Writers on the River
“Community. Craft. Career.” These three core concepts make up the motto of the Willamette Writers Organization, a group established in 1965 with the purpose of connecting Oregon’s writers and nurturing the literary talent therein. WW welcomes writers of all stages, from the hobbyist to the professional, offering resources that the aspiring author may find useful. The organization has a half-century of history to draw from, with chapters all throughout the coast, from Central Point to Vancouver, Wash. This allows members within WW access to a wide variety of writing communities and subcultures from which to visit and learn.
I recently attended an open-mic night hosted by Corvallis’ chapter of WW – Willamette Writers on the River or WWotR. The presenters were able to gauge the efficacy of their work by watching the crowd’s reaction: deep intrigue beckoned the listener’s quiet attention, quick-witted poems elicited chuckles from the audience. After the event, folks stayed to chat over their various works, offering comments and critique which could further enhance the pieces shown. As a writer who often keeps to himself, I found the experience to be both refreshing and encouraging. The community’s enthusiasm was infectious, calling me to improve upon my own writing.
For other writers looking to improve their craft, WW offers many workshops and master classes throughout the year, taught by a myriad of successful authors. These workshops cover a wide range of topics, from the steps involved in getting published to the finer details of characterizing a story’s many characters. The many events and resources hosted by WW are made possible by the contributions of its members and the hard work of its volunteers. Members pay annual dues, and in exchange get full access to workshops.
As for non-members, there are still options for participation. Meetings can be attended for a small fee and local readings are free. WW also has many volunteer opportunities for those looking to directly support their local writing communities, regardless of membership.
Annual memberships are $57 for adults, $30 for students, and $20 for adolescents between 13 and 18 years of age. Two people living at the same address can also register for a Household Membership for $77 annually.
WWoTR meets every fourth Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Corvallis. Attendance is free to nonmembers, $5 for guests, and $10 for nonmembers. Quarterly meetings are free and open to the public.
More about membership benefits, volunteering opportunities, and upcoming events can be found on WW’s website, www.willamettewriters.org.
By Thomas Nguyen