The first meeting of 2013 was a seam-buster as we had to ask our gracious hosts at the Nokomis Fire Department for more chairs. With twenty in attendance, including first time guests Nancy Lucas, Becky Fried, Gene Caffrey, Sasha, and Meaghan, we made up for the regulars who were under the weather of the nasty flu bug floating around. My apologies to Sasha and Meaghan, I didn't get their last names. We also welcomed Jean Vogele from the poets group, who later read two of her great poems. Welcome to everyone.
As promised, Kat opened with a great presentation on starting your own blog. She handed out copies of the presentation so everyone could follow and make notes. We post all member links on the sidebar of this blog, so any member who submits their blog address to me will be listed. I expect I'll be adding a few more after Kat's easy-to-understand presentation.
After the regular welcoming and catching up on upcoming book fairs, Peter Frickel graciously stepped in for Rod DiGruttolo, who was under the weather, and wielded the invisible gavel for the reading part of the meeting. We would all like to diversify the readings somewhat and asked that future readings not be limited to self-written material, but also include passages from a favorite novel, or writings from an author who inspired or terrified you, or angered you. Even a well written column or article. Food for thought for future meetings.
Lois Stern asked about interest in doing a cable television show for writers being put together by a friend of hers. There were several deep in thought about the idea, but there were no immediate responses. I'm sure Lois would like to hear from anyone interested.
Peter read first, with an excerpt from T.S. Eliot, and as always evoked reflective thought with the selection. Russ Heitz followed with a selection from the great John Steinbeck. If anyone wants to describe a setting or environment with out the “-ly” words, they need to read the first few pages of Grapes of Wrath to see how it is done.
Joanne read next with her developing story, Adventures of a Sea Hag, this time getting us through the Windward Passage, all the way to the first time her skipper called her “Honey.” Great writing, at least this time we didn't need Dramamine to enjoy the sail.
Don Westerfield surprised everyone with a short story, The Gift, which he graciously submitted for critique according to our new guidelines. He had copies for everyone, double spaced for space for comments and notes. He received really favorable feed back, but we kept the serious critiques on paper to be picked up at the next meeting.
Ed Ellis read his reworked futuristic tale of post-nuclear war and once again had everyone riding with him in the front seat as his protagonist banged fenders and fought his way out of Chicago. He miraculously edited his initial draft from using “I” 161 times to none! Zero! The word “I” never appeared in the rework. A remarkable task in itself. Try it sometime on something you've written in the first person.
We took a short break, then started the second part with two great poems by Jean Vogele. We hope Jean becomes a regular member, her works are just great! Chris Burton, who drives all the way down from Bradenton just for our meeting, read two really good pieces, Addy and Looking Glass. Cris reads with a verve that enhances her already great writing, we are glad she makes the long trip!
Robin Wise flipped on the humor switch with her crisp wit and sense of humor with a piece that drew enthusiastic applause, followed by a lesson in losing and finding accents by George Collias that actually had people laughing out loud. Both outstanding writers showing that good writing can evoke laughter as well as pathos, smiles as well as frowns and we found no better way to wrap up the meeting.
Coming up: Florida Writers Association Regional Director for Central Florida, AJ Robinson, will speak at the Feb 6th meeting on the New Publishing World. Mark the first meeting in February on your calendar.
Once again, thank you Kat, for the great presentation.
Our next meeting will be January 16th, see you then.