thought that would be fun to have a group to go to that encourages you to write and keep that going,” Selis said of her reason for joining the club. “It’s more about keeping me writing. When you have a group to go to and you want to read something every week, it keeps you writing something, even if it's a short story or prose.

“It’s more about being involved with other writers, and people who like to write, and talk about their writing. It’s just encouraging. It’s not really a class, or a critique. It’s more about having other people hear your stories and getting a little feedback.”

Selis said she’d like to see more involvement in the arts in Prineville, and joining Scribblers is one way for people to do that.

“It’s a great little group. I would like to see more people involved. I know there's people out there that write, and would like to do that kind of stuff. It’d just be encouraging to have more people do that kind of thing.”



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