Stoneridge Creek resident Marilyn Slade credits Mickey Mouse for much of her writing success. He’s the inspiration behind her first entry in a poetry contest, which took place nearly two decades ago. Since that time, Marilyn has won nearly every poetry competition she’s entered.

“It’s been therapeutic for me over the years,” said Slade. “Now that I’m retired and living at Stoneridge Creek, I have more time to write and learn more about the writing process.”

Every month, Marilyn is joined by several other creative minds who make up the Stoneridge Creek writing class. It’s one of many activities pioneered by residents. Together they join forces to come up with topics and read their latest masterpieces.

Studies show reading and writing can help improve memory and other cognitive functions, lower stress, and help seniors work through emotions. For Marilyn, it’s all about writing poetry, from slam poetry to her favorite: haiku.

“There’s truly something enjoyable about writing a haiku,” Slade explained, smiling. “Just give me a topic, and I’ll make into a poem. It’s so much fun coming up with each line, and sometimes I laugh at the thoughts I scribble down.”

From the royal wedding to the Gettysburg Address to even chocolate dipped-bacon, Slade can take a topic and turn it into a poem. She’s been featured in the Pleasanton Weekly numerous times and has received several ribbons at the Alameda County Fair. Those ribbons are lined up on plaques inside her Stoneridge Creek apartment.

Recently Stoneridge Creek displayed those ribbons in the community’s lobby.

“We enjoy celebrating all our residents’ accomplishments,” said Susan Filice, Stoneridge Creek activities director. “Marilyn is so enthusiastic about writing and sharing that passion with other residents and team members at Stoneridge Creek. You can’t help but smile when you read her poems. They’re so creative.”

Marilyn moved into the Stoneridge Creek community five years ago. Aside from writing poetry, she’s also involved in art classes and performs in the chorus.

“My move to Stoneridge Creek gave me the opportunity to try new activities I never thought to attempt before,” added Slade. “I’ve made so many friends here. Retirement is truly just the beginning of my life.”