Today is the 8 year anniversary of King’s Pen writers group. To celebrate, we had a collaborative project of writing this piece of creative nonfiction about our experience with King’s Pen over the years. Enjoy.
8 years later, here we are
by Yasmeen Hudson, Kim Kouski, Paul Maitland, Amy L. Sauder, and Jennifer Esther Wieland
Riverside church was asking people to start smallgroups. Kim started King’s Pen because Jesus told her to. She always wanted a group of Christian writers. She wanted it to be a smallgroup, not a writers group. A group to talk about God.
Kim was terrified beyond belief. She didn’t think she could do it. The first meeting was at Berean bookstore on Thursday, March 3, 2011. Kim was glad that her good friend Kim Z. was there, so she mostly talked to her.
Some people helped start it, and others stayed. Some are part of the Facebook community even though they can’t attend in person. Then there were the few who would visit, but would read the writing book the whole time instead. Maybe they thought it would be creative writing class where Kim would teach. Or maybe they didn’t like us because we’re all kooky. So many people have come and gone and been a part of the process, like a quilt, leaving their mark, and that’s what makes the group what it is.
We’re the longest surviving Riverside smallgroup, and we also have the longest meeting times. Hours of hangout.
There’s something dependable about the group. Everyone’s journey mixing together, and a part of that is weaving our lives together, making the bond stronger. We get to watch people open up and bloom as we live our lives in this community. It’s fellowship: attending each other’s launch parties, graduations, anniversary parties, baby showers, and celebrations. Supporting one another in life, cheering each other in writing, and connecting as believers.
There’s freedom here too. Acceptance. We trust each other enough that we don’t have to put up our defenses. We can be ourselves. And in turn, we’re each others’ biggest fans.
We have something routine. It allows us to build writing disciplines, and it brings us back to what’s really important with devotions every week. We have finished books, published blogs, published books, and started seriously writing. We have accountability. We keep writing because we need something to read for group. If we hadn’t been here, who knows if we would have quit.
Kim has been dedicated and consistent. Even during the seasons of just 3 people attending, Kim would faithfully show up and keep it going. That’s also true to writing. You have to stick with it in the dry seasons when we wonder “Am I even making a difference?”
I think we’d be fun watching, like a wildlife show. Paul offers his steady devotions, then we get a laugh at the Kim Kouski translation of the Bible, about sheeps in trees or about snarky Jesus. We have an obsession with geekdom like comic-con and sword seminars and MST3K movie nights and renaissance faires and cosplay. Paul puts up with it all. He doesn’t run away. Kim is our fairy godmother, transforming our wardrobe with her magic spells. Jenn sings Frozen with reckless abandon with 3 year olds. We have group writing days where we don’t write a thing. We have lots of food. We throw birthday parties for everyone, which basically means we celebrate every meeting. We’re a comfy kind of kooky.
And 8 years later, here we are.
If you’re in central IL and interested in attending King’s Pen, get in touch for more info.
If you’d like me to facilitate a workshop for your church, business, smallgroup, conference, town, friend group, or family where you make your own collaborative creative nonfiction piece about your story, get in touch to discuss details and pricing.