Writers share love of the craft at Eisenhower Public Library
Members of the Pen & Ink Writers Group reading their stories at the Eisenhower Library in Harwood Heights. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
WHO: The Pen & Ink Writers Group
MEETS: At 7 p.m. the third Monday of the month
WHERE: On the second floor of the Eisenhower Public Library, 4613 N. Oketo Ave., Harwood Heights.
CONTACT: (708) 867-7828.
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:18AM
HARWOOD HEIGHTS — Lovers of the written word unite once a month at the Eisenhower Public Library.
The Pen & Ink Writers Group meet and share their interpretations of each month’s theme. Their works often reflect the eclectic nature of the group.
“We are a small group and are always open to new members joining who like to write, be it prose, poetry, a memoir, essay, or non-fiction,” Activities Coordinator Nancy Stewart said. “Periodically, we have special events along with our scheduled meetings, such as professional story-telling, discussion with published authors or other instructional material related to writing. “
Each month, the group works around a word or phrase, incorporating that theme into their writing, Stewart said. This month’s phrase was, “What’s so funny?”
While members appreciate the conveniences that come with technology, they also relish the timelessness of writing. Elvira Castillo said she likes to record the pleasant times of days gone by.
“The way-back memories when everybody knew their neighbors by name,” she said.
With so many people caught in the throes of so many electronic devices, that camaraderie is lost.
Theresa Choske shares tales of growing up in Ireland.
“Mom was a character, and we love characters,” Choske said. “She said we struggled in the 1950s.”
But Choske doesn’t see it that way. She remembers a good life filled with structure.
“We couldn’t get away with anything,” she said, with a laugh. “Everyone — the neighbors, the priests, the nuns — they all ‘knew your stamp.’”
Phyllis Babbs has grown into the role of storyteller, especially for her grandchildren.
“They always ask me to tell them a story,” she said, including about the time she helped hatch ducks in Roselle.
Babbs has had her work published in the Tallgrass Writers Guild’s anthology.
Vicki Elberfeld uses folk tales as her inspiration and adapts them to the monthly themes. She also performs her work, using talents gained through her association with Toastmasters International.
David Rumer, by consensus, is the group’s poet.
“There are better ones than me,” said the former mechanical engineer, brushing aside the compliment.
Club meetings are informal. Members share their love of writing while listening to other members’ works, offering constructive criticism, Stewart said.
She noted The Pen & Ink Writers’ Group is a starting place for the emerging writer to grow and offers an opportunity for the experienced writer to enhance writing skills.
“Over the years, many members have gone on to do additional activities as a result of their new found self-confidence in writing,” she said. “For example, I have gone on to do research, to develop and present various programs on writing for the adult.”
Choske has presented cultural programs for the Irish American Heritage Center; Joe Scianna leads writing classes at Mather’s, a Cafe and More; Babbs is submitting stories, winning awards and writing larger pieces; Elberfeld makes use of the group to try out her story-telling performances; and Castillo is writing essays.