The Enid Writers’ Club is the oldest writing club in Oklahoma. Established in 1923 by Phillips University professor Roy J. Wolfinger, he also served as their first president. It is 92 years old. I find great comfort in its age and wisdom. I called this blog, like all the rest this year, a new beginning. And this soon-to-be centenarian club is a new beginning for many writers, me included.
I’ve been a member for about five years now – give or take a few. I really can’t remember what year I began. I do remember walking in with trepidation the first evening I met with them into a room full of strangers I had no idea would become family. They welcomed me with open arms – like they do all who enter their hallowed halls. When I was told it was customary that you read an original piece for membership, I froze. No more than three pages, I was told – piece of cake. No judgment, they were just interested in the genre you had chosen and how you wrote. I pulled out a piece from my first children’s book and read the first three pages – too fast I know, because that is how I react when I get nervous. When I finished they clapped and one member said “wow.” I was hooked. These kind, generous, people with no other agenda than the promotion of great literature thought I could write. I was to find out that I had a lot to learn, and they had a lot to teach me. And they did it with style and grace.
I have never missed a meeting since. I always attend and bring my “roll call piece.” Each month you are given a maximum of 150 words to write a story about the subject for that evening. There is a traveling trophy. It is an honor to receive that trophy. It is also an honor to participate and hopefully win their annual contests. Outside the club, the members have begun to have critique sessions in addition to the regular meetings. I have learned even more from these sessions.
They are affiliated with the state club, Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. that provides a conference every year in May and a state-wide contest that has grown to include may other states besides Oklahoma. Winning at this conference is indeed an honor.
The group is planning an original reading and book signing at Hastings Saturday the 13th of June from 3-5 pm. Come out and meet these fantastic writers.
I hope to see the club turn 100 years old. Maybe I’ll live another eight years. I’ll put that on my bucket list. We need to start planning a big celebration. Not many relationships last that long.
Thank you, Enid Writers’ Club, for including me in your family.