Writers’ group publishes third booklet

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The Dunn County Writers celebrated the publication of its third booklet of original writing on Monday night with a small release party and readying at the Dunn County Museum in Dunn Center. The reading was recorded by Prairie Public Radio for future broadcast.

‘Journeys: North Dakota’s Badlands & Beyond’

Ever wonder what your friends and family are thinking about as they travel through life? If your neighbor is a member of the literary nonprofit Dunn County Writers (DCW), chances are he or she is looking for something to write about.


During 2016, this group of grassroots writers held monthly workshops organized around the theme of “journey.” The result is DCW’s third annual booklet of original work, Journeys: North Dakota’s Badlands & Beyond.

The Dunn County Writers celebrated the booklet’s publication Monday with a small release party and reading. The reading was recorded by Prairie Public Radio for future broadcast. For scheduling information, visit www.prairiepublic.org. A limited number of booklets is available for sale at the High Plains Cultural Center in Killdeer.

“Our writers put pen to paper all year long to make this booklet a reality,” said DCW Executive Director Jennifer Strange. “We hope the work reflects the wonder of being awake and aware during life’s many journeys.”

Writing from the ground up

For this collection of 54 poems, reminiscences and essays, 12 writers from five towns in Dunn and Stark counties explored six ways to journey: North, South, East, West, Inner and Outer.

Julee Gartner is a rancher and lifelong resident of rural Killdeer. As an avid artist, second grade teacher and DCW board member, she devotes time to the group’s mission of building community around the cultural arts. For this year’s booklet, Gartner wrote three pieces, including a meditation called “Brave Souls,” about early European-Americans who settled on North Dakota’s high plains.

Gartner appreciates the nudge she gets from her fellow writers and the direction provided during each month’s craft talk and Guided Writing Exercise.

“I’m on a creative journey and this club gives me the incentive and inspiration to sit down and practice the craft of writing,” she said.

Colette “Koko” Gjermundson is DCW’s board president and an agricultural journalist who runs a family ranch near Marshall. For this booklet, she wrote about everything from family memories at Lake Ilo to her grandmother’s journey to the American West via train and wagon.

“Our goal is to preserve some of these stories for future generations,” she said. “It’s by sharing stories that we connect with one another and celebrate our experience as human beings. Stories also widen our view of who and where we are.”

Looking for a compass

Life has been and always will be at least partly determined by the four directions. They tell us where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. That sense of certainty combined with the mystery of the unexplainable is what inspired this year’s theme, said Strange, who arranged and edited the booklet.

“Dunn County Writers continues to ask the question: If we don’t write and publish these important stories, who will?” she said. “We are dedicated to preserving a written legacy of what’s happening around and inside us as individuals, as a community, as a world.”

The booklet includes work by Patricia Bailey (Dunn Center), Bryan Gallegos (Dickinson), Julee Gartner (Killdeer), Colette “Koko” Gjermundson (Marshall), Ruth Granfor (Dunn Center), Sarah A. Medrano (Halliday), Terry M. Moore (Dickinson), Shirley Oja (Dunn Center), Denise Sandvick (Killdeer), Jennifer Strange (Dickinson), Shawn Thompson (Dunn Center) and Verna Wolf (Killdeer).

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