By Heather Cameron
Alta Newspaper Group
Pothole Creek Writers Guild is what their collective passion is all about.
“The Pothole Creek Writers Guild is a collection of protagonists, antagonists, dynamic, static, round, flat, and stock characters,” Stephanie Humphreys, Library Manager for Magrath Public Library, says. “It’s like a warm blanket that keeps sliding off the bed in the middle of the night.”
Founded a year ago, Humphreys says the Guild is a group of individuals who like to express themselves through the written word. The group’s mandate, Humphreys says, is to support and promote writers in the Magrath/Raymond area. Currently, Humphreys says, the Guild has 12 active members.
“I founded the guild because I had been asked by several members of the community if it was possible to start a writing group in Magrath,” Humphreys says. “Garden City and Westwind were used in many different groups, so we decided to go with Pothole Creek Writers Guild to set ourselves apart.”
The Guild, Humphreys says, meets together weekly at the Magrath Public Library and each member brings personal writing to share with the group and are receptive to critiques on their works.
“Though writing is a solitary pursuit, all written work can benefit from feedback,” Humphreys says. “It is great to be able to meet with like-minded people who can understand the difficulty of getting the words just right, who can pick out the good writing, and help improve the not so good. It can also be motivating when you know the group expects you to bring something new to read to the meetings.”
On some weeks, the Guild also has a class that addresses aspects on how to become better writers that builds on the experience they already have. Humphreys notes she has published two novels.
“Most of our authors have little publishing experience at this point,” Humphreys says. “One of our writers maintains a Facebook page with an ongoing storyline, and another writes a regular business blog. We also have a retired journalist, and I have two traditionally published novels. Some of our members have goals of publishing novels, others want to write their family stories, and others post their work online.”
Humphreys is adamant that members of the guild look forward to each meeting, and there is always a lot of sadness if someone misses a meeting. Those in the Guild may not all have known each other well when they started but all in it have become friends, Humphreys says.
“I feel like we have become a writing family,” Humphreys says. “There is a lot of trust in our group, and we know that whatever we share, we are in a safe place. Writers must have a thick skin as they put their thoughts and feelings into thoughts and feelings into words and share them to the world. Our group works hard to maintain a positive and encouraging environment.”
To join the Pothole Creek Writers Guild, Humphreys says prior to the pandemic, people were welcome to contact the Magrath Public Library or stop in on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. There are no fees to join, Humphreys says, and all levels of experience are welcome.
“For many authors, writing is a way to express themselves and for some, something they are compelled to do,” Humphreys says. “The guild helps us because writing can be a lonely pastime. Our meetings are a safe place to share and test out what we have written.”