The first meeting of the new year is always exciting. Of the seventeen attendees, only three did not choose to share some of their work with us. We did not prepare for writing issues discussions this month, so we went right into the reading portion of our evening.
We welcomed a first-time attendee John Hearon to the meeting. I hope John enjoyed our group and comes back regularly. We use a sign-in sheet to remember who attended our meetings. I have a hard enough time remembering where I’m supposed to be, let alone who was there with me. I usually call on those who wish to read in the order they’ve signed in. Come early, read early. We ask if you read, be courteous enough to remain throughout the meeting, and listen to your fellow readers. They listened to you. Also, participate in the discussion following the readings, even if it’s a simple comment of appreciation. Be honest and tactful in giving critique.
Our first reader of the evening was Peter Frickel. As usual, Peter’s offerings were poignant, evoking emotion with each word. Differences brought to mind the soft, caring hands of a mother compared to the firm guiding hands of a father as they maneuvered a young boy along the path to manhood. The Space Between Loving shows us those moments, days, weeks, months, even years after a love is gone for any reason. Memories, regrets, and wishes guide us forward as we move on. Struggles, are they worth it? Man On the African Plain shows us a conversation, a realization, and a departure. The joy of a fellow traveler, the pain of realizing the future is less satisfying than the past, and moving on into an uncertain future shows us the circle of life. As always, well done, Peter.
When Ian Schagen stepped up to read his newest sci-fi adventure, Armontiriath, he began with a summary of previous events leading up to the portion he would read this evening. Space travel, a mutiny, factions with opposing political and civilization views have created a civil war before attempting to settle on a newly discovered planet beyond our galaxy. A haunting dream of a captivating woman torment the captain and leads him to come upon a new civilization. Yes, I want to hear more. I guess I’ll wait until the book is out.
Our new attendee, John Hearon, is also a sci-fi writer, a futurist looking at a dystopian scenario in his book, The Lighting Clock. His opening chapter entitled, Lighting Always Strikes Twice in the Same Place, tells the story of a young female in transport to prison, convicted of murder. Justice does not exist in the future country of “USA Amcourt,” a corporation country. In John’s story, a single phrase evoked comment, “not my clowns, not my circus,” when spoken by the prisoner about a group of children in the company sent to the prison as slave labor elicited a dislike for the protagonist among several members of the group. Will she remain a despicable character? We look forward to the rewrite as John promises to come back at the next meeting.
Back from his Holiday Cruise, Don Westerfield brought us a couple of poems, Night Walker, a new offering, and Walk Away, written a few years ago. In Night Walker, a man of advanced age approaches the water’s edge, thinking he will walk on into oblivion. Will he or won’t he? Read the poem to find out. Walk Away lets us delve into the mind of a man at a reunion. There, he espies one whom he thinks was a former love. Does he approach? Does he “walk away?” Don, we all love your poetry.
Ed Ellis has been working on a non-fiction book for several years. In the meantime, he’s produced many witty, often humorous stories to share with us. Tonight he asks us to read, critique, and return a portion of his nearly ready work. Appendix 102 – Creative Questioning teaches how to form and ask questions capable of moving us forward in our life, business, or even our writing. It is complete with Tables and Figures to guide us along. Congratulations, Ed, it’s going well.
Attending for the second time, Cat Christensen shared a unique use of Haiku with us. An artist produced a series of paintings to which Cat applied her talent. It was a fantastic display. The poetry is in tune with the images. A lump forms in my throat as I read the words describing the scene. Great job, Cat, and kudos to the artist.
Tiny Poems About an Ordinary Life, that’s how Abby Karish entitles her work. Short and directed toward the common occurrences of everyday life, her lively words give insight into those thoughts we all have but tend to ignore. Everybody’s life has its exciting moments, but daily life is priceless.
Have you ever had a moment in your life you can’t explain to others without thinking they will call you crazy? The Phone Call by Bruce Haedrich might qualify for him. Dialing his daughter’s number, Bruce hears the phone ringing on the other end. But, the voice answering is not that of his daughter. It is his older brother. They have a two-minute and eighteen-second call, interrupted by static that disconnects them. With unanswered questions still in his mind, Bruce cannot fathom the substance of the call. You see, his brother has been dead for a year and a half.
Toby and the High Roller by Richard Cope brings a light-hearted bent to the evening. It seems Toby gets mistakenly packed in a U-Haul and transported to Las Vegas from his home in Bean County, Tennessee. All is not lost as Toby befriends a High Roller in Vegas who turns him into a national hero by proclaiming him to be a super good luck charm. Yes, Toby finally returns home, welcomed by a Senator and the whole county.
Have you ever experienced Puppy Love? Well, a lonesome old man in Linda Grischy’s story did. It seems he found a puppy on the street by his house. The puppy rushed inside and ravenously ate the leftovers the man gave him. It was love at first sight, but the puppy ran away only to return the next day. Friends tried to tell the man, “the dog belongs to another,” but the man persisted in claiming the puppy was his. After following the puppy one day and finding out, the little dog visited another old man down the street to get fed as well; his persistence remained. The puppy didn’t show up for a few days. The man asked the other man if he’d seen the puppy. “Yes,” the old man replied, “she comes for her steak every day.” That afternoon, the man cut up his best tenderloin to feed his little friend.
Having read an article in a newspaper asking, How much is Poetry Worth? Or something like that. Ernie Ovitz shared it with us. Our group values the poets who share their work with us. This article agreed, poetry is timeless and a valuable part of our lives.
Rod DiGruttolo shared a bit of a travelog. His experiences of getting underway on a driving vacation during rush hour made for a bit of humor to end the meeting.
Well, that’s about all for this time. If you don’t have time to write, READ! But do your best to KEEP ON WRITING. See you next meeting.