Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. We meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Nokomis Fire Station. Coming from Sarasota or North, proceed a few blocks south of Albee Road on US 41 (past Matthews-Currie Ford) to Pavonia Road. Turn right (West, toward the bay) at the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are 2 blocks north of Dona Bay. Turn left onto Pavonia Road at the flashing yellow caution light. At the Fire Station, drive to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room at the far end of the complex. We Gather for a meet and greet at 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten-minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Adjourned: 9:00 pm

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tables were laden with all sorts of goodies and treats... Cookies, cakes, pies, finger foods...even champagne and coffee!

Yep. You guessed it! This Wednesday was our Christmas Holiday Party!
This is a special day at Sarasota Writers.... We bring our loved ones and introduce them to the other folks who are helping us chase our dreams and pushing us to grow and be better in our writing.
The first part of our meeting was spent chatting, hugging, and sharing our best holiday wishes with one another....and then we got down to business.
Don Westerfield kicked us off with a Christmas poem he'd written that called to mind warmth, comfort and love.
Kitt Crescendo read a poem on behalf of George Collias, author of Myahmuh: a Novel of Miami, Florida and Sandspurs: Limericks by a Native Floridian. I'm posting it below for the enjoyment of those from the group who weren't able to be there to appreciate his playful wittiness.
The Night Before Christmas (with apologies to Clement Moore)
'Twas the night before Christmas and at the Nokomis F.D.
All the writers were stirring, except maybe me.
I had over-eggnogged it before the meeting,
And at the moment my head was taking a beating.
We had all ordered pizza as energy for the night,
And the growling of stomachs had grown to its height.
Kitt began speaking, I think about IMAX,
Or it could have been something that sounded like climax?
Peter had a new book and he gave a great talk,
I knew if I had to follow him I'd just have to walk.
JoAnne read some good stuff about sailing and boats,
I roused myself and began taking illegible notes.
When from the parking lot we heard a noise so shrill,
Had the pizza guy's car hit my Honda Fit's grill?
Then there crashed through the door a man who, for some reason,
Was dressed all in red - was Dominos observing the season?
Over his shoulder this bearded guy had a huge sack,
There was surely enough pizza there to feed our whole pack.
George shouted "Food!" and tackled the guy,
Rod ripped his bag open and yelled, "Where is the pie?"
We all crowded over him, looking for eats,
Any pizza would do whether vegetarian or meats.
We found dolls and trucks, zombies and plastic pheasants,
But there was no food inside, only lots of crummy presents.
Then the man in red bellowed, "I'm not the pizza guy with yummies!
Don't you know Santa Claus when you see him, you dummies?"
We were astonished and pleaded, "We're sorry!" and more,
But dragging his bag, he stormed through the door.
We saw him mount a sleigh and yell, "Go!" to his deer,
Then they all flew away - let me tell you, that was queer.
We were sure he'd be back with toy trains and fudge,
For Santa's not known for holding a grudge.
But we heard him exclaim as he clutched his torn cap,
"If you think I'll be back next year, you're all full of crap."
Megan Brown was back from college and read a peace she'd written for the holiday. Although it was untitled, it was definitely full of the Christmas spirit: Peace, the Christmas Tree and what it symbolizes, celebration, joy and gifts. It really was quite lovely.
Ernie Ovitz took us to his newest Work In Progress, a sequel to The Seventh King. In this piece we are introduced to Nicholas, Bishop of Myre. He's been teaching the young children of the Roman empire. He's looking on as they play, enjoying their innocence and joy...and very concerned about what lies ahead. Why was this appropriate for Christmas time? Because that Bishop later becomes Saint Nicholas.... We all thought it was a really cool historical tie to the night.
Jim Kelly, author of From The Ember and the Place shared some of the poetry from the 5th grade class at Englewood Elementary where he spends some time helping to draw out the out-of-the-box thinkers and poets in the fertile minds of the younger generation. Their work under his guiding hand is truly impressive.
Beth Rice, author of I'm Adopted, I'm Special and Animal Tales blog, made a triumphant return to our group after a several week hiatus. She announced that one of her pieces had been published in the Florida Writers Association's official publication, The Florida Writer! If you have a subscription, you'll find her poem (untitled) on page 33.
Author of Adventures of a Sea Hag, JoAnne Phillips, shared a poem she wrote entitled "My Perfect Man." This poem talked about the fact that the perfect man isn't always perfect in appearances, but in the way he treats her, the respect he shows her...and all the other intangibles that matter so much in a long termed relationship. It was quite romantic in the way that true unconditional love can be.
Kerri Dieffenwierth made the fantastic announcement that she'll be teaching at State College of Florida where she'll have the opportunity to create her own curriculum to inspire and teach in composition. We know she's going to be a rock star. (Some of us maybe even mentioned coming to sit in on her classes...)
After much discussion about our next meeting, we decided to forego our first meeting in January as everyone would rather be celebrating New Years Day watching football or enjoying family. We will reconvene on Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our first meeting of December found us without JoAnne Phillips as she'd been in an accident earlier. Her feisty personality was missed. Thankfully, we've heard that she's okay and has been seen out and about enjoying the holiday festivities.

Rod DiGruttolo facilitated our meeting and did a great job, as usual.

Our first reader for the evening was Ed Ellis. He shared a piece for critique called "The Power of Abstraction." This piece is one written for his training manuals. In it he helps to define abstraction as it relates to perception and reality.

Next, Jenny Oberg read a piece she called "Letting Go" from her Big Book. In her piece she talks about how finding a way to let go of the past and other things that hold you down open you to freedom. It was beautifully written and spoke to the joys of a well lived life.

Ernie Ovitz decided to change things up a bit, and instead of sharing from his work-in-progress, he read something he'd created for work. In it, he writes a "buyer beware" type alert for flood insurance and the rate increases due to the ambiguity in the way the policies are written...and that a fast fix is unlikely.

Author of  Sandspurs: Limericks by a Native Floridian and Myahmuh: A novel of Miami, Florida, George Collias, shared an excerpt from the second book about the killer and his bouts with sore muscles and headaches due to the exertions his killings have been putting on his not-so-in-shape body. He followed it by sharing a piece called Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman written by Jack Hemingway, a personal friend and son of Ernest Hemingway. In the portion he shared, Jack finds a creative way to smuggle his fly fishing rod with him as he parachutes from a plane into German occupied territory during war time.

Next, one of our resident poets and author of The Place: a collection of poemsJim Kelly, shared a couple of his newest writings. Below is one of the pieces he wrote on 11/5/13.


Sunrise and sunset
pamper the sky
on the edge
where the sea meditates.

Waves tumble ashore:
searching for shadows
they can not own,

wrestling castles from moorings,
erasing memories
little feet scatter in the sand.

Tides rise and fall
through the stillness of night
sifting windows of broken shells.

Full of itself,
the moon reappears
to dance on a glass-like floor;

the ocean unravels in whispers,
like the hem
on a ballroom gown.

Jung Sok Yo asked Kitt Crescendo to read the next portion of his work-in-progress where Father Sebastian and Helga are reunited on her father's passing. This particular part uncovers illicit feelings between Helga and the priest as he tries to come to terms with his feelings and do the right thing based on his vows to the church. The writing has improved significantly since the beginning. The biggest suggestions given were about chapter length (too long right now) and overuse of certain words.

George Mindling, author of US Air Force Tactical Missiles, shared some interesting discoveries he'd made surrounding some of the strange idiosyncrasies regarding the English language in relation to BBC. He also shared with us a list of collective nouns he'd found in a recent post called Fun With Words: Collective Nouns. He also shared a site where you can find editors marks and what they mean.

Kitt Crescendo shared a poem she'd written called Redemption where she put a bit of a twist on the child's prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep". Overall it was well received, but she was asked to speak more slowly next time.

Finally, Rod DiGruttolo closed us out by sharing a portion of his manuscript called "Disciple of Darkness" in which the father of his protagonist is introduced. The man is definitely not a nice person and has ties to the criminal underworld. In this particular chapter, World War I was just beginning and Mr. Wilkes has drawn the attention of the local law. Although nothing is ever proven, it becomes obvious that no charges will ever be filed against Mr. Wilkes because every witness to his misdeeds has a strange way of turning up dead.

Overall, the meeting was enjoyable and there were new faces who joined our group. We look forward to our Christmas party tomorrow.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I know I'm a bit behind on the blogs, but I will be catching up this week.

Please remember that our Christmas meeting is on December 18th. Please feel free to bring your families and some munchies. Any final donations for the use of the room can also be given to George to give to the firehouse.

Rod DiGruttolo and George Mindling shared facilitator duties for our last meeting in November.

Our first reader was Susan Davis. She's in the process of creating a workbook. She shared with us her prologue which dealt with Innovation & Collaboration and Beliefs v. Limits. This will be a Self Help workbook that combines goal attainment with philosophy. She needed some fresh eyes and insights into her work-in-progress and the gang was ready with some great ideas.

JoAnne Phillips, author of Adventures Of A Sea Hag, shared the next portion of her current project, Matrix of Life. This chapter, Jack, was about Legion the dog's competition...a hare named...(you guessed it)...Jack. He gave a new name to "mating like rabbits" and he was indiscriminate about his choices of partners. He'd had affairs with anything that moved, leaving young JoAnne to wonder if the eggs the hens laid would be bunny-free. Grandpa made excuses for the lothario, stating, "That's his job, and he loves his work." Unfortunately, Jack made the mistake of trying to plant his seeds in their goat, Billy...who kicked Jack into the afterlife. JoAnne also shared with us a poem called "Out There" that left us to think.... We are not alone.

Don Westerfield followed with a story written about the first Monoplane and how a man named Lou came to build it. It was an interesting tale of how the building of this particular plane was inspired to be built and that it was only due to the fact that he was the lightest of the group that Lou's friend, Bill, found himself in the cockpit.

Next, Ed Ellis shared a short story he'd created called "A Glowing Green Thumb." This particular story was set in the year 2035 where everyone lived in pods and all communication came through something called "The Pep." The communiques were called PIPs and utilized both shorthand and a limit of 140 characters per message. Think Twitter. The end game to this particular tale? They were invaded by dandelions.
Author of Sandspurs: Limericks By a Native Floridian and Myahmuh: A Novel of Miami, Florida, George Collias, shared Chapter 5 from the latter book with us. In this portion we got to watch the other kids from the perspective of their friend killed in a hit & run accident. Basically, this chapter walks us through a morning with Ray as he gets up to start his morning paper route with his dog, Mo, in tow. George also treated us to one of his little shorts...memories of joining the Marines and Boot Camp. There he learned new insults and how to do push ups with an 80 lb pack on his back.

Kerri Dieffenwierth returned to us to share a moving piece she wrote called "Flesh Undone." Thei piece was so powerful, it brought tears to many eyes that night. In this story she drew us in with the eyes of a young mother, terrified and angry as her child was born both ill and too early. She shared with us the fear and rage and the sense that the world is spinning out of control as she waited by her son's side in a Neonatal ICU, willing fight and life into the son she wasn't sure would make it. Against all odds, he survived. Now he has the ability to infuriate and frustrate just as any child can.

Bart Stamper also came back and shared a piece called "Insertion." In this particular story he was assigned to a special killer team mission to find POWs. There was a thick fog over the mountains as they flew. Although the fog hid them from sight, it also hid the mountains from them, making the flight to the drop zone almost as dangerous as the mission. I strongly recommend you click the link on Bart's name to visit his blog and his incredible stories of his time in Vietnam. Also on his site is a Memorial. If you visit there, you'll be introduced to those who didn't make it.

Andrew Parker shared Chapter 4 from his newest work, "Playing Chess at 91." In this particular chapter we learn that the protagonist is not a fan of the physical therapist assigned to work with him. Unfortunately he's injured and has no choice but to accept her care. Unfortunately she falls asleep on him naked, and no one will take him seriously when he asks to be rescued from beneath her prone form. They keep insisting that she knows what he's doing. Of course, what else can one expect in a boardinghouse run by pharmacists drugging the food. Did I mention the pharmacy plans on bringing more monkeys? Andrew always leaves us guessing...even as we're laughing.

Gene Brown got the courage to stand up and read a Prelude to his current project, a historical piece surrounding the Incans and how they made their gold and silver disappear before the "bearded warriors on horses" could come in with their greed and steal it. The protagonist in this story is a young warrior who is to be entrusted to hide the precious metals from the greedy folks who are willing to hold hostages and kill to get their hands on wealth. It's a good start and a very interesting concept. We're looking forward to seeing the direction he takes with his story.

Ernie Ovitz took the feedback we'd given him and re-read the chapter he'd done on the chase with Red Beard and the Romans when they kidnapped the ambassador's wife. The storyline ran much more smoothly as he adjusted some of his description and the way he laid out the dialogue. Well done!

Jung Sok Yo asked Kerri to read the next portion of his manuscript. The scene was well written as a party at the Waldorf-Astoria to honor Sam, one of New York's elite. Unfortunately, the three women in his life are all there and appear to be drawing invisible lines in the sand for a big, non-verbal cat fight. The female claws and the nuances that happen among jealous women was definitely caught in this scene.

Robbin Thorpe was our final reader of the evening with a piece entitiled "Retired." In this story are bickering spouses on a trip in colder weather who can't seem to agree on much of anything....and with whom technology is beginning to pass by. My favorite line was "The computer is in the clouds." It was clear that the protagonist had no understanding of cloud technology. Definitely a playful way to end the night.