Friday, September 18, 2015

Senior Expo

I went to a senior expo last month to help out at the information table for the Midwest Writing Center. My first time at such an event.

When I got there, the table was set with the MWC’s banner, informational handouts, and sample books. We were ready to go.

The red banner had the motto, Fostering appreciation of the written word and supporting its creators, in big letters. However, having the banner draped over a table and partially obscured by piles of leaflets seemed to present some confusion for people passing by.

Some seniors saw only “the written word” and got sidetracked into the issue of teaching cursive handwriting in public schools. They lamented the loss of skills and a younger generation becoming ill equipped to handle anything but keyboarding.

Some seniors said they only read books—never wrote them.

Some even commented on the fact that they couldn’t read very well. One lady described how she had to read a sentence over and over before she got it.

Well…guess what…I do that all the time. Have done it forever. I have a longtime friend who also admits to having to read sentences more than once. She’s one of the most creative artists I’ve ever known. I guess distraction comes with creativity. It doesn’t mean you give up trying to read…or write.

For the great majority of passersby, we were a mild curiosity. The real pleasure came when we established a connection to someone interested in writing down family history or handing veterans info on a workshop tailored for their needs.

The MWC’s workshops and programs have fostered my appreciation of the written word by exposing me to the work of a wide range of writers and poets. It has supplied me with writing tools and direction. It provided the all important opportunity for feedback.

I did my best to spread the good word.

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