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HFA writing workshop a therapeutic experience

Writers on the Storm workshop leader Suzanne Strempek-Shea reads her work during an event on Tuesday, June 12 at HFA. Kevin Flanders. (click for larger version)
June 18, 2012
BRIMFIELD — For participants in a recent writing workshop at Hitchcock Free Academy, the last five weeks have provided opportunities to turn the negative spin of the June 2011 tornado into a positive one.

Led by Bondsville author Suzanne Strempek-Shea, the Writers on the Storm workshop was funded by grants from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Hanover Insurance, and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Many of the participants saw their homes damaged or destroyed by the tornado, and writing about their ordeals proved to be a therapeutic experience.

"It was amazingly healing to be able to share our angst and concerns with others through writing," said HFA Executive Director Susan Gregory, who took part in the workshop and wrote a poem called Blending about the tornado's wrath and subsequent recovery efforts. "The process of writing allows you to bring up all kinds of thoughts and emotions you might not even realize you had."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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