September 12, 2003 Features & Images » Feature Story

Feature - The Vicious Circle 

The circle expands as literary life is pumped into Whistler

By Stella L. Harvey

You’ve seen the ad in the Pique for months. Week in week out it stares at you with simple words like get together and writers sharing their work . You resist with your own set of words, can’t, not good enough, too soon. You carry on alone, filling in pages, knocking in new words, developing, reworking and filing stories in double-pass-word-protected folders waiting for the time when you’ll be ready to expose yourself. The Whistler Writers Group was formed two years ago because some 45 members took a chance, fought with the timid words in their heads, picked up the phone anyway and attended a meeting to see what these writer types were doing. Even the group’s nickname, the Vicious Circle ( vicious being synonymous with words like ferocious, fierce), used facetiously and affectionately adopted, is a way for members to acknowledge and even laugh at their individual insecurities as writers.

Although not completely gone, those frightening words feeding our uncertainty as artists have been replaced with other words defined in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Group, a number of individuals assembled together or having a unifying relationship, inclusive, broad in orientation and scope covering or intended to cover all. Established and emerging writers, individuals interested in writing who have yet to tap out a word, and writing groupies alike come together to share their work, receive and give feedback, read at monthly public reading events, and provide information about writing competitions and publishing opportunities.

And the work is as varied as the artists. Works of short fiction, long fiction, creative non-fiction, are given equal time to screenplays, plays, children’s stories and poems. Even age can’t exclude you from this group. The youngest member is an aging 19-year-old, and the oldest, a youthful 50 something. Nothing but you excludes (defined as having power to limit participation) you from the Circle.

Okay, now you know there’s no reason to be afraid to make the call, but you’re still apprehensive. I know what you’re thinking; it’d sure be nice to know a little more about the people in this group before you made any commitments. People are the heart of a group, and if you can’t get along with them why bother joining. Good point. So here’s an introduction to a few of the group’s members.

Pam Barnsley started as a newspaper reporter and went on to write for magazines and television (the old Beachcombers show). She co-wrote Hiking Trails of the Sunshine Coast , published by Harbour Publishing, now in its 20th printing. She also confesses to a stint as a lying weasel: writing advertising copy. One of Pam's most recent short stories appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and she has just finished a mystery novel set in Whistler. Pam says she writes to entertain while at the same time challenging readers to see issues from a new perspective.

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