We encourage everyone to bring spouses, friends, and a treat to share. As always, we remind everyone, our firefighter friends will gladly polish off any leftover treats, please don’t hold back. The food will not go to waste, though it may go to waist.
Our annual Christmas meeting is a light, fun affair; we encourage those so inclined to bring a “Short” humorous or seasonal piece to read. The party begins with food, fun, and good conversation. We look forward to seeing all our members and hope many of our old friends come by to join in the fun.
Doug Sahlin has issued a new creative challenge theme for the January 3rd meeting: Obsession, Possession, Confession. He challenges us to write a short creative piece using one or more of the three subjects. We encourage everyone to keep the story short, no more than 500 to 700 words, so everyone has a chance to read and receive feedback from the group. Our last challenge was on the subject of wine and was well received.
Thirteen writers joined us for the meeting and everyone brought something to read. We decided to waive discussion time and get right to the readings. We were most pleased to welcome Ellie Blackden, age 13, and her dad, age not revealed, to our group. Ellie says she's excited about writing and working on a dystopian novel with plans to self-publish using CreateSpace. She brought the first draft of Chapter One to read for us.
We typically read in order from our sign-in sheet and, as Ed Ellis arrived first, he was first on our list. His opening poem was thoughtful and thought-provoking; Ed had several requests for copies.
Peter Frickel shared a poem, Bananas, delivered with style, diction, and aplomb only Peter can muster. He followed the poem with a philosophical monologue entitled Truth, before giving us his take on the spirit of wine with Ubachata. It was great fun, and Peter, I hope I got the spelling right.
Jim Jacobs was up next, his piece took us to the “Twilight Zone” of Townland, a place where every man is named Sam. His concept intrigued the group as he received many comments and, we hope, helpful suggestions to take away.
Kathleen Kilpatrick read next. She also delved into the surreal with The Persistence of Time. A story inspired by Salvador Dali's famous painting. She tells of an inheritance which leads her protagonist on a journey of discovery, finding a family she never knew and an unexpected destiny.
Our next author surprised the group with a generous gift. Bruce Haedrich brought in several copies of the newest book in his Dan Marin Mystery Series, Finding Chloe, and passed them out to the group. We thought they looked great but Bruce was dissatisfied with the cover. His dissatisfaction was our gain. I am a Dan Marin reader and highly recommend Bruce’s books to any mystery fan. Thanks Bruce!
Our readings continued with Don Westerfield as he shared another chapter from his military memoir. He had us laughing and shaking our heads in amazement at his humorous story of the jet engine that started itself. Knowing Don's penchant for storytelling, at the conclusion of his reading several members of the group asked, “Did that really happen?” He swears it did; he's never fibbed to us before. Don's chosen title is, Echoes of Engines and Men. He says he's close to having it ready for publication, something we eagerly await .
Kathleen, our New Englander, returned to us for the season. She kept us laughing, while making a few of us blush momentarily, as we heard her story The Mud Room. Oh my, I would not want to be that fellow. The big dummy got what was coming to him, that’s for sure. I might have gotten a little red around the cheeks as it was a juicy tale in Kathleen's unique style.
George Milburn had a tough act to follow but was up to the challenge as he shared his work in progress Living and Dying in Osprey, Chapter 3. Set in the war torn years of the early 1940’s, murder was afoot in the Village of Osprey, Florida. His protagonist, Evelyn, discovers her friend Dorothy's parents murdered and Dorothy near death. We're eager to see where George takes us as the murder mystery unfolds.
After our 8:00 pm break, Debbie MacAvoy read Chapter 2 of her work in progress, The Manipulator. Also set in the 1940’s, Debbie’s story takes place in New York. She has the authentic New York dialog mastered and in this chapter Teddy, a New York City boy, finds himself on a farm upstate. For Teddy and his farm hosts, John and Martha, it’s culture shock to the n'th degree. The situation tests them all. Debbie asked the group for comments and suggestions. Ed Ellis and others were eager to help. We will be interested to hear what she has for us next time.
Doug Sahlin shared his moving piece Words of Love. The discovery of letters from a loved one lost. The writing came from the heart and we thank Doug for sharing with us.
Ed Feldman took up the wine challenge with enthusiasm. He turned it into a longer piece with the story of a successful but lonely man cuckolded by a younger second wife. The poor guy’s life spirals down until wine snobbery becomes the driving insult and ultimate final straw. Ed is complimented on his writing style and we look forward to hearing more.
Ellie Blackman, our final reader, sat patiently through our meeting and listened to the readers with interest. Though our time was drawing to a close, all agreed we wanted to hear Ellie’s piece. She presented us with printed copies from Chapter 1. Her words painted a dark picture of civilization’s collapse. Through it all, her protagonist and dog, Buddy, manage to survive. We wonder what will happen next. We hope Ellie and her dad return to share more of her story and let us see how she progresses. Ellie, you are most welcome anytime.
Thanks to all of our participants, and we look forward to seeing all of our Sarasota Writers at our Christmas party, December 20th.
Keep on writing.