Fifth Monday Archives


  • December 8, 2014, Salida. Ron Slaughter, writer and photographer, displayed intriguing photographs and played provocative guitar pieces to stimulate our flow of ideas.
  • November 17, 2014, Buena Vista. Brian McCabe, editor and reporter for the Mountain Mail, asked us to create distinctive characters in our writing using advice from Orson Scott Card's book, Elements of Fiction: Characters and Viewpoint.
  • October 20, 2014, Salida. Paul Goetz, editor of The Mountan Mail, led us in exercises for nature writing.
  • August 25, 2014, Buena Vista. Carrie Unkelbach asked us to list alphabetically what we "sensed" in August and encouraged us to write for 15 minutes on past and current Augusts.
  • July 28, 2014, Leadville. Annie Livingston-Garret helped writers open up their creativity and vanquish writers's block by using the "power of the other hand."
  • May 12, 2014, Salida. Jane Provorse conducted "fairly easy" exercises that got everyone's pen moving freely.
  • April 14, 2014, Buena Vista. Audrey Smith encouraged us to imagine plot twists and the conclusion for either one of two published books. Participants rose to the occasion, creating dialogue and characters from rural Scotland.
  • March 3, 2014, Salida. Joan Hannie helped us explore the richness of our five senses as we took turns decribing each and then writing a final story or essay incorporating those senses. She based the exercises a book by Sol Stein: Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers Our Century Shares His Craft, Techniques and Strategies.
  • January 27, 2014, Buena Vista. Nancy Walters introduced us to a pattern for developing stories: Separation - Inititation - Return, based on Joseph Campbell's book, Hero with a Thousand Faces. An outline of the story stucture is available at


  • December 9, 2013, Buena Vista. Stephanie Frykholm had us do exercises to discover the space within our reach and what we felt all around us. We also learned how to draw and walk a maze that would help us figure out next steps.
  • October 28, 2013, Salida. Carolyn Barnett asked us to imagine future travels by describing the destinations in sensual detail and listing what we would take with us in a carry-on bag impossibly small and antiquated.
  • September 23, 2013, Buena Vista. Marge Dorfmeister led us down memory lane with prompts for "music, light, and action." Exercises involved weaving opposite concepts and building on famous one-liners from musicals and movies.
  • August 19, 2013, Salida. Jane Provorse, using the topic "Letters of Life," talked about the dying art of letter writing and then had us write imaginary letters asking for money in a dire situation, thanking someone for an unwanted gift, and addressing ourselves in the past and future.
  • July 8, 2013, Leadville. Kate Bell discussed the "Common Threads" of powerful writing: Image, Rhythm, Voice, Implication, and Meaning; and encouraged us to use them as we wrote in response to her prompts.
  • May 15, 2013, Salida, Barbara Munyon led us on the path of action and reflection, asking us to explain how "writing is in our heart" and "writing is our struggle," and then helping us practice the habit of writing.
  • April 1, 2013, Salida, Barbara Ford had us bring examples of humor writing and encouraged us to write our own humorous piece based on prompts such as "the worst gift I ever received and what I did about it."
  • March 4, 2013, Buena Vista, Pat Clark led us in an entertaining session on "Picture This!"


  • December 3, 2012, Salida, former hospital building, "Show Don't Tell." Tom Rampton demonstrated what this popular advice to writers really means and entertained us with other quirks of langage.
  • October 29, 2012, Buena Vista Public Library, "Open the Gate." Marcy Adams directed our writing based on the theme of opening gates, taken from her newly published workbook.
  • September 24, 2012, Touber Building, Salida, "Swimming in Your Imagination." Debby Cason led the group in a series of writings based on incidents from her newly published book, Swimming with Glory.
  • July 16, 2012, Lake County Public Library, "Writing a Short Non-Fiction Story, with Publishing Possibilities." Laurel McHargue shared her experiences in teaching writing and becoming a published author through a publishing syndicate. We brainstormed for several writing exercises on childhood memories.
  • June 11, 2012, Buena Vista Public Library, "Revisiting Natalie Goldberg." Ann Cogswell had us laughing a lot as we wrote and read our way through lively, Goldberg inspired, pieces.
  • May 14, 2012, Vineyard Church, Salida, "A Surprise Topic." Lisa Marvel told us two unrelated stories, one about a young child who saw her working in her garden and asked if she were "old"--this when Lisa was only 40! And she talked about a visiting cousin who discussed his coming out as gay. Then Lisa asked us to write for 30 minutes, combining the two themes of her stories--however we wanted.
  • April 2, 2012, Buena Vista Public Library. "Landscapes." Stephanie Frykholm had us list words applying to landscapes and then use them to describe natural landscapes, our personal physical landscape, and the landscape of a relationship. As we listened to each other read in our group landscape, we echoed words we heard.
  • February 27, 2012, Vineyard Church, Salida. "Every House Has a Story." Using word prompts, photographs, and music, KM Joffe invited us to make up stories about houses and their occupants.
  • January 16, 2012, Sangre de Cristo Community Room. "New Beginnings." Cary Unkelbach and Joan Freeman challenged us to write about positive and negative approaches to the New Year.


  • December 5, 2011, Salida Cafe."Opening Pandora's Armoire in the Dark to Find Your Private Vein of Gold." Barbara Ford asked us to list all the places we lived, visited and worked and all the foods we love. Using these lists to stir up memories, Barbara prompted us to write a movie script, describe the worst job we'd ever had, pursue the consequneces of breaking a bad habit, and enter a forgotten time.
  • October 31, 2011, Buena Vista Library. "Shades of Halloween: The Telltale Art." Maria Weber warmed us up with Horrorscopes then chilled us down with themes from Edgar Allen Poe and his archaic lexicon. She also used items from her Halloween collection as prompts.
  • September 26, 2011, Salida Cafe. "Heading out from Home." Doann Houghton-Alico asked us to define what travel means and then had us writing about the next place we'd like to go, a place we've been to and its impact on us, and a place we are reluctant or fearful about going to.
  • August 29, 2011, Buena Vista Library. "Inspired by Nature." Pat Clark and Nancy Walters led us through exercises in writing about nature, including a field trip to note our observations at MePhelemy Park and Cottonwood Creek.
  • July 25, 2011, Salida Cafe. "Body Parts." Jessica Saunders teased us with a quiz on identifying body parts found in nursery rhymes, maxims, and cliches. She then gave us prompts for writing in which we could include any of 600 appropriate body parts.
  • June 27, 2011, Buena Vista Library. "Writing Books for Children." Kathy Keidel discussed different types of children's books and how writing for this market is challenging yet rewarding. She led writing activities to explore the genre.
  • May 23, 2011, Salida Cafe. "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Marcy Adams had us working with visual prompts, circling from one image to another, with several short writes culminating in one long one.
  • April 25, 2011, Buena Vista Library. "The Seasons of Comedy, Tragedy, and Romance." Maria Weber and Audrey Smith led us in writing short pieces in each of these genres.
  • March 21, 2011, Salida Cafe. "It's a Surprise!" John Skinner planned to lead with with a creative agenda. We improvised.
  • January 24, 2011, Salida Cafe. "Who's Reading and Why?" Nancy Walters presented techniques borrowed from marketing to help us imagine and define our readers and characters.


  • December 6, 2010, Buena Vista Public Library. Jane Provorse and
    Cary Unkelbach led exercises on Holiday Perspectives and encouraged us to share favorite holiday recipes.
  • October 25, 2010, Salida Historic Museum. After a tour of the museum, John Skinner presented a list of topics to guide our writing about exhibits that interested us.
  • September 27, 2010, Buena Vista Public Library. Maria Weber led "Writing Your Journey" with guided exercises from the workbook portion of her book, I'll Be There to Write the Story: A Mother-Daughter Journey Beyond Death.
  • August 23, 2010, Buena Vista Public Library. Barbara Ford led "Taking the Shortcut to Lookout Point in a Borrowed Vehicle."
  • July 19, 2010, Salida Cafe, 300 W. Sackett Avenue. Jane Provorse and Lori Hardin led "Armchair Adventures."
  • June 7, 2010, Buena Vista Public Library. Amy Frykholm led "Empathy, Imagination and Research: Writing Living History," based on Amy's experience writing her newly published book, Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography.
  • May 3, 2010, at Pat Clark's home. Nancy Walters led "Developing a Sense of Place in Fiction and Non-fiction."
  • March 29, 2010, at Salida Cafe.

Amy Frykholm leads 5th Monday

Right: WE members Pat Clark and
Nancy Walters lead Fifth Monday
exercises on nature writing.

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