They gather in coffee shops, at libraries, at bookstores, and ice cream shops. Sometimes you may find them huddled together at a picnic table in the park, pencils and pens scribbling feverishly across open notepads. Other times, they may be settled at a corner booth of a local restaurant, quietly taking in the scenery of a hectic lunchtime rush. Ask them what they’re doing, and they’ll all lend the same answer: “We are writers.”
Wednesday, June 29th marked the third annual Writing Marathon for the Chippewa River Writing Project, headed once again by CRWP leadership team member Penny Lew. For a full afternoon, Summer Institute participants gathered with friends and family to share their love of writing. As participants divided into groups, each set forth with the task of exploring their world with the eyes of the writer, naturally drawing inspiration from the settings that surround them. The journey took them beyond the campus of Central Michigan University, to shops, stores, parks, and restaurants all across Mt. Pleasant.
“It was fantastic,” Summer Institute participant Jonathan Case remarks. “Having the opportunity to just sit and observe is something I normally don’t have the chance to do.”
Fellow SI participant Judy McAlvey echoes Case’s sentiment. “The Writing Marathon awakened the writer in me,” she explains. “In the area of observation, writers need to describe in detail. Even by just listening to sounds, it helped me focus more on the things around me.”
Asked about her favorite Marathon experience, SI participant Angie Vandewarker recalls a quiet hour spent with a group of friends amid the sights and smells of a French-style bakery. “The Marathon was wonderful—very informative,” she observes. “A meaningful experience, and it went by so fast!”
As the Marathon drew to a close, participants reconvened on campus for a celebratory read-around with friends and colleagues. Together, the lines shared served as a patchwork picture of the many different people and places making up the Writing Marathon.
For more information on the Writing Marathon and our Summer Institute, please see our wiki at http://www.chippewariverwp.wikispaces.com.