By Libby Hopkins

All of us have some sort of story in us. We come from diverse backgrounds that are rich in traditions and culture, so why not share your unique family stories with others? Writing your life story lets you live forever in a sense. The Bloomingdale Writers Connection was started more than six years ago with the intent to help people write their life stories through a series of free workshops held at the Bloomingdale Library. Val Perry is the organizer of the group and she loves that more and more people want to share their life stories with others. “We have done a lot of growing since 2007 and I think it’s invaluable to the people who are involved with it,” Perry said.

The group is able to offer its writing programs for free because the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library fund it. It will have its next 10-week life writing class begin in January of 2014. “It’s a very intense class because you meet every week and you write a two-page story every week,” Perry said. At the end of the program, participants will have made a life portfolio that they can share with their family and friends. Most people love the class and they don’t want the program to end. Once the program has ended, some of the groups continue to meet and form little writing groups. Perry said there are about nine of these little groups still meeting and writing. They have enough material to release an anthology. It will feature different stories submitted from the members of the writing groups. “The writers were asked to submit a story that has a Florida theme,” Perry said, “We really wanted it to reflect on Eastern Hillsborough County.” The anthology will be released later this year.

The workshops offered through the group include travel writing, family history, poetry and nature journals. They email a monthly newsletter to all its members letting them know about writing events in other areas of Tampa Bay as well. The program strives to build a stronger community and leave a legacy for the writer’s families. For more information on the Bloomingdale Writers Connection, you can E-mail Perry at or call the Friends of the Bloomingdale Library at 273-3652.


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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.