Sunday, April 1, 2007

Pencils! Points: March 13, 2007

Pencils! Points: March 13, 2007


Walt, who joined Pencils! in January of 2006 but who was a member of another Barnes & Noble writer's group with me back in 2003, has announced that he and his wife will be leaving the Danbury area and settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His wry humor, thoughtful critique, and entertaining stories about the lively characters who populated 2nd Avenue will definitely be missed. He, right now, has stories coming up in future issues of Mouth Full of Bullets and Lunch Hour Stories. I'm not sure when he's leaving—he may have already left or it may be as of April 1. We wish him luck and will keep him, at his request, on the Pencils! e-mail list. Best of luck, Walt, and keep us posted in all your placements so we can read them!

John Palisano has mentioned he'd love to have a party one of these upcoming Saturdays. He'd wanted to do it in March, but the time slipped away. Stay tuned!

Mouth Full of Bullets has in its Spring Issue, 2007, a tribute to Keith as well as one of his stories. You can read it on the web, or download the whole thing as a PDF to print out. Visit

Now that we've got tons more members and less time thanks to Borders' early closure, we've started brainstorming about ways we could still have everyone get in as much reading time at the meetings. When we were large and back at Barnes & Noble, we did have a five-page double-spaced limit, and this seemed to work. Input is welcome…we started the discussion five minutes before closing last time, and hopefully we'll pick it up again at the meeting this Tuesday.


We had a terrific meeting! The critical discussion, especially lately, has really been top-notch. Here's the details for those of you who missed it:

1. Ann kicked off the meeting with three of her poems. They were untitled, so here's some lines from one of them: "So here we are now/At each other's cheeks/Drawn together/In a tesh/Like Siamese twins."

2. Henderson surprised everybody with a new project! "The Eight-Fold Way." This sci-fi fling was such a different turn from Henderson's usual work. "He flashed a friendly zigzag pattern and I matched it, even though I knew he expected little from me, and we had little regard for each other, as it happened. His screen faded to blank." Some of us kept copies so we could read the other half.

3. Jerry was up next with a flash fiction entry for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. "She was glad to be rid of them, and the money would enable her and Ramon to live in luxury in his native Spain."

4. Next up was Judith with more of SHU, for which she is now looking for an agent. "You keep repeating that you feel as if it is you who are doing those crimes. You feel the same shame, shock and guilt, as they do. As if you have changed something in the world that you had no right to change, as if you have transgressed against the gods."

5. Kathryn, after presenting over the weekend at Arcadia Coffee, was back with a new endeavor for her: short fiction called "The Golden Boy." "Already his ability to learn adult decision-making sills, like the ability to focus, to discriminate, to predict and ponder questions of right and wrong, was becoming impaired."

6. Mike presented the first part of his short fiction, "The Changing Room." Some of us kept copies so we could read the other half. "But on this December day the sky was painted with cobblestone-colored winter clouds, and the Lady remained a dreary shade of mashed peas. With a stiff wind forcing her to draw her knit shawl closer to her breast, Mary glanced at the gathering storm."

7. Welcome back Vance, who has returned from sunny Spain! He brought with him a short piece called "Paganini's Plight." "Colors of notes burst forth in reds, yellows, and oranges on the highs; aqua, greens turquoise and blues on the lows. The middle range held bright clear pastel colors enhanced by white."

At March 27's meeting, we're starting with Roger, since he didn't get a chance to read.

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