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Young and old, new and experienced writers participated in the Lake Superior Writers' Conference held Sept. 18 at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
With sessions on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, writers of all styles and genres found something to attend. The feedback sessions which enabled writers to read parts of their works-in-progress and receive critiques attracted both new and seasoned writers.
Dennis Herschbach, author of a combined poetry and prose book and his upcoming memoir titled "Brown Sugar Syrup and Jack Pine Sand," came to the conference in hopes of receiving an evaluation of his writing, to gain information, learn, and especially connect with other writers.
Five years ago, Herschbach's wife died of cancer. Finding an outlet and comfort in poetry, he wrote about her death. After the poem caught the attention of his grief counselor, it was published by the counselor's director. With encouragement and support, Herschbach wrote more poetry and included prose at his daughter's urging, compiling the pieces into "Grief Journey: A Walk in the Shadow of Death." Since then, Herschbach has written a memoir, multiple short stories, and is currently working on a novel.
Herschbach said he was impressed by the quality of the instruction and organization of this conference and would attend others like it. "Writing is such a tremendous outlet," he said, "for our feelings and ideas and our view of our world."
The Lake Superior Writers' Conference didn't attract only the published. Fledgling writers such as Ashley Johnholtz attended with a zeal to match that of the veterans.
Johnholtz, a senior at Superior High School, started writing in seventh grade when she found the books she was reading in class boring. She asked the teacher whether she could write her own, and she's been writing ever since. Although currently working on a fantasy-adventure novel, Johnholtz says that she likes to dabble in everything from poetry to magazine articles.
A conference rookie, Johnholtz said that it wasn't what she expecting. She was hoping there would have been more tips on writing, but that she enjoyed seeing faces attached to published works. Although a little disappointed by the session content, Johnholtz readily agreed that she'd attend another conference. "There's always something to learn," she said.
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