First Draft Writers’ Series Brings Authors to Life

The Pendleton Center for the Arts has a winner on its hands with its First Draft Writers’ Series. Every third Thursday at 7pm, published and aspiring authors and poets from all over the region come together to share their work. Some read from their books, others
from printed or handwritten manuscripts, and some from the screens of their smart
phones.
They share more than just what they’ve written. They share the life stories that caused
them to write, the people who inspired them, and their personal experience of writing.
Arts Center Director, Roberta Lavadour reflects on the series, now in its fourth year.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to attract some of the best writers in the northwest.
Great headliners bring in the crowds, but our local writers have become the heart and
soul of the series.”
Lavadour cites a top flight local committee as being the secret to the success of First Draft. Steve Chrisman, Bette Husted, and Lynn Robertson are among the original and
still active organizers. Chrisman, a native of New Jersey, emcees the meetings and is
never at a loss for a wry remark or humorous anecdote. His own publication, The
Unnatural Aging of Cheese, is filled with hilarious accounts of his own youth. “’Misspent
youth’ would be more like it” says Chrisman. “I’m eternally grateful for my extended family. There are enough whacky stories there for a dozen books.”
In addition to featured readings by published authors, one of the most popular segments of a First Draft meeting is “open mic.” Lavadour explains “Anyone can sign in to read, even if they’ve never read or written before. There’s no review, no critique. After the meeting they can get feedback from anyone they like, but this is a really safe learning
experience for writers who aspire to have the world hear their voice.”
The First Draft Writers’ Series receives generous support from the Kinsman Foundation, the Oregon Cultural Trust, and local sponsors. The event is always free and open to the general public. For more information visit pendletonarts.org or facebook/firstdraftwritersseries.