Find solidarity in local writers


Dimitri Silva

Tuesday evenings at Common Grounds are for the writers. Tucked away in a back room at the quaint cafe, the Lexington Prose Group members share stories of enchanted lands and local adventures. The writing varies greatly in genre, but the criticism is both constructive and helpful. 

Members have been coming to share prose, receive feedback and listen to their peers since the group was started in 2007. Current facilitator Hayley Arens said the notable author, Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, began the group in the hopes of building the writer community in Lexington. “Because writing is such a solitary craft, it’s good to have a community to fall back on,” Arens said.

Writers are given 15-minute windows to read their pieces aloud, followed by a group discussion and feedback. The time frame is not set in stone, with some members sharing longer prose than others, but all who share are given individual attention and advice. If you choose to read, it is suggested that you bring eight to 10 printed copies of your work to hand out to the group. While you are reading, members will write feedback on your printouts before returning them.

In an effort to keep things civil, the group provides all members with a “guidelines” page upon arrival. These guidelines include being honest and kind when giving feedback and respecting other members’ work. Several other suggestions, including how to critique constructively, are also listed on the page. At the bottom of the page is a set of helpful editing resources for writers.

“Writing is something that you don’t find, it finds you,” Arens said. “You start writing all this stuff and one day you wake up and realize, ‘I’m a writer.’” 

Political science junior Paul Sime said he would, “definitely go again,” after attending his first meeting on Tuesday. Sime stressed the importance of finding solidarity in writing and receiving constructive criticism on his work. 

“The most memorable thing is the feeling of being part of a community and having people support you and give you advice on your writing,” he said.

Whether they fancy themselves good writers or not, the Lexington Prose Group provides a friendly environment for people to share their work or simply listen to that of others. 

Rain or shine, the Lexington Prose Group meets every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. to share coffee, croissants and creative writing.

Dimitri Silva is a journalism senior.

Email [email protected]