As always, Rod DiGruttolo kicked off our meeting with a warm welcome and opened the room for announcements.
Ed Ellis announced that the Englewood Authors and Venice Writers group will be blending together. Meetings will be held every second Wednesday of the month at Jacaranda Trace. Details can be found HERE. Their next meeting will include a class on memoir writing.
Kerri Dieffenwierth also encouraged our group to check out The Hermitage Artist Retreat where she volunteers. They recently had a beach reading on Manasota Key, and will have a pioneer days open house on September 1st. For details, click the link above.
Rod also kicked off the readings for the evening by reading a short story written by Kitt Crescendo called A Final Goodbye. It had been written on Memorial Day to honor our fallen soldiers and their families. It touched JoAnne Phillips' big heart.
Next, Rod gave us a special treat and read chapter 7 from his manuscript "Disciple Of Darkness". It was a twist from Rod's usual playful work. This delved into the darkness of the racial issues in the south. The focus was on a young boy witnessing the torture and death of two black household servants at the hands of his father and the KKK. The reading was riveting and harrowing at the same time. We look forward to hearing more of this dark tale.
Rod followed it up with a more lighthearted read from his 250 word "all dialogue" challenge. His was entitled "Lost". There was a lot of laughter as the characters argued over directions and street names...probably because we've all been there.
Ernie Ovitz took a departure from "Seventh King" to share his 250 word challenge with us. His dialogue brought onto a Naval carrier ship and an accident with a plane. It left us breathless with excitement. He followed it up with a playful poem with a simple message..."stupid is as stupid does".
Laura Harrison also shared her 250 word challenge called "Overheard From The Laundry Room". In her dialogue we were given a taste of why it's so important to treat others the way you'd want to be treated as well as why a person might put a ceiling fan in the laundry room. It also called to light how certain words, over time, have changed meanings.
Newcomer Joseph Pappy introduced himself and his book "The Decline And Fall Of The US Empire". As English is his third language, he's looking for an editing partner to assist with his most recent manuscript regarding womens issues and the negative impact caused by religious beliefs in various countries. If you are interested, please contact him directly.
Jenny Oberg wrote a piece on ghosts inspired by George and Ilsa Mindling's visit to St Augustine. Basically she spoke to the feeling that "we are not alone" and the impression that loved ones have a way of coming to us to give us comfort and touch us when we need it.
Ed Ellis wrote a non-fiction piece called "No Boundaries" where he discussed the mind, time and consciousness as it pertains to thermodynamics. His inner scientist definitely showed through on this particular piece.
Jeff Cochran shared a chapter from his manuscript called "Entering The Tavern" which found his protagonist time travelling through a portal from the 70's into the 18th century. He managed to catch the uneasy feeling and fear of changing the past in this chapter as his character searched for a young lady we simply know as "Rebecca".
JoAnne Phillips, author of "Adventures of a Sea Hag" continued reading from her manuscript called "Matrix Of Life". In this piece, the grandparents have moved away from Pennsylvania to a "haunted house" in New Jersey. That summer, during her first visit to her grandparents' new home, she had her first encounter with ghosts. This was definitely a bittersweet point in the protagonist's life as her grandparents were the constant in her very volatile life. When her reading was finished we had only one question... Does she really see dead people?
Don Westerfield showed of his cheeky humor as he read a short piece called "Humanities 101" about his first college course after leaving the military. The humanities professor was sexy, but definitely with a liberal bend. She invited an "up and coming" young poet to share his work with the class. The piece was called "Looking At The World Through A Glass Asshole". The piece was unique and full of cursing leaving half the class shocked while the other half cheered. As he read the story to our group we roared with laughter all silently thanking our lucky stars that this "poet" didn't put Don off writing poetry forever.
Beth Rice, author of "I'm Adopted, I'm Special" and blogger of Animal Tales Blog continued with a chapter from her manuscript "Pawprints Are Forever" called "Mean Girl". Here she introduces us to one of the most rude, obnoxious bullies...who also happened to be a co-worker. At the end of her reading, many of us felt someone should have reported this woman to HR or something. The woman's hatefulness came through, and we all hoped she would get her comeuppance...and soon!
Ron Babcock wrote a piece called "Sunflower Escape" where he took us through how truly long a couple of hundred feet can seem when you're at war. The protagonist was trying to get across a field of sunflowers with enemy closing in behind him and a sprained right leg. He ended it with a play on how the "chicken crossed the road" and sending a light chuckle through the crowd.
Kerri Deiffenwierth rounded out the night by reminding us of the importance of reading as writers. She also talked about writing what you love and how much more powerful your words can be when you love what you're writing. She concluded by reading an excerpt from "The Heart Of The Monster" by David James Duncan and Rick Bass and how their love for the Pacific Northwest shines through in their descriptions.
Surprisingly, Peter Frickel, author of My Frog Sings and Lotha and the Three Crosses along with the blog "I Think" chose to be a listener and conversation moderator this evening. We look forward to hearing more about his current work in progress about travelling the breadth and width of Africa.
Somehow, even without George, it felt like he had an impact on our meeting. There was an awful lot of ghost type stories that night...as if, somehow, his St Augustine visit (a ghostie town, to be sure) somehow found it's way into our readings. ;-)
Our next meeting is tonight, August 21st. We look forward to seeing you all there!
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