In Our Own Voice: Celebrating Arts for A Lifetime

Members of the Arts for A Lifetime Poetry and Creative Writing Workshop, Baychester Library. Facilitator, poet and author Lorraine Currelley 2015
Members of the Arts for A Lifetime Poetry and Creative Writing Workshop, Baychester Library. Facilitator, poet and author Lorraine Currelley (purple scarf) ( The late Rose W. Gootzeit seated far right wearing black sweater)

My Arts for A Lifetime Poetry and Creative Writing workshops ended on April 29th, 2015. I spent eight weeks writing with an amazing group of writers ages fifty five and above. Workshop members produced an wonderful body of work, they can all be proud of. Ours was an eight week intensive, where we studied poetry, prose, and memoir. Workshop members were given assignments in workshop and for homework. Each returning eager to share their work. It was challenging, however everyone amazed themselves and can now identify and speak of various poetry and narrative forms with knowing and confidence.

Library manager, Leslie Brown welcomes guests.
Library manager, Leslie Brown welcomes guests.

Our workshop’s end was celebrated with a wonderful culminating event. Workshop members were the featured readers and invited guests. All work read were original poems and prose created in our workshop. In addition, we published a literary journal of poetry and prose, In Our Own Voice. Our special guest was author and poet Edward D. Currelley.

Speal Guest Speaker poet and author Edward D. Currelley
Special guest speaker poet and author Edward D. Currelley

Sadly, our experience was bittersweet. Our friend and co-workshop member Rose W. Gootzeit died suddenly of a stroke after completing the sixth week of our workshops. She will be remembered as a lovely person with a thirst and excitement for life. She loved writing and was a wonderful visual artist as well. Our last memory of Rose was her participation in workshop, and sitting for our group photo. We happy she was able to submit her poems for inclusion in our poetry and prose literary journal, In Our Own Voice. Our event and our journal was dedicated to Rose. I’m reflecting on the suddeness of Rose’s death. Rose’s death was an unsettling reminder for us all. Our days are not promised. We must embrace life and each moment we live with a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude, taking nothing for granted. Celebrating life and those we love.

I often hear Lorraine you have so much energy. How do you do it? I have no magic formular or secret. I’m living my life as I always have. I’m engaged in activities I enjoy and living in the now. One of my mottos is “If not now, when?” I try not to put off things I can do today. I set goals for myself, try my best to complete them and never wait for life to happen. Precious time is wasted by those complaining about everything and nothing. Individuals taking life, and their blessings for granted. Individuals with no physical, emotional, social, financial nor psychological limitations. We should all be in a constant state of growth, healing if needed and constructing new narratives for our lives. Living life with expectation! You’re mistaken if you think I have it all together, because I don’t! I’m taking each day step by step. it’s a life long process. I’m taking notes and learning constantly about the importance of selfcare. The importance of not caring for yourself last after everyone has been cared for. I’ve learned not to try and be on everyset, and not to try and be everything for everyone. I can’t! I do what I can, when I can. One important thing I’ve learned is not to react to the negative behaviors of others. It causes stress and gives them the power to direct your life! Live your life authentically and your best life! Culminating Event Gallery

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Workshop members and guests celebrating.
Attenees and guests celebrating
Workshop members and guests celebrating.
Workshop members and guests celebrating.

©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. ( photo credit Lorraine Currelley)

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