Chapter Four Makes a Difference

Ellen Wilson | Sep 04, 2014


                Sometimes things turn out differently than we plan them.  This was the case with one of our Chapter Four members who often could be heard saying, “You all have no idea what Chapter Four has meant to me.”  So, this week, I sat down with Pat Good to find out exactly what she was talking about.

                For starters, Pat never intended Chapter Four to consume her first and third Monday every month.  She only came so her daughter, Sherry, a songwriter would come.  Well, as it turns out Sherry lives in Falls Church and the hike to Herndon twice a month in rush hour traffic was a bit much.  But, by the time that happened (just two meetings), Pat was already hooked. 

                When I asked Pat what hooked her, she answered “many things, but probably the most important was I realized you didn’t have to know how to write to participate in the group.”  She’s exactly right.  The members in our group have varying interests in writing and varying levels of expertise.  Only two of us was a published author when the group was formed, Linda Soller a published poet and blogger and I with a Washington Post article and various articles in professional magazines. Now, we have two books published as a group and one of our members, Sean Roberds has published his own book.

                Pat went on to say, “To participate in the group, all you need is paper and pencil.”  Again, she hit the nail on the head.  There are no homework assignments.  There are no critical assessments of anyone’s writing.  We’re just here to support and encourage each other.  As Pat pointed out to me, “No one pushes anyone.  If you have anything on your mind the group will help you get it on paper.”

                My eyebrows raised a bit when Pat told me, “Chapter Four far exceeded my wildest dream.”  Sure, we’re having fun and we’re all excited about publishing our books, but exceeded her widest dream – Really?  Pat recently went through a long illness with her brother and his passing away.  She shared with me that during that time she found it a pleasure to come to Chapter Four meetings and get things off her mind.  It was also during this time she first learned to write haikus.  One haiku in particular was in honor of her brother:

I watch from a port

A ship carries life away

God is at the wheel


                Chapter Four also gave Pat an opportunity to bond with her granddaughter  Kallen in a different way.  It was just one meeting they shared, but Pat knows it will be something they both remember. When I was interviewing Pat, I didn’t realize it, but Chapter Four has been a family affair for her.

                 As Pat and I wrapped up, I asked her what would be the one thing you would tell people to get them to come to Chapter Four. Her answer, “There is no competition in our group, only kind and caring encouragement. This means a lot to me and may mean a lot to you too.”    

                Again, she’s right – just give us a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

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