Write On, Door County began as a dream bringing together a small group of people sensing a hunger within our community to explore writing and reading more deeply. It was the winter of 2011 and there seemed to be a renaissance of writing in our schools, our senior centers, and in reading and writing groups forming up and down the peninsula. Door County’s natural beauty has long attracted creative people, and the visual and performing arts in particular have thrived. Now it seemed time to shine a light on the literary arts.
After-school writing clubs formed, local writers circled in and volunteered with students young and old, and most remarkable of all, someone felt the power of this dream and purchased 39 beautiful acres of land mid-way up the peninsula with a house that could be remodeled to bring the dream to life. That first year we helped bring poet Billy Collins, novelist Emma Straub, and children’s author/illustrator Nancy Carlson to Door County to kindle the Write On flames.
As this was happening, Jerod Santek, Program Director at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, was dreaming his own dream of moving to Door County some day to establish a retreat for writers. He knew no one here and his was a far-off dream. But fate intervened, a chance meeting took place, and he moved to Door County in 2013 to shepherd the Write On idea into an official non-profit organization. We got our 501(c) 3 status in January 2014.
Since then, under Jerod’s guidance, hundreds of classes, programs, and events for all ages and experience levels have taken place. More than 60 visiting writers from all over the county have come to stay in our Write On home, finding a place of peace and inspiration for their work.
As word has spread, our residency program has grown and our little house now bulges at the seams. So our next dream is to construct a beautiful writers residence with five separate spaces and a common kitchen and gathering area that will also allow for public programming. And beyond that, we dream of a Writing Center across the road with rooms for these visiting writers to teach and inspire those who come here to learn.
To Write On’s founding board—Bret Bicoy, Michael Brecke, Vinni Chomeau, Anne Emerson, Bill Guenzel, Cynthia Kraack and Dee Paulsen—thank you for pursuing a dream. To all who have joined in and brought their own gifts along the way, thank you for continuing to make dreams come true!