As the lightning flashes of spring's first thunderstorm lit up the sky behind the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, the March 21st meeting of the Sarasota Writers Group got under way. After the greetings and catching up on all the latest news, of course.
We welcomed Stephen Aiken of Sarasota to his first meeting, and returning guests Don Westerfield and Kathleen Swartz. We reluctantly said goodbye to Lois Stern who is returning to New York for the summer. Rod DiGruttolo, as always did his masterful job of herding cats to make it another enjoyable meeting.
We started the meeting on a sad note as Susan Haley described the condition and determination of her friend and Pasco County FWA group leader, Dahris Clair, who has decided to drop life support and return home in peace and solitude. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dahris, her family and her many friends.
We resumed our regular readings, after Bill Elan told the “Amoeba story,” with Russ Heitz reading his great response to the “Dialogue Challenge.” Remember, “You're the one who wanted to talk.” Rod mentioned it is intimidating to follow any of our writers when its your turn to read. It is, but that doesn't stop us!
Lois Stern gave a great example by first reading a “Vase Challenge” poem by Jim Kelly, and then showing her writing virtuosity by giving no less than five different twists of her own on the challenge: a memoir piece, a fiction approach, historical non-fiction (!), mystery and suspense, and finally a humorous interpretation of the same challenge. Lois will be missed during her summer sojourn. Ellen Magnuson read a chapter from her book “S'Truth” that captured everyone. Of course she finished with “If you want to hear more, you'll have to buy the book!” (ISBN 13-978-1-4507-9327-0)
Bill Elan read his piece on continuing reflections of an old man, inspired by Cecile Bell Kennedy, who followed with a great poem called “Table Tart,” inspired by the “Vase Challenge.”
Joanne read her next chapter of her autobiographical “Memoirs of a Sea Hag.” The harrowing story of being caught in 20 foot swells in a 40 foot sailboat that had us all relieved when they finally made Dry Tortugas. A spirited 20 minute discussion followed that proved everyone had hung on to every word. A worn out audience then took a 20 minute break!
Ed Ellis kicked off the second half with a test of sorts. He delivered two different approaches to his up-coming book, tentatively titled “The Success Model.” His approach to the subject of thinking, good vs bad decisions, and ideas are time machines, all stirred the intense discussions that followed. Good stuff.
The delightful surprise of the evening was from newcomer Don Westerfield who read a touching piece about war titled, “Hello, Joe!,” and a poem entitled “The Passage.” The poem connected with every father who has ever walked his daughter down the aisle. This was Don's second meeting and we can't wait to hear more of his great writing.
Kerri Dieffenwirth read another chapter from her recently retitled work, now called “Homemade Rodeos, A Memoir,” that reached out and grabbed all the unsuspecting listeners. From light-hearted recollections of youth to the heart-stopping tragedy of a near fatal accident and its trauma on a young girl, wrapped and delivered in almost a single sentence. More great stuff! Great writing!
Susan Davis read her great interpretation of the “Dialogue only” challenge that was really nicely done. Susan can read anything she wants with her “FM” voice, we would all probably listen to her read the telephone book, but when she reads her own stories, it is really a great, entertaining experience.
We wrapped up the evening's readings with Kathleen Swartz, who also returned for her second meeting. Kathleen read part of Chapter 4 from her book “Jazzed at 69,” at least that's the working title, and again, left the group wanting more.
We'll have to wait 'til next time, April 4th, to hear more.
Schedule and Location
Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 8:00 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm