Writers group in Orange sparks the imagination of members

From left, Sangeeta Dadlani, Bonnie Pelaccia, Lisa Winters, Sydney Kelly and Lanette Errante

From left, Sangeeta Dadlani, Bonnie Pelaccia, Lisa Winters, Sydney Kelly and Lanette Errante

There are tens of thousands of colorful stories on the shelves of Case Memorial Library, and once a month there are others — works in progress — being tossed about in a meeting room upstairs.

It’s there that a group of writers — most with no professional writing background — critique each other’s works, share ideas, give editing suggestions and have lots of fun.

They are just a group of people — some with published works, some not — who like to write in forms that include essays, poetry, short stories, memoirs, and more.

The group, which started years ago at the Orange Senior Center and is now held at the library because the center stopped offering it, has no formal name and meets the third Friday of each month at 10 a.m. The group for those interested in writing is open to all.

“I think now it’s like opening a flower in me and letting it exude its perfume,” referring to the group, said Lanette Errante, 67, of West Haven, formerly of Orange, and a retired medical research coordinator.

Lisa Winters, 71, a retired psychiatric social worker who dabbled in journalism years ago, is working on a memoir.

Winters has some interesting raw material to work with — her maternal grandfather was Igor Sikorsky, and her mother was raised by an aunt. Part of her memoir will explore the psychological impact of that on her mom and her mom’s children. Winters said her mother experienced many losses.

“I’ve been writing a memoir and I wanted some feedback and support,” she said. “This group has become wonderful.”

Sangeeta Dadlani, 73, who grew up in India said she’s always been “fond of reading but I don’t write so well.”

Her fellow group members don’t agree she doesn’t write so well, but Dadlani thought the group would be a great way to learn.

Dadlani, retired from the jewelry retail business, writes a lot about her personal experiences growing up in India, it’s festivals, and about her father as an “unsung hero,” in giving them all a better life.

Group members said they love her stories.

Dadlani said of writing: “It clears you. Get it on paper and there are so many thoughts you didn’t know (were there),” she said.

Bonnie Pelaccia, 73, a former journalist — and considered by group members as the unofficial group leader, writes whatever comes into her head over the years.

Her recent “The Worm Wars” — highlights all the birds in the yard and that one worm. Through the years, she’s written about kids, birds, dogs and lots of other subjects.

Each month they share what they’ve written.

“I love listening,” in the group, Pelaccia said. “I think everyone has a story.”

Sid Kelly, 80, of West Haven, and originally from the United Kingdom, is a retired engineer known in the group for his wit. An eighth-degree blackbelt in judo and two time Gold medalist in the sport — Canada in 1999 and Japan in 2003 — Kelly has been writing about martial arts and judo for 50 years.

He’s branched out in writing since retirement and likes writing short stories with “some element of surprise and entertainment,” as he puts it.

He also likes writing rhyming poetry and limericks.

One of the groups favorites written by Kelly is “Grandma’s Eyeball” — yes, it comes out like a marble and goes on an adventure.

“I’d like to improve my writing,” he said of attending the group.

Another group member, retired dentist Joe Introcaso, 92, has a lot of military themes in his writing and many characters are based on the lives of former patients.

Group members say Introcaso is a master of dialogue and description and all around great writer.

Group members said they teach and edit each other.

Errante said she started writing as a youngster, in the form of writing letters to parents while she was away at camp. Later, through adulthood, she kept a journal about herself, her children, her husband.

Then about 10 years ago, she took a class in creative writing at Hamden High School and came away inspired to create fiction.

Errante writes about whatever comes to mind and often its, “contemplative, meditative philosophy with a thrust toward theology,” she said.

“I’ve always been an idea person,” she said, and in the group, her ideas are accepted.

Pelaccia said of Errante, “Her imagination, fiction is off the chart.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the group can email Pelaccia bonnieb317@sbcglobal.net.