By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Estimates place the Sandpoint Monday Writers’ origins sometime in the 1990’s, and at the hands of founding member Karen Seashore. The group has seen several iterations over the years, both in membership and locale, but the intent remains the same: to offer a set time each week for women to write.
Upon closer inspection, that intent has led to so much more.
On one recent Monday, four of the group’s members — Robens Napolitan, Desiree Aguirre, Sandra Rasor and Nishelle Gonzales — gathered in their customary meeting place. There were cut-out newspaper headlines on the shared table to serve as prompts (one of the group’s weekly traditions, facilitated by Napolitan) and a clear sense of shared purpose in the way the women talked about their work and reasons for attending. Craftsmanship and friendship exist hand-in-hand when it comes to the Sandpoint Monday Writers.
“We’ve been through a lot of physical illnesses, we’ve been through emotional things — all kinds of stuff,” Napolitan said. “It’s a women’s support group that writes.”
With the exception of Gonzales — the group’s newest member — the rest of the writers in attendance that particular Monday had just wrapped up the final touches on a book made up of their collected works. They anticipated that their own hard copies of the book, titled Sandpointed, would arrive sometime in the next day, and they were right. Sandpointed is now available for purchase at Foster’s Crossing, Monarch Mountain Coffee and Sand Creek Quilting.
The book, published by local Turtle Moon Publishing, came to be at the prompting of group member Jackie Henrion, who also has work featured in the collection along with Sandy Lamson and Rhoda Sanford. The six writers’ combined efforts have created a book which captures the unique voices of North Idaho women.
Henrion called the end result a “funny and shocking” collection.
“Just like life, we nod and honor the deepest stuff and then laugh together to heal,” she said, adding that she hopes Sandpointed may play some part in inspiring other local women to start similar groups.
Rasor said she appreciates the “acceptance and encouragement” she has experienced as a part of the Sandpoint Monday Writers.
“I remember joining, and they asked me to say who I was and I was reluctant to say, ‘I’m a poet,’” she said. “Robens said to me, ‘You write poetry?’ and I said yes, so she said, ‘You’re a poet.’ She helped me say, ‘Hey, yeah — I am a poet.’”
As much as Mondays are a time for the group to share inspiration and get words on the page, the weekly meetings are also a sort of salve for each of the women’s souls.
“We laugh more here on Mondays than we do all week,” Napolitan said.
“But we also cry,” Aguirre added.
Sandpointed provides a glimpse into the challenges and joys that local women share, and the group hopes these published works will resonate with readers. The book marks not a culmination, but rather, a new chapter for the Sandpoint Monday Writers, who will no doubt continue their weekly cycle of composing, communing and caring for one another.
“It adds sparkle to our days to remember and look forward to our Mondays together,” Henrion said.
Find copies of Sandpointed for sale at Foster’s Crossing, Monarch Mountain Coffee and Sand Creek Quilting. Also find the book on Amazon. Those with questions about Sandpointed or the Sandpoint Monday Writers can contact Robens Napolitan at [email protected].
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