Writing – Prose & Poetry,  Mondays, 10:30 a.m. to noon

We write until we drop or run out of ink, whichever comes first. There are no wrong ways to write! Mandy Gardner facilitates a supportive, safe space for writers to let their pens fly freely. We welcome everyone to join us on Mondays mornings when we gather at a secluded table in the back of the OffCenter studio. Ignore the closed sign — the door is open, so come on in! We’re a relaxed community writing group, all skill levels are welcome. Mandy Gardner, who has led the group since 2008, provides a prompt each week and we write for 15 to 20 minutes. We are inspired and empowered by each other’s words. This is a safe space to write, share, and gain confidence.
The writing group published QuaranZine and VaxZine about living in COVID times, each available for a $5.00 donation at OC. (Note: OffCenter is closed on Mondays except for Writing Workgroup. Gallery sales not available and donations not accepted on Mondays.)

Read some examples of our recent work here, inspired by the prompt:

Write about a time of being surrounded by chaos or confusion that felt exhilarating – the upsides, the downsides, the outcome.


By Joan Robins

Constantly seeking
to keep up
with a changing
world, situation, or
In the perfect place
for changing weather
whether you like
love, dislike or hate
it, it changes from
minute to minute
and so trying
so hard to focus
and accomplish
one thing, am
following the dictum
of Rabbi Schacter Shalomi
“Your rushing will destroy
Needing to stop
slow down, yield to
others I center in
Paraphrasing Issa
many centuries ago
“While life rushes by
even the little bird stops
to build his nest”
I find comfort
in birdsong, allies
kind people, and
being alive and breathing


By Philip Hughes-Luing

give up, surrender
laugh cry joy bumper car ride
caught in a rainstorm


By Joseph Griego

The vanished telephone

The forced internet communication

The corporate push for more homelessness

Land-grabbing homes for a property tax

Failure to pay on time just 30 days! A home

For lifetime worth 350,000

Now you cannot find a phone on the corner

You can’t buy or sell without credit fees

You only have one opportunity

to communicate what you

want World wide web.

Must have credit card

carrier account $

Email account with subscription

Go on the world view to

get to the successful town offices

In just ten years all phone books

have vanished and we have

no public fountains or toilets

but we have multiple devices

tracking our every move

stuck to a box you can’t

clean the house with 

I don’t like to feed confusion

If one looks to Evil that’s

where one will be

in chaos, can’t smell feel taste or

even see the Vortex of Homeless coming


By Megan Foresi

Confusion about transformation from a life that once was. A life that no longer exists. It was a life spent in fear based on thoughts. A life of beliefs, of less than, not enough, don’t be seen or heard, invisible. Worthless, and that I mattered very little in the world of form. Oh yes, and my

world reflected that back to me over and over again. Until my world was so small, invisible and worthless. My goodness, what a life.

Something shifted, changed, and in all of the chaos that my fearful mind imagined, fell away upon the emergence of the understanding, the knowing that I have a choice. I have a choice to choose fear or love in any moment knowing that I am, more than a Physical body. There is a light inside me that is not about my fearful thoughts or troubled past.
I am more than my thoughts.

This is my path of Awakening, in seeing from my higher minds Objective Perspective and in choosing Love over fear and walking through the wilderness asking to be tempted by facing my fears and to continue to choose to love myself

For in this revelation, of knowing that I AM love that  we are love has changed my perception and as I change my perception of who I AM, my world mirrors back to me that understanding. “And So It is.”


By Joyce Depow

It’s usually confused at our house, usually not exhilarating. It often feels like, for me, doing five things at once, answering the same question over and over without a positive outcome, but it’s not negative, either.

Hence I get up at a god awful hour and meditate while Andy is still asleep with our cat sleeping on Andy’s head.

I tiptoe to my chair, trying to keep the cat asleep. Cats, however, have a sixth sense to meow loudly, demanding food.

Of course, I feed her, mostly to shut her up.

The confusion starts, the cat munches, the telephone rings, Andy moans in her sleep.

I hang up on the caller, a scam to be sure, or the home healthcare worker canceling, or Walgreen’s computer asking if I can pick up the pills today, if not today, when?

The cat jumps back up on Andy’s bed, and immediately falls asleep. Andy stays asleep with the cat’s purring on her head. Walgreen’s computer happy that someone will pick up the pills.

I close my eyes trying to calm down and for a few minutes meditate.

Usually falling asleep.


By Susan E. Page

As we age
and as the workday structure
melts away, our days
become confused

Just like we do
Still knowing there is a word
for the concept we want to express
and fearing its absence is ominous

As I read one more book about
the third act in our lives
that author quotes Transitions in which
William Bridges grasps that confusing experience

I confess that I like to be confusing
don’t mind others being the same way
like Austin Powers, I like
being an international person of mystery

I think we are all a lot deeper
than we seem at first glance
So, let’s give each other more than
a quick look, knowing we are all
unknowable after all

More Writing Group writing, inspired by various prompts! Join us on Monday mornings for prompts and writing time!

The Writing Group

By Finn Pofahl

Every Monday, at 10:30 in the morning, we gather around a table, our minds open like summer
windows. A prompting spell is cast upon us by our fearless leader who only wants to empower
us. She gives us all a smile of encouragement and then we are set to work. We write upon pages
lined with blank infinities that yearn for inspired words. We write for fifteen minutes, our brains
click, click, clicking away. Our pens scribble down idea, after phrase, after passion until the spell
ceases. Then, we are permitted to breathe our thoughts out loud. With gusto and fiery fierceness,
an audience of our peers, both young and aged will listen to our euphemisms. Every one present
will present, if they wish. We must not be confused for some class or judgmental assortment of
jurors, we want only to inspire magnificent minds at work.


By Virginia R. Tierney

When it rains a lot and the duff in the Bosque get saturated, great stacked shelves of oyster fungus burst out in hidden, shadowy places. My husband, a Puebloan, calls them ‘Tona’, the same word for rabbit. I finally asked what Tona meant if it could cover such disparate things as rabbits and fungi. He said anything you hunt in holes and under branches is ‘Tona’. Languages make categorical cuts in such ways. The Chinese have a whole category of words referring to their string-likeness. So, nerves and ropes have a similar root.

Having Teeth

By Sarah Castlebury

My chompers, them things. Was born with too many. Lost a few in the years. Like my hearing, I would like to do without them. All I use them for is to eat and I don’t like to eat much. Isn’t that obvious? It would be fine to live on purees. They’re easier to digest.

However, I do like having my teeth in the way that I can bite someone when they get too close.