Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. We meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Nokomis Fire Station. Coming from Sarasota or North, proceed a few blocks south of Albee Road on US 41 (past Matthews-Currie Ford) to Pavonia Road. Turn right (West, toward the bay) at the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are 2 blocks north of Dona Bay. Turn left onto Pavonia Road at the flashing yellow caution light. At the Fire Station, drive to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room at the far end of the complex. We Gather for a meet and greet at 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten-minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Adjourned: 9:00 pm

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ed Lyman

For anyone I might have missed in our general mail-out, Ed Lyman, our 96-year-old Writer Extraordinaire, lost his last close family member this past week. His beloved daughter, Jane, died after a brief illness. The obit notice was published in the Sarasota Herald Tribune today, May 22, 2009.

If you would like to send a card or flowers, Ed's snail-mail address is 1265 Flying Bridge Lane, Osprey, FL 34229. His email address is

If you would like to call Ed, his phone number is 918-8583. Memorial donations may be made to TideWell Hospice.

While Ed is an excellent writer, he depended on his daughter for many of the computer skills the rest of us take for granted. For instance, he knows how to receive and open emails but he doesn't know how to send them.

If someone would like to volunteer a few hours to help Ed become more familiar with the computer skills he will continue to need, please feel free to phone him at 918-8583. He will be immensely grateful.

Ed and his witty stories have been an important part of our local FWA family for several years and he is looking forward to our next meeting, which will be held at our new meeting place: the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, 111 Pavonia Road in Nokomis, on June 17th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Despite this change in venue, our meetings will continue to be held the 3rd Wednesday of every month. As usual, a reminder will be sent out to our members prior to the next meeting on June 17th.

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Sunday, May 03, 2009

McCafferty Pens Feature for Local Paper

John McCafferty, a member of our local Sarasota chapter of the Florida Writers Association, recently wrote a feature article that has been published in the current edition of the Venice Gondolier Sun newspaper. The article shines a compassionate spotlight on a young man named Garret Frey who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in 1987. Since then, Garret has been a quadriplegic who is totally paralyzed and must depend on a respirator for every breath.

Despite his physical limitations, however, Garret has recently published a book titled AS I AM. In the book, he talks about his life as a quadriplegic and how he has utilized his disabilities to make the lives of other handicapped persons richer and fuller. Garret and his mother even appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States. The appearance resulted in a ground-breaking decision that "Set a precedent of access to public education for thousands of handicapped children throughout the nation."

Garret Frey, along with his mother Charlene and Sarasota Psychologist and mentor Dr. Karen Pirnot, will be sharing their story Tuesday, May 5th, at the Venice Public Library, beginning at 3:30. That is also the date of Garret's 27th birthday and his 23rd birthday since the accident.

As McCafferty says in his article, "Only the person with the disability really knows what it is like to live day-to-day as a quadriplegic, but Frey shines a bright light on that mystery in his book."

Please plan to attend this inspirational event.

And congratulations to John McCafferty for his excellent article!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

John McCafferty - A Special Tribute

Sarasota's FWA member, John McCafferty, is a quiet, rather subdued man, but he is a people person extrordinaire. Whenever a need arises to help someone, promote something worthy, and devote time and effort above and beyond the call of group loyalty and assistance, I call on John.

I did so recently in my effort to help promote an amazing young man by the name of Garrett Frey. Garrett, due to an accident as a small child, was rendered a life of quadraplegia paralyzed from the neck down. Along with help and devotion from his mother, Charlene, and a local resident and Child Psychologist, Dr. Karen Pirnot, Garrett has accomplished things that no able-bodied person could even comprehend. Dr. Pirnot, an author in her own right, has dedicated a large portion of her life to working with Garret Frey. Now, with her assistance, one of Garrett's fondest goals has been met. He has written a life story that stands alone in stories of one life's accomplishments in his recently released book, "As I Am".

So, what does all this have to do with John McCafferty? Anyone who can get their hands on a copy of the Venice Gondolier for Saturday, May 2nd will see. John has provided, through hours of work and dedication, a full page story with continuation on two more pages of Garrett's new book and his special appearance at Venice Library next Tuesday, May 5th, at 3:30 p.m. The editor of the Venice Gondolier, Kim Cool, respects and values John's past community services with his stories so much that publication is a given if John presents her with a valid storyline. I want to thank the Kim and the Gondolier, as well.

My personal thank you to John cannot be adequately expressed in a blog post. I would ask with a grateful heart, that if anyone should read this message and find themselves able to attend the event for this remarkable young man, your presence is heartily hoped for. If it is impossible to attend, please do make every effort to obtain a copy of the Gondolier and read the work of one special man's telling of another special man's appearance in our community.

Too, Sviat at the Sanddollar Bookstore at the corner of Miami Ave and Nassau in downtown Venice is featuring "As I Am" at his store to coincide with the event. Sviat and the Sanddollar, also a friend to all local authors. Thank you, Sviat.

Lots of rainbows in our town . . .