Writers group starts new chapter

Recently, the Abbeville Branch of the Vermilion Parish Library hosted the first meeting of the Abbeville Writers and Poets Group.

It began at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room B. The room was almost immediately charged with excitement as Francis Meyrick introduced himself and launched immediately into what he has in mind.

“It was an informal ‘shoot the breeze’ session,” he noted.

At least one participant agreed.

“Perhaps some very intense, organic, real things could happen,” said Brooke Broussard. “Francis is a fascinating fellow, who has much to tell.”

Meyrick is not an ordinary man.

How many men do you know who were born in Dublin, Ireland, and now work “just up the road from Abbeville, flying whirly birds”? He works for PHI, a large helicopter company that serves the Gulf energy basin. Add to this a gift he has and the use he wants to make of it.

He is a writer and believes passionately that first, the world desperately needs more writers and poets.

“If we don’t find some,” he said prophetically, “We face a huge calamity.”

Second, he said he knows how to make it happen.

“Writers and Poets need a supportive space to write and to offer constructive criticism,” he wrote in his Web site. He found the idea of “making a regular home in the Abbeville library, combined with a permanent home in cyberspace” an interesting possibility.

He was untroubled by the sparsity in attendance.

“About 10 intrepid souls turned up,” by Francis’ estimate.

After introductions, he launched into a kaleidoscope of planned activities, starting with his philosophy for developing the writers and poets that the world needs so badly. He stressed that writing, besides being “time consuming and often lonely” needs the supportive company of other writers in a relaxed, informal atmosphere where all can “relax … and do their own thing.”

Too many rules and harsh criticism are hurtful. The genre isn’t as important as the expression; all writers and poets are treated with sympathy. “Let’s just keep it friendly, relaxed, fun and kindly,” Francis said. He himself had been basically seeking, “a creative haven, where I could enjoy the company of like-minded people.”

He found one by building his own. Meyrick introduced his Writers Harbor Web site, and wants everyone to become active on line by posting their own work and commenting on the work already posted there. His philosophy is simple: “I feel we should write and create in a tranquil place, with humor and compassion. Oh, let there be debate, let there be differing views. But let us avoid bitterness, and cynicism, and the caustic rubbishing reviews I have seen on other writing sites...”

This in spite of some of his earlier experiences, his “naive dreams of a kinder, … trusting cyberspace”, where he “roam(ed) the cyber jungle, dodging angry bullets and scathing arrows.” Much of his own work is already on line, waiting for perusal and comments. And what a variety there is. Francis prefers impressionism, because “Life is a blaze of confusion, bright colors alternating with dark shadows in rapid succession,” The meeting itself seemed to bear witness to that orientation.

Eventually, Meyrick hopes to meet regularly once or twice a month, and expects the number of participants to grow. Meetings are tentatively set for the last Monday of the month, the same time and the same place as the first. The next meeting will be April 27th. Watch for more details as the date approaches. Come and bring someone.

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