Voices of Wisdom Writing Classes for Seniors 55-plus

Voices of Wisdom: Preserving the Stories of Our Elders is a free writing class series for Calaveras County seniors, 55-plus, at four designated senior facilities in Calaveras County beginning in August 2017 and continuing through March 2018. With a generous grant from the Calaveras Community Foundation to help support the nine-month-long series of classes, and then the culminating publications, both print and eBook in April, this worthy project aims to assist seniors in recording their stories in written form and polishing them for publication if they would like the story in the public eye.

Highly-qualified writing coaches and teachers will each facilitate four writing sessions in a month, one per week, for two hours each session. Then coaches help participants shape their writing for a culminating publication for April 2018 release to the public. There will be a celebratory reading at a designated facility in April where writing seniors will share their published and unpublished works.

Space is limited to 16 participants in each of the 4-week-long courses per month. Reserve your spot by contacting MWP and letting them know which location and workshop they would like to attend. Email: manzanitawp@gmail.com or call: (209) 728-6171.

Open to Calaveras residents. If a class is full, there is a waiting list and the participant can opt to attend at another location’s month-long session. A multi-sensory approach to unlock memories, coupled with other techniques the teachers have utilized in their experience, will assist the writer in retrieving details that may have been lost or buried. Watch for the upcoming schedule posted here next week. The first class begins Tuesday, August 8, at Oak Shadows Mobile Home Park Community clubhouse, from 9 AM to 11:00.

Writers will be asked to confirm their participation in advance so that those on the waiting list can be notified in time in the event that participants are not able to be there. Some facilities offer lunch  after the session for a nominal fee, so writers may want to check ahead on that. Foothill Village, San Andreas Senior Center ($6.00), and Murphys Senior Center have lunches available for seniors. We envision writers continuing their writing conversations in small groups over lunch, if they’d like.


Tuesday, August 8- Voices of Wisdom – MWP writing instructors guide hesitant writers – Begins August 8 at Oak Shadows Mobile Home community in San Andreas –  9-11 AM

Capturing and preserving the stories of our elders – This project is made possible by a generous grant from the Calaveras Community Foundation for a  monthly series of writing workshops once a week to capture the stories of our elders and sharing memories of living in our community. There will be one or more culminating print and/or eBook publications made available for the community to enjoy and for historical importance in the archives at the end of the 9-month-long project. Participants may want to include their writing in the culminating anthology, with polished writing produced during the workshops. Manzanita Writers Press conducts these free writing workshops for seniors in the county at four locations with each month’s classes at a different location and with a different writing coach – for seniors 55+ only. The first session begins Tuesday, August 8 from 9-11 AM at Oak Shadows Adult Community recreational facility in San Andreas – The writing coach is Denella Kimura, MA in Education, writer, poet, radio program host, workshop leader with many years of experience in coaching students and writers. 

To sign up, contact manzanitawp@gmail.com or call 209-728-6171 – or contact the Senior facility to sign up directly with the coordinator there. 


August 8, 15, 22, 29 Tuesdays 9-11 AM Oak Shadows Mobile Home Community Center

September 5, 12, 19, 26 Tuesdays, 9-11 AM San Andreas Senior Center

October 4, 12, 18, 25  Wednesdays  2-4 pm at Murphys Senior Center

November 7,14,28, and December 5, Tuesdays 9-11 AM at San Andreas Senior Center

December 12, 19, 26 – Music as a stimulus for memory – 9-11 Manzanita Arts Emporium, Angels Camp

January 2, 9, 16, 23 Tuesdays 9-11 AM, at Foothill Village, Angels Camp

February 6, 13, 20, 27 Tuesdays 9-11 AM – Manzanita Arts Emporium – Final editing sessions with participants.

March – final editing and proofing and printing – MWP editors

Mid-April – Public book launch and reading – Location/date TBA

Facility contacts:

Oak Shadows: 754-4762 –  San Andreas Senior Center  754-3967  –  Murphys Senior Center 728-1672 Foothill Village  729-2269  – Manzanita Writers Press/Arts Emporium coordinator: 728-6171



Denella Kimura – AUGUST  MA in Education, writer, poet, radio program host, workshop leader with many years of experience in coaching students and writers.

Monika Rose – SEPTEMBER and JANUARY/FEBRUARY -Founding Director of Manzanita Writers Press – over 30 years an editor and writer, poet, educator. With an MA in English, she is Associate Professor of English, Adjunct, at San Joaquin Delta College and has been an English teacher for over 30 years.

Suzanne Murphy – SEPTEMBER AND JANUARY, FEBRUARY- Vice-President and Public Relations Director at Manzanita Writers Press, writer, poet, educator, teacher, affiliated with the Great Valley Writing Project.

Sally Kaplan – OCTOBER  – Co-producer and co-director of Backcountry Pictures. Screenwriter, filmmaker, documentarian, novelist, and fiction/nonfiction writer with over 30 years experience in creating narrative and story.

Rebecca Fischer – NOVEMBER/DECEMBER – Associate’s Degree in English, working on her BA in English, and an attendee at many writing workshops, currently working on a project documenting the stories of our old families — with generational records, interviews and narratives of historical ranching families in our region.

Chrys Mollett – DECEMBER – Owner of Aeolian Music  relocated at Manzanita Arts Emporium, music teacher, writer,  poet, events coordinator, and more, Chrys has worked with writers and poets for years on various projects and her work has been published in several anthologies and collections. She is working on a nonfiction book based on historical figures from our region. She facilitates and organizes the open mic for writers, musicians, and listeners at Metate’s Winetasting room in Downtown Angels Camp every Saturday at 6:30.