It was great to utter those words again at the Sarasota Writers Group. I returned from vacation to host this meeting of the group. It is good to be home.
It is December, and we have a nearly full house this evening. Nineteen attendees including one newbie. Welcome Bill Kemper, your insight and contributions were valuable, and you fit right in with this group. We hope to see you often in the future.
With 15 writers wishing to share their work, we jumped right into the fray. First up was Ernie Ovitz. In Chapter 50, he took us back to old Rome where there appeared to be a shortage of wine. A ship leaves port in the winter, an unusual if not suspicious activity. The Emperor’s intelligence officers get word three Senators plan to meet the ship at ports north of Rome; truly a suspicious circumstance. The son of one conspirator is taken while on his way home from school. The cruel Centurion in charge of the intelligence force counts on a mother’s love to protect her son. Will his plan work?
Deep in the Everglades, on Loop Road, there once was a notorious watering hole called, The Gator Hook. Dennis Cathcart, a regular in the ‘glades’ as an avid ‘snake catcher,’ made more than one of his snake catching trips to this area and may have had occasion to stop at The Gator Hook. In 1972 a fellow herpetologist from Austria named Eric, or is it Erich, oh well, the worked up a thirst while looking for snakes in the heat of South Florida. The Gator Hook was the nearest place to get a cold drink. Upon entering they read what turned out to be an ignored notice, “No Firearms or Knives Allowed.” Patrons at the bar almost all carried a very visible hunting knives, and some may have had suspicious bulges under their shirts at the waistband. Using common sense, the pair ordered a couple of cold sodas and took them outside with them rather than stay in the dim surrounding of the bar. Smart move?
Our "Pepe", Peter Frickle, introduced us to a Love Affair in North Africa. The ending was unique and a surprise to all in the room; after all, who expected the man to sell his true love, even if she was a camel. Continuing a discussion from the last meeting, in good humor, Peter and Bruce Haedrich teamed up to argue a counterpoint to Ian’s piece as introduced and posted in our last blog. Fun and interesting to say the least.
Working on a new story, one of our detective/mystery writers, Barb Marvin, shared an excerpt from the new story with a working title of Defenseless. Willa, her main character and retired police detective turned the teacher of Policing Studies at the local college, notices a student whose circumstances may put him at risk in police work. Her old partner from the force calls and asks her to lunch. Is something afoot?
When Ed Ellis starts to read, you never know what’s going to come out. This week Ed took us back to California and the day shortly after his discharge from the U.S. Navy. Young and unattached, he and fellow sailor, Slick share a Duplex. It’s a one-bedroom, one-bath unit and they have an understanding, the first one home gets the bedroom, the other gets the couch. Unfortunately, after a night on the town, Ed comes home late, and the bedroom is occupied. Sometime later, Ed, in dire need of bathroom facilities, tiptoes past the sleeping couple in the bedroom. Once inside the bathroom, Ed discovers something that strikes his funny bone, unable to help himself, his sniggering awakens the sleepers as he makes a break for the living room. What could be so funny?
Not all our writers have such happy tales to impart. Peter McNally recounts his life after a major stroke in Rewired. Robbed of both short- and long-term memory, Peter attempts to rebuild his life. Diminished eyesight, an inability to feel emotion, or comprehend simple tasks have destroyed his career and business. He struggles with everyday chores and actions. How can it get worse? The second stroke drives him to his knees.
Clairvoyance, a gift or a curse? This is the question for Tish McAuley. A young woman is murdered in the rear parking lot where she lives. Police question Tish at work and a presence worms its way into her mind, her partner/husband is a suspect in the slaying. Does she protect her man? The presence tells her he didn’t do it. She feels the pain and anguish of the victim. Does she tell the truth, or lie to protect? Unusual activity in her pituitary is seen by another clairvoyant as the beginning of her “Third Eye.”
While on vacation Rod DiGruttolo found time to scribble the opening chapter of a story. Working under the title of Diagnosis Dead, the story begins with a man being murdered and his murderer taking the body away.
Our “Newbie”, Bill Kemper was a cop in Detroit for some years. Like most cops, he found graveyards were a good place to write reports, especially at night, not too many interruptions and the neighbors are quiet. His cemetery poem, Tombstones, was insightful but not so deep as to warp one’s mind. Good work Bill.
A visitor from California, Vic, has written a book entitled How to Avoid an IRS Audit. For those of you facing that possibility, you might want to pick up a copy off Amazon.
Poets look a the most mundane tasks as an adventure as shown in Scott Anderson’s poem, The Market. A trip to Publix is a world tour as he explores the offerings his mind sees the villages of France, soars over the city of Los Angeles, drifts past the banana plantations of Guatemala, climbs above the sun-swept mountains of Columbia, wafts pasts a dairy in Ireland, and sweeps above the swaying grain of Iowa’s wheat fields. That’s just for breakfast folks. I guess it may have been from the trip to the market or a television special on the plastic pollution in this world which sent Scott’s mind toward, The Plastic Bag. With big oil corporations touting the usefulness of plastics, the simple plastic bag is everywhere, Oceans, Trees, Landfills, ditches, forests, and deserts.
Reading from his work, Promontory Castle, Bruce Haedrich relates the tale written in iambic pentameter about a castle of old, its king and people. This reading has the “Hoats,” barbarians with a vicious bent following the retreating king through the castle gates. The king is betrayed and slain, but what of the royal family, the children? Smuggled from the castle by Mira, their nurse and nanny, they are placed in the capable hands of the blacksmith, a fearsome man of great stature and fighting skill. What is to follow?
This meeting, Ian Schagen picks on his own Great Britain and their political issues. Writing as a statistician and SciFI writer, Ian looks ahead 100 years to a possible collapse of Great Britain as we know it today.
Amuari’s Cuba was difficult even on the best days. In Jeff Kutcher’s tale, tourism in Cuba was/is a necessary influx of foreign cash. Amauri’s half-brother, Camilo, took advantage of the opportunities afford him by tourists looking to buy illicit drugs. It was risky but profitable.
What is Beyond the Sun? Susan Haley asks, how can we know until we learn how to fly. One of two poems by Sue, it allows our spirit to soar beyond the sun an all the constellations. And back on earth we have a debt, an IOU, in her second poem we are reminded to honor our debt to all living things, we are not given the right to ruin and destroy.
It was a good night and a great meeting. Don Westerfield’s daughter Melissa, and Don’s friend Vic Ey joined us for the meeting. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. You are welcome anytime. It’s time to say goodbye for this blog but remember, the next meeting is our annual Christmas Party, bring some goodies and a donation to the Nokomis Fire Department and join us on December 18th at 6:30PM. Also, the meetings in January will take place on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, the 8th and 22nd of the month. Given the writing prompt, Stay low, don’t fight!, bring us 35 words or less incorporating these words, use your imagination!
Until then… KEEP ON WRITING