We Believe Everyone is a Storyteller

Here at Trinity Writers we’ve been around since 2016 holding weekly workshops with and for writers at all levels of skill and those who are for the first time wanting to try their hand at writing.

We spend our time in a workshop setting creating an environment of collegiality for our writers to explore the craft.  The most common struggle we all have is finding a way to get our stories out and onto the page.

Along the way, we’ve come to embrace the Write to Discover concept of the craft articulated by Flannery O’Connor, one of the most notable writers from the American south. O’Connor wrote in a letter to a colleague, “I have to write to discover what I am doing.” She believed that writing revealed the mystery of the world around us and that it was within the essence of all of us to explore that mystery through telling stories to each other.

We also embrace the wisdom in Brenda Ueland’s book “If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit.” First published in 1938, Ueland’s first paragraph tells of a writing class she attended for three years in which there were “all kinds of people: prosperous and poor, stenographers, housewives, salesmen, cultivated people and little servant girls who had never been to high school, timid people and bold ones, slow and quick ones. This is what I learned: that everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.”

We agree. Regardless of the age or station in life, those who want to write profit from coming together in a supportive environment to discover, learn and share with each other. Ueland says “this creative power and imagination is in everyone and so is the need to express it… It is very tender and sensitive, and it is usually drummed out of people early in life by criticism (so-called ‘helpful criticism’ is often the worst kind), by teasing, jeering, rules, prissy teachers, critics, and all those unloving people who forget that the letter killeth and the spirit giveth life.”

When any of us find ourselves frozen by the sight of the empty page or computer screen, the culprit is often the unpleasant memories of the teachers and others along our evolutionary paths of discovery who sneered, jeered, marked up with a red pen, or critiqued what we had to say and how we said it. As a result, the words come out timid and anemic, if they come out at all.

But, as Ueland observes, it’s not the person nor the power of their stories that lack. Rather, most of us still suffer from the overlays of our schooling in technical structures, sentence diagrams, grammar lessons, fear of punctuation, and more. We love Elmore Leonard’s take on this: “I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”

At Trinity Writers we believe the storyteller in us all needs to be set free with encouragement to seize the power of words and the primal flow of the narrative river. Just tell the story. Editors can and will fix the technical stuff later.

And, we’ve discovered that a happy outcome happens when the storyteller takes control: technical issues seem to resolve themselves along the way as well.

Writing to discover can never produce stories that are timid or anemic because the process puts the story at the center of the work.

“No writing is a waste of time – no creative work where feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good. It has stretched your understanding. Even if I knew for certain that I would never have anything published again, and would never make another cent from it, I would keep on writing.” This is Brenda Ueland’s discovery.

Here, we are on the side of the writer, the storyteller who has a tale to tell and needs to tell it with clarity and grace. We invite everyone to join us. We are a project of Trinity Baptist Church but it is not necessary to belong to the church to attend our workshops. All creative souls are welcomed.

Our primary goal is to help inspire you to “fill you paper with the breathings of the heart” as William Wordsworth described the art and purpose of the writer.