by Kris Parfitt
– The Capitol Hill Times –
“We are a self-critical bunch, but oft times we know when we have written something good,” said Brian McGuigan, program director for the Richard Hugo House. McGuigan is a poet, performer and blogger who fears no genre. “I do less now because I have a child, but that evening of Write-O-Rama, I was so inspired, [I] typed up what I wrote after the little guy went to sleep.
The Richard Hugo Houses tri-annual fund raiser, Write-O-Rama, exists to not only raise money for Hugo House, but to provide an opportunity for writers of all skill levels to experience the different classes, genres and teachers that the house offers while also providing a day to write and read their work.
The inspiration of Write-O-Rama not only struck McGuigan, but many of the 100 participants during last Saturday’s event. “This was exactly what I needed,” expressed Leigh Kopicki, Capitol Hill resident who grew up in a newspaper family.
Cathy Tollefson, Associate Editor of the alumni newsletter at the University of Puget Sound, expressed afterwards that it “was an energizing day—lots of zeal all around!”
“The importance of the work the Hugo House does is to help the writers who come here tell their stories,” McGuigan said. “It is a valuable thing for writers to have these opportunities and that is one of the main reasons the Hugo House exists.”
The Hugo House surpassed its fund raising goal this past weekend by $2,000, bringing in $5,361. “WOW. Plus, it seems like everyone got some great writing done. Wins all around,” announced Development Director Rebecca Brinson.
The original fundraiser, called the Read-a-Thon, brought writers together to read their work, or another writer’s work, for a 24-hour period. However, the Hugo House staff found that having an event where participants could write and try out the Hugo House’s workshops would probably raise more money and awareness.
The named was changed in 2007 as registration in workshops grew and awareness raised. The staff has found that over two-thirds of the Write-O-Rama attendees register for a future workshop. This is beneficial to this small non-profit.
Write-O-Rama is offered three times a year with winter being its highest attendance. “Winter is a good time to write. It’s harder to get people to come indoors and write during the summer,” McGuigan said when asked about the fund raining attendance throughout the year. “We don’t offer a lot of classes in December, so this is a great time for people to come learn, or finish those unfinished resolutions to write more before the year is out.”