|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Laying down the LAW
By Caitlin Murphy
Variety is the spice of... literature?
London and Area Writers is a non-profit group of aspiring, veteran and even published writers who meet monthly to discuss writing, enjoy guest speakers and exchange information. The group serves as a forum for writers of all backgrounds, ages, experience and skills to share the struggles and joys of their discipline.
Members have ranged from a nun to an atheist, sci-fi enthusiasts to romance writers, fantasy fans to horror hounds and LAW encourages this diversity. The recent anthology thus reflects this vast range of voices in writings of all different themes, styles, textures and tones.
Christianne Stephens, VP of LAW, is a second-year anthropology student at Western and has been involved in the group since its inception in 1995. She is a contributor to the anthology and has won several awards for her poetry.
Although the group's membership is varied and diverse, ranging in age from 19 to 89, Stephens describes LAW as providing a "sense of family, [and] an aura of support" for all members. She goes on to call an average meeting "a camp fire-like get together with very little formality and a lot of friendliness."
Members get the opportunity to learn about several aspects of their trade including issues of copyright, how to set up a manuscript and the etiquette of mailing to editors. There's also the "feeling that the older published members become mentors."
"Writing [is] an isolated form of art, you need to step back and discuss things that you go through," Stephens explains. "The greatest accomplishment of our group is the very fact it provides the London community with a precious view to the wealth of local talent that has contributed to making LAW such a uniquely successful meeting place of writers and artists alike."
In addition to their meetings, the group also has monthly raffles and hold their own prose and poetry contests. The group's future endeavors include starting up their own web site this year and planning a special project for the year 2000 to release a scrapbook of non-fictional writings commemorating the history of London.
Fine Lines II, the group's second self-published anthology was released at a book launch on Sept. 24 at the Masonville Library and should be available within the next month at Western's BookStore as well as the three locations of Wendell Holmes Books (where LAW's '97 anthology is still available). Variety is the spice of London's literature.