Lia VanWassenaar, Marie Rickwood, Mary Lou Nordstrom and Eleanor Langer (clockwise from top left) are collaborating on a chain letter story (Photos supplied)

Nanaimo writers unable to meet in-person compose story via chain letter

Author Marie Rickwood started project with friends from Probus Club memoir writing group

Four Nanaimo writers are collaborating on a story, and since they can’t meet in-person their story is in the form of a chain letter.

Author Marie Rickwood wrote the opening paragraph not long after people were advised to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus. She’s currently at work on her fourth novel and wanted to share the joy of writing by prompting her friends to join in.

“I thought, ‘If I enjoy this, others would too,’ and oh, yes they do,” Rickwood said. “Because, you know what? You’re in the house. They have nothing much to do now. They can think about it and they can write it and then look forward to it coming back to them again. So I think it’s a good thing at this time.”

Rickwood opens the story by introducing twin sisters who have just graduated from high school. If they earn their university degrees they inherit their wealthy aunt’s fortune. But they have other plans: They want to see the world.

Rickwood passed her paragraph on to her collaborators Eleanor Langer, Lia VanWassenaar and Mary Lou Nordstrom who have each been taking turns adding to the story. All four are members of the Probus Club of Lantzville memoir writing group.

“I was thinking, ‘Everybody’s got a different train of thought when it comes to writing, but wouldn’t it be fun to grab those different thoughts and put them down and give somebody the power to change the story when it came to them?’” Rickwood said.

The untitled story is now in its second chapter, with the young women hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and “there are a couple of young Peruvian men involved.”

“I think it’s coming along good,” Rickwood said of the story. “I just had an e-mail from one of the writers and she said, ‘Marie, let’s spice it up. We don’t want it to be a travelogue.’ So this is what’s going to happen now. We’re going to spice it up.”

Rickwood said if it turns into a good story she’d like to have it edited and made into a book. She hopes other Probus Club members will join in and participate in the project as well.

“If somebody in their heart of hearts wants to do some writing and they don’t have the courage I think this would help them to do that to get started on it,” she said.

Those interested in taking part in the chain letter story can contact Marie Rickwood at marierickwood@shaw.ca.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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