Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Visit to Pens and Pages Writers Guild


Do you need to crank up your muse? If you live in a city, revive your creativity and activate fresh inspiration with a field trip away from the congested city’s concrete buildings, traffic and noise. The expansive rural landscape will open you, free the clutter from your mind, and excite your senses.

On October 29, during my excursion from Amarillo to Friona, the countryside delighted me and heightened my sense of observation. In the bar ditches tiny plants wore fall colors, brightened by the sun, and sparkled with silver where fallen leaves left twigs exposed. Varicolored fields changed from brown earth speckled with stubble to crops tinted in shades of straw yellow, gold, and bronze in an ever-changing panorama.

Yesterday, a new office chair allowed longer sessions at my computer, and despite boxed Christmas decorations stacked on the sofa, I decided to mentally return to Friona, and write about The Pens and Pages Writers Guild that meets every fourth Tuesday morning at Friona’s library and on one Monday per month in members’ homes.

Pens and Pages Writers Guild had asked me to present the program, Critique Acumen. Considering what a challenge it is to draw members to meetings in Amarillo, the demographics of this group surprised me. Members drove to Friona from their homes in or near the towns of Bovina, Farwell, and Hereford, as well as the community of Rhea. You can learn more about the area and its history at and

I always enjoy learning how a group conducts their meetings, and it’s a special treat to meet members face to face. For their evening meetings, Pens and Pages starts in the kitchen where everyone contributes to a feast of finger foods, including Amanda Embry’s home-made bread. Find bread recipes on her blog, as well as thoughtful articles. Read while it’s free. Her unique concept paired with outstanding writing will surely catch a publisher’s attention.

At the meeting, chatter stops and work begins on time. Unlike city folks, certain members have a long drive home. Diane Mowery’s drive to Rhea is 20 miles from Friona; Clovis is 30, and Hereford 35. Pens and Pages stick to their purpose—writing, and does not let their meeting degenerate into an evening social. 

I noticed how members encouraged one another, yet were not shy about offering suggestions—always stated with diplomatic professionalism.

As a program presenter, I scan the audience for reactions, but never know how effective my suggestions are. Since this group was small and informal, the presentation was interactive—much more fun for me than standing behind a podium. I hope they absorbed points, but also enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

There’s ample room in the Friona library for guests at 10 AM on fourth Tuesdays. Visit the library’s website for its address and phone number. Remember to “Like” it. I know you’ll like the enthusiastic people you’ll meet there, and the drive to Friona will energize your muse.

(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson


  1. I think we all definitely learned something from your presentation. And better than that, I think it helped motivate us to start doing more critiquing, as a group.

    Thank you for your kind words about my writing and my blog!

  2. Thank you, Bernice, for the nice reflection our your time with us! We enjoy having guest programs at our meetings for a fresh perspective on the writing life. You certainly infused our muse.


  3. Thank You. I had a grand time that day. Evidently KittyCat, who was left home alone, (poor thing :)) didn't. -- Bernice