Tinley Park resident Sheryl Thompson never considered herself a writer, but her fascination with the “Little House on the Prairie” book series has led her to probe deeper into her love for reading.
“It’s just broadened my knowledge of what it takes to be a writer, and it’s way more than even the writing for me,” she said.
Thompson was one of 50 people participating in the Writing Adult Nonfiction Workshop held on Saturday, Jan. 14 at Tinley Park Public Library. The program—which was designed to draw in locals for a block session of lecture, questions and lunch—served as a kickoff for the library’s new writer’s group, The Write Life.
“One of the reasons that I’m here is because the library system is offering a workshop that I normally wouldn’t be able to be a part of,” Thompson said. “So, to be able to be under the tutelage of someone whose written and published books of different genres is a good experience.”
Thompson—a self-described “big fan” of reading literature—currently homeschools her children and is always looking for different ways to share her enthusiasm, help them engage and find enjoyment in books.
“I’m seeing if [writing] would be an interest to pursue and make me more aware of why I like what I read,” she said.
Chicago author and writing teacher Barbara Gregorich facilitated the workshop. She said the program’s ability to draw in people is clear.
“I think there’s a great demand for it,” she said. “The world runs on nonfiction and information on the internet and everywhere else. Our lives are nonfiction.”
Gregorich explained people hold different personal experiences and interests, and they have a tendency to want to share their stories with others.
That’s the reason Larry Gigler dropped in. “I think a book about the backroom tales of the headhunting firm in Chicago is what I’d like to expose,” he said.
Gigler, who shared that he has been working as a headhunter for the past 35 years, said he said he had a tough time trying to get started with his story, but that was no longer the case after attending the workshop, especially since the tips that he received were helpful.
“[Gregorich is] very, very knowledgeable,” he said. “She’s not just a teacher; she’s a writer. She’s got books on the market. She knows what she’s doing.”
Gerri Magnuson, too, shared Gigler’s sentiments.
“My cousin and I are interested in publishing I guess it would be considered a memoir,” she said. “We have 85 letters that her father wrote during World War II when he was stationed in the Philippines. We’ve gone through and transcribed the letters from his handwriting onto computer… Now we’re interested in figuring out the best way to compile it into chapters.”
Magnuson said she and her cousin will decide later on how to get their work published.
“We’d certainly love to,” she said of the possibility. “That’s our dream.”
Meetings for The Write Life is to take place on the last Monday of every month. The next session is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the library.