Kamas Valley Writers Group open to all adults
December 2, 2014
When Matthew Deane moved to Oakley from New Hampshire a couple of years ago, he wanted to join a writers group.
He looked but found nothing.
"I was surprised that there wasn’t a writers group, because Park City and Summit County is full of creative and smart people," Deane told The Park Record. "I got some information about starting a group from the library, but life got in the way and I didn’t do anything."
Deane, the author of "West of Independence," a memoir about his brother Jared who committed suicide six year ago, hosts a free writers group at the Summit County Library Kamas Branch, 110 N. Main St., the third Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.
The group is open to anyone interested in writing, according to Deane.
"We have a good range of writers who are in different genres and have had different experiences," he said. "We have published writers and a Utah Book Award winner and some who aren’t published.
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"The group also includes an editor, a librarian, two teachers, a water engineer and, um, me," he said, giggling. "It looks like a really good group and we’re looking for more interested people."
The idea of creating a writers group in Kamas had been on Deane’s mind because he was a member of a writing group in New Hampshire, which he joined after a little prodding from his wife, Elizabeth.
"I had always talked about becoming a writer, but really didn’t do anything to make it happen until she turned to me and said, ‘Would you either start writing or shut up about it?’" he said. "Of course, it was said with a smile and encouragement, and she was the one who signed me up for the group."
Deane was reluctant at first to attend.
"I was so scared, especially when I saw that many of them were older and looked very intelligent, which they were, but I ended up having such a good experience there for years," he said. "We all became great friends and editors for each other, and I learned so much."
The goals for the Kamas group are the same as the group in New Hampshire, Deane explained.
"The idea is that everybody would bring something to the table with their different experiences, editing and knowledge," he said. "It doesn’t matter what level they’re at, nor does it matter why they write or what they write, be it poetry, screenplays, novels, memoirs, blogs, funny stories, sad stories, whatever it may be."
The group is designed to be a safe place where writers can express their ideas an get some constructive feedback.
"We are very respectful and want this to be about the writing and not about the content," Deane said. "Everyone will bring their pieces and we’ll talk about them. It’s very open."
The group also urges its members to not take offense if someone writes some harsh words or addresses some controversial topics.
"It’s all about writing," he said. "We won’t judge the writer and we won’t laugh at the material unless we’re supposed to laugh."
Because of some of the content of the compositions, Deane and the Kamas Library felt the group should consist of adults ages 18 and older.
"We would like to see how this goes and then maybe start a group for high-schoolers," Deane said. "Nothing would be better than to inspire young writers and provide them a safe place where they can write something without being graded or ostracized."
The group has had two meetings so far, and Deane is pleased at how things have been going.
"When we go around the room to discuss ideas and concerns, it was nice to hear that they didn’t want to be a part of some elitist group that would exclude people," he said. "It’s great to hear how excited people are to have this group."
While there is no official sign-up, the group does have an email list it uses to remind people about the next meeting and to recap the last one.
"Also, people can come and go as they please," Deane said. "Obviously, consistency is better for the writer, but if someone can’t make it, it’s OK."
The Kamas Valley Writers Group meets the third Thursday of each month at the Summit County Library Kamas Branch, 110 Main St., from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/kamaswriters .
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