Special to the News-Times
CARTERET COUNTY — Carteret County is a haven for creative souls — writers, poets, artists and musicians.
In 2018, writer Jan Parker and poet Trish Sheppard put their heads together to consider solutions to the lack of open writers’ groups in the area. Most were already filled and not taking on any more participants. By January 2020, they had refined their concept, spoken with Rachel Johnson at the town of Beaufort, worked out the rental dates for the historic Train Depot, and launched The Writers’ Exchange Beaufort NC.
Jan B. Parker, free-lance journalist/novelist, sees a bright future for The Writers’ Exchange.
“There’s a writer in every family,” she says. “And we’d love to meet them all. Our organization aims to elevate a broader sense of literary community through learning, sharing, and having fun in the discipline of constructive critique.” Jan adds, “Our on-the-fly method of critique relies on a timed reading of the author’s work to others, who in turn hone their skills of listening to focus more purely on the elements of writing. Such includes being able to comment on imagery, character development, plot, dialogue, point of view, and style, rather than on editorial issues like incorrect spelling or punctuation. We welcome any genre, creative nonfiction, and any form of poetry, etc., written at any level of education or expertise. There are no fees or dues, but when we get back to normalcy and are able to meet in person, small donations will be gladly accepted to help defer rental cost of the Beaufort Train Depot.”
Trish Sheppard, artist/poet/writer, the other half of the team, agrees.
“Also, in the near future, we’re planning such events as quarterly open mic nights for poets and writers, guest lecturers, and free workshops, such as the one being planned for this time next year with Blair Publishing, an independent house in Winston-Salem, NC,” Shepard said.
In these restrictive days of Covid 19, Trish and Jan offer Zoom meetings twice monthly on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 6-9 pm. If interested, please join The Writers’ Exchange Beaufort NC on Facebook. Then, to receive your invitation to Zoom, email the organization with your request: thewritersXchange@aol.com.