Creative writing in Lancaster

Here’s a poem fragment that merits reflection on a spring Sunday. It’s Franz Wright, reflecting on his baptism

That insane asshole is dead
I drowned him
and he’s not coming back.

I’m trying to write more like him—spare and contemplative yet rich and bristling with action.

Today I met up with Susan Pogorzelski (20orsomething on Twitter) and Lynn Holmgren at Square One Coffee for our first real meeting as an admittedly small writing group. We each write in different genres and modes, and we each have somewhat different ideas of what we’d like to get out of the group, which keeps it fun, interesting, and flexible.

Writers chair by Andrew Wyeth

The simplicity and solitude of the act of writing (as captured here by Andrew Wyeth) doesn’t always lend itself to community and networks.

In my networking here in Lancaster, I’ve met relatively few creative writers. The ones I’ve met include Chet Williamson, Kelly Watson, Linda Espenshade, Timothy Rezendes, Jessica Smucker Falcon, and Garrett Faber. Just last week I had the pleasure of meeting Kerry Sherin Wright, who runs Franklin & Marshall’s Philadelphia Alumni Writers House. It’s a priority of mine to meet Betsy Hurley of the Lancaster Literary Guild. Please, tell me what Lancaster writers I haven’t met and need to. Extra points for poets. And if you’re a writer and I just don’t know it, smack me upside the head.

I’m confident that there is a respectable number of creative writers producing creative works here in Lancaster County. We seem to be the least well-networked of the artists in the area, particularly when compared to musicians and visual artists.

This afternoon, Susan offered a line from Shel Silverstein as a writing prompt: “I’m afraid I got too close.” I don’t particularly enjoy sharing early drafts, but in the spirit of sharing and openness, here is my very rough draft inspired by the prompt.

I stood on the brink
of a social life

Thursday nights
were sold-out punk shows

The rest of the week
I stayed home with my dog

I insisted on feeling
I belonged in the way
everyone else belongs

When someone from work
invites me over, I give notice
and leave the state

I take a job in a town
with punk shows
and no dog parks

My Thursday nights
keep solitude away
each time I stand surrounded
I’m afraid it gets too near

11 thoughts on “Creative writing in Lancaster”

  1. Nean says:

    Consider yourself smacked upside the head. 🙂 And extra points too for poetry!

  2. Bryan Rutt says:

    And here’s your second smack upside the head, although it’s not a strong smack — if I’d get off my behind and actually write something again, I might be a bit more likely to be on others’ radars!

    Also, here’s your second thumbs up on on the poetry. That’s a format I’ve never been able to do well, and I always enjoy reading the works of those who can.

  3. Maria V. Snyder is in E-town. So far she’s been writing mostly fantasy fiction. http://www.mariavsnyder.com/

  4. Scott Lichtenwalner says:

    I am a poet looking for a writing group. If anyone can point me in the right direction that would be great!

    1. Ra Shekinah says:

      Here’s a link to the only meetup group in CPA I know of:

      http://www.meetup.com/The-Central-PA-Writers-Workshop/

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  6. Joseph Eastwood says:

    Hi, I’m a writer in lancaster and was wondering if there are any groups, the only problem i might face is whether or not i am taken serious as i’m 16, but on the verge of being publsihed.

  7. Hello!
    My name is Jann. I am a writer and the owner of a used bookstore in New Holland, just a few minutes up the road on Route 23 from Lancaster. I wanted to spread the word about a writer’s workshop that I will be hosting at my store this fall. Many of us may have an idea for a novel, a cookbook, or a memoir of our familiy. Others are more creative, like the host of this site who is a poet. Some writers would like help fine tuning their art, while others really want to publish thier work and do not know where to start.
    This workshop is intended to answer questions from both perspectives. We will have a creative writing instructor there as well as a local book publisher. Each of them will be offering a lot of information and is putting it together in a take-home packet. The class is schedlued for Tuesday evening October 6th. 5:00 to 7:00pm.
    It will be held at my store,
    Legacy Used Books & Collectibles
    145 E. Main St.
    New Holland. PA 17557
    717-351-0740
    The cost is $25.00

    It will be limited to 15-20 slots. We still have some slots open. So, if you know anyone who might be interested in joining us, please ask them to contact me.
    We plan to leave plenty of time for personal questions, so it should be a great seminar.
    Thanks for your time.
    PS. We also have 20,000 books to paw through any time you are in the area, a fun little loft for reading or gabbing, and 15 flavors of coffees and teas. Hope to see you soon!

  8. Matthew says:

    I live just down from SquareOne on Duke. Check out my site and let me know if I am up to snuff for your group. I moved here from Harrisburg in January and haven’t found a writer’s group yet.

    Let me know, glad I stumbled across your site.

  9. Gwyn says:

    Hello, poet here! *headsmack* I even bought some of your books before you moved house!

    1. Daniel Klotz says:

      Fortunately, I can cover myself on this one. We didn’t have the booksale until a month after I wrote this post. But it does get enough traffic from Google searches that I really ought to bring it up to date, to include such interesting folks as yourself.

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