Our Wednesday meeting, May 16th, was a special night for several reasons. Besides having a “Full-House,” we also listened to a special half-hour program given by the Chief of the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, Frank Palmer. Chief Palmer took center stage after our usual 6:00pm “meet and greet.” That was after our “Firetruck” quiz from Ed Ellis, which was a nice warm-up for Chief Palmer. Chief Palmer's program covered many aspects of community programs that are to be enhanced through a grant that will be written later this year. He asked for writing contributions from the group to help “seed” the project.
Susan Haley sadly announced fellow writer and group member Irv Newman is not recovering well from his recent cardiac event. Irv, author of “Living on House Money,”
(http://www.peppertreepublishing.com/book-detail?book_id=95) misses the group, and he is in our thoughts and prayers. Appreciation and Friendship Cards should be mailed to:
8767 Midnight Pass Road
Sarasota, FL 34232
The meeting kicked off in earnest with Ed Ellis at the helm, minus the cow-bell he used last time. It wasn't needed as everyone had a great time and enjoyed themselves with another evening of eclectic writing. Richard Zimmerman of Athens, Georgia, attended as a guest of George Mindling, and we welcomed back writer and editor Patricia LaBarbera.
Patricia announced she will hold a class on self-editing this coming Saturday, May 19th, at the Selby Library. This free, open to all class will be at 1:30pm in the Conference Room.
Rod DiGruttolo started the evening's readings with a piece written by Malcolm Forbes contributed by Ed Lyman. Rod read the story about the infamous encounter with Mr. & Mrs Leland Stanford and the then president of Harvard that led to the establishment of Stanford University. Always a lesson in humility.
Next, Joanne Phillips continued, albeit not in sequence, with Chapter 17 of her book, “Memoirs of a Sea Hag.” This time evoking visions of lost treasures, well, at least $500 dollars worth, and of an overly amorous Porpoise. Joanne was disappointed she didn't draw serious criticism of her work. The discussion and critique then erupted just to make her happy. Good stuff.
Patricia LaBarbera then read a short story called “Big Mouth” that hooked everybody. Outstanding piece that broke her own rule about using inanimate or non-human subjects. Good writing.
Cecile Bell Kennedy's short story “Are You A Doctor?” about a young boy who has to give himself insulin injections was obviously rooted in personal knowledge and concern. The well written piece using dialog only brought another round of applause.
Don Westerfield read two of his excellent poems. The first, “When You Go” touched everyone who has raised children when those children finally leave home on their own. The great writing just keeps coming! The second poem, My Poem As a Painting” drew great response as well.
Kerri Dieffenwierth read “Ranch Hand” from her upcoming “Homemade Rodeos,” and once again showed her ability to use narrative, dialog, and description to pull the reader into her world. One of the longest sentences ever written, or at least one of the longest I have ever heard, worked like a charm and drew gasps of delight and appreciation. Good writing, Kerri.
Ed Ellis dipped into the past through his “Time capsule” and read two pieces he wrote back in his corporate world days. Ed co-authored an unofficial company newspaper for GE many years ago, and recently received an old copy from a friend. Reading from an old copy of the “Flair Facts,” the prophetic “Department of the National News” and the “Banana Award” for funny happenings showed Ed had the flair and the talent back then.
Susan Haley coaxed Rod DiGruttolo into reading his piece “Snakes, Spiders and Snails,” about Florida's denizens, all real but seen differently through the eyes of youth. A young boy capturing a snake with his bare hands had everyone's attention.
Peter Frickel read a piece that enthralled everyone, but didn't disclose the author until he finished reading. The great piece from “Log from the Sea of Cortez,” by John Steinbeck about the “virtue” of giving and the responsibilities of receiving caught everyone off guard.
Ed closed the meeting with the announcement the next meeting will be in three weeks. The after-meeting session was as much fun as the before-meeting session, but we eventually said goodnight, turned out the lights and went home.
See everyone June 6th.