Writer’s Notes: The Converse County Library in Douglas will host the annual spring WyoPoets Workshop and Meeting April 29 and 30, 2022. In honor of the event, we are highlighting people in the county, many who are seniors, that contribute to the literary

Photo courtesy of Vickie Goodwin

Vickie Goodwin enjoys sharing stories with others, and serves as a writer and member of Wyoming Writers, Inc. and also as chair of the Converse County Library Board of Directors.

Gayle Irwin, Independent staff

Converse County resident and member of Wyoming Writers, Inc., Vickie Goodwin believes writers need to write the story close to their heart.

“I think people should write what they feel and let the words flow,” she said. “I also think, if you have an idea in the middle of the night, get up out of bed if it’s bugging you and go write that down because you’ll forget it in the morning – that’s happened to me.”

Goodwin began her writing journey as a youngster and became more serious about pursuing the craft when she became a young adult.

“I get a sense of purpose,” she said. “I write so that the reader can understand that they’re not alone, that other people have experienced some of the same kinds of things they have.”

Goodwin, chair of the Converse County Library Board of Directors, believes writers and libraries benefit communities in many ways.

“A library is community place, a community space, where everyone can go and learn about all kinds of things,” Goodwin said.

Libraries have blossomed and now include events like classes, movie nights, and computer software training, she added.

Writers, and therefore, libraries, offer stories that take people to new places and help them experience different senses and imagery, whether in fictional stories, nonfiction works, or poetry. Although not a member of WyoPoets, the state poetry organization that plans to hold its annual spring workshop in Douglas in late April, Goodwin says she enjoys poetry.

“It’s fun to read and chase the thoughts around and see where I go,” she said.

“I heard something on NPR earlier – it’s National Poetry Month, and they were talking, something like people try to dissect a poem when they should just enjoy it,” Goodwin added. “One of the things about writing is that people take away something different based on their experiences and their life story, so what means something to me would be totally lost on another person. But I guess that’s what I love about stories – each person can find their own meaning in that story or poem.”

Goodwin has been a member of Wyoming Writers, Inc., for nearly 20 years, has attended many of the organization’s annual conferences and entered her works in several contests. When the group meets in Sheridan the first weekend in June this year, she plans to help with registration as well as attend workshops. She recalled first joining the organization and the first contest she entered.

“I was so thrilled because the very first story I entered in the contest won third place, and I was just like ‘wow!’” she said. 

She has won additional awards through the organization’s contest since then.

“I really enjoy it; I’m really glad I joined,” she said.

Goodwin writes novel-length fiction, short stories, and she dabbles in poetry. 

“I love to tell stories, and a lot of it a lot of my writing, like all writers, comes from my life experiences,” Goodwin said. “So, there’s a lot of things that I that I have written that come from a true story.

“I like my characters, and I like how sometimes the story takes off in a new direction that surprises me. You’re going along and then all of a sudden, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah.’”

She’s currently developing a memoir and delving back into a story she started many years ago, revising the manuscript to possibly pitch to an editor.

“I just recently dug (the story) back out and re-read it. I still like this story,” she said. “I can see where there’s problems in it, so I’m working on editing it.”

The memoir idea began as an oral history project after the death of her husband, Sissy, who battled brain cancer before passing in March 2020.

“I did an oral history with the American Heritage Center in Laramie,” she explained. “In order to do that, I sat down and wrote my thoughts, putting them together, so it’s kind of like the beginning of the memoir.”

She believes this work is critical.

“What I’m hoping to get out there is that there are so many facets to everyone. We need to not judge people in how they look or what they wear but by who they are,” she said. “Sissy was so much more than the guy who wore dresses. He cleaned up the North Platte River, went to El Salvador and Kenya on humanitarian missions, helping people, like helping build water systems, and did so much more than that. I feel it’s important to get that out, that we’re more than just the clothes we wear or what people think our politics are, or whatever.”

She shares the enjoyment of reading and writing with family, reading to her children and grandchildren when they were young and gifting them with books. One granddaughter strives to be a writer, Goodwin added; a poem she wrote published a few years ago.

“I guess the tradition continues,” she said with a chuckle.

For those who desire to write, whether books, short stories, or poetry, Goodwin offered additional advice.

“Don’t edit while you write – sometimes that’s best writing by hand first. You get the words down and it keeps you from filtering,” she said. “You should also be reading and thinking about what you read and how that person made the character. Read a lot and write a lot, and if it doesn’t go anywhere, it’s okay – just write.”


Glenrock Independent

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