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: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

After a dreary, wet, overcast day, I wondered about poor attendance as I opened the meeting room and prepared for another session of the Sarasota Writers Group's Wednesday night meeting. My worries were groundless as 22 people gathered for yet another session of reading prose and poetry and the diverse comments and discussions that follow.

Bob Taylor, winner of the 2012 Royal Palm Literary Award for his memoir, Hardship Post, joined us for the first time as well as Jenny Oberg, Theresa Jordan, and Dean Telfer. We welcomed back Jack Wetherson, Ron Babcock, Cathy Marine and newest FWA member, Ernie Ovitz. Bob made the long drive from Punta Gorda as does regular Pat Patterson, Jenny drove from North Port, while Ernie and Linda, as well as Ron, made the trip from Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton. We appreciate their effort and time to join us for our meetings. Kat Levato also makes the drive from North Port, and many of our members drive regularly from Englewood, so our location is proving to be centrally located.

After our meet and greet session, I opened the meeting with FWA announcements, and passed out all of my past issues of The Florida Writer, the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, as my current issues for distribution haven't arrived yet. I am trying to get more issues for those who didn't get one at the meeting. The magazine has contact information as well as giving a good overview of the FWA itself. Bob Taylor graciously addressed the group briefly about his experiences with submitting to the Royal Palm Literary awards competition.

Rod DiGruttolo opened the reading and handled the 14 readers with his usual aplomb and skill. Everyone who wanted to read material got to read, and we had another great night of original material, including Kerri Dieffenwierth's award winning poem, “Angels in my Swamp.”

"Angels in my Swamp
When the peace in me
allowed her bellow to reverberate,
to rumble past moist heated air
When apple snails clutched Sawgrass,
adrift in tannic sparkle.
While we searched for clues
Swamp offered her seasons
And mama gator
scrutinized predators
to keep her hatchlings safe.
Cypress trunks resemble aged ball gowns,
Standing in honor of Seminole, Creek, Miccosukee
…of you.
Brown hands bent pliable shoots to mark these trails
(This is the way in. This is the way out)
If you run your hand down the wood slowly, it won't leave a splinter.
Feel who treaded soaked ground.
They are still here.
End-of-summer air.
Sweat rolling down spines.
Step into Florida's shelter.
The coolness of the water will startle.
Watch shoes and shins disappear into her broth.
Kerri Dieffenwierth

Linda Schell read first with another chapter of "Come Along With Me," the adventures of Gracie, a dwarf kangaroo from the 36th dimension geared for the 8 to 12 year olds. Positive comments and good feedback in the discussion that followed. First time guest Jenny Oberg faced her fears and bravely read a poem dedicated to her mother to a room full of strangers. Her sensitive, emotion-evoking writing was well received by the group. Really well done and we look forward to Jenny becoming a regular member. We are no longer strangers.

Kerri Dieffenwierth, who doesn't consider herself a poet, read her award winning poem “Angels in My Swamp,” printed above, and announced she'll finish her Masters program in Maine next month. Congratulations, Kerri!  Yes, you are a poet.

Ed Ellis read a short story called “The Legend of Harbor Rock,” where in 2043, Gene swallows nanobots by mistake and becomes Nancy the Nympho. We may need to split the tables between Ed and Andrew. More great fun writing from Ed. Don Westerfield brought us back to earth with “Rain Barrel,” a melancholy piece that shows Don's ability to “taste eternity.” He warned Joanne to have her handkerchief ready. More great writing from Don.

Ron Babcock kept the group enthralled with his reading of “A Walk in Hell,” a memoir describing his battle with cancer that met with good feedback and positive comments. Ernie Ovitz, our newest FWA member, read from his upcoming, “The Seventh King,” a historical novel set in the Roman outposts of Bulgaria in the year 303. Great writing and incredible research, we look forward to more of Ernie's writing. Good feedback and really good comments followed the reading.

Jim Kelly continuously proves his prowess with poetry, and he did it once more with two great poems, “Heaven and Earth,” and “Just One.” (Alliteration is as close as I get to poetry) Jim has published two books of poetry, “The Place,” and “From the Embers,” and we look forward to his upcoming third volume. Heaven and Earth, is printed with Jim's permission .

Heaven and Earth

I gaze skyward;
heaven appears as an unmade bed
covers and sheets tossed
into ragged heaps.

A gaunt, haggard face emerges,
wanders off
much like the stranger in the woods
leaving his tattered tent.

Tomorrow's sky
will come and change its linens;
rain will spring through holes
in the torn, blue tarp.

I turn my head
and walk away from heaven
the sounds of raindrops
dripping on my conscience.

James O. Kelly

Rod took us to break time with his saga about “Ron” and “Betty” in a narrative called “Betty's New Hip”. A personal glimpse into the trauma of having a loved one “land on the floor.” We all wish Betsy, oops, Betty, a speedy recovery. We don't get to listen to Rod's writing as often as we like.

After a ten minute break, followed by a few more comments about the legal issues of using trademarks, we resumed with Andrew Parker reading his final chapter of “Reality Gone Wrong,” with Dr. Blake Brimstone and Roach Rhino. Andrew is pursuing publishing on either Kindle (Amazon) or on Smash Word, and we'll know shortly when to expect Andrew's writings to be available.

Joanne Phillips read an opening from her new work, “Matrix of Life.” A completely different tack for Joanne and it sounds great so far. Beth Rice read the continuation of her first chapter of her work, “Paw Prints are Forever,” to good comments and discussion.

 Kitt Crescendo, at Peter Frickel's request, read a blog about the benefits of
writing, or reading, erotic romance. The discussion and comments that
followed were entertaining, to say the least. 

Last reader of the day was once again Rod, who read the opening chapter, “Reflections at a Funeral,” of Jung Sok Yo's “Winds of Desire.” Rod started on part of the second chapter when we realized we'd gone beyond our stop time and decided to wait until next meeting to resume reading.

It isn't often I have the opportunity to present someone's impressions of meeting our diverse, eclectic group for the first time. With her gracious permission, I have included Jenny Oberg's reflections of her first meeting of the Sarasota Writers Group. As she says “I felt like writing my thoughts of it... It has sparked "the writing bug..."

Into a unpaved, disorderly, rock filled parking lot I roll,
About to step through the threshold of a new experience,
I am greeted by a man who I have never met, yet seem to know,
His eyes glimmer with passion; a passion for the written word,
As my eyes take survey of the room; that I have set forth,
I see archaic news clippings of past fires and proud plaques of honor,
Every person that I see has a story to tell,
A man who has a melodic, British accent; one where I wish I could just sit and listen to,
I picture him sitting in an upright, leather chair with a roaring fire with a glass of bourbon,
A woman who sports fiery red hair and is adorned in a sparkly sweater; which both match her personality,
I see a lady who emits spunk and has a mischievous glimmer in her eye...
Who writes about intimate moments that make my eye brows raise and my eyes enlarge,
Then, there's the man sitting next to me; a gentle soul who sounds like my Papa...
With a voice that is deep and brings my mind back to the sweet, woodsy smell of my Papa's cigars...
It is true to say our enemies make us stronger.. for the gentle soul went to war against a sinister being called Cancer and proved his tenacity and laughed it in the face!
Amongst complete strangers, I read my inner thoughts aloud...
I hear my voice projecting every word...
I feel utter disbelief and pride, that it is me who I hear...
Amongst complete strangers....who have a story, an imagination and a churning mind,
I feel like I belong, in my chair, at a firehouse, on a rainy night.

Jenny Oberg

See everyone June 19th!

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