Saturday, October 27, 2007
As you know, I'm teaching English 102 at Gibbs College in Norwalk on Tuesday nights with Chris Emmerson-Pace. Our students are working hard on their writing skills, and have really responded to the "feedback" format--we've managed to show them that criticism does not mean "you suck", but rather, "here's how you can improve"!
We thought it would be a WONDERFUL opportunity for our students to see a real writer's workshop in action, so the NOVEMBER 27 MEETING HAS BEEN MOVED TO GIBBS COLLEGE IN NORWALK. We'll have a nice, large -- QUIET -- space to meet in, and we'll invite the students to sit in on our circle and comment.
GIBBS COLLEGE is VERY easy to reach, and it's not that much further from our old meeting place at Barnes & Noble in Norwalk. Please consider joining us in inspiring young writers! Plan on arriving at 6:45, as usual, and we'll start at around 7:00.
Several months ago Yvonne sat in a Pencils! meeting listening to others' fiction and thought to herself, "I can't be that creative" (she has always written stunning creative nonfiction). Well, she has happily proven herself wrong. She apparently has been hit with a fantastic story idea that has been literally keeping her up at night, and has several pages already.
Congratulations, Yvonne! We'll look forward to hearing your fiction and happy writing! (Don't you just WISH you had a story that kept you from sleeping??)
Jen Connic's been busy scaring up a few ghost stories. Her video work is highlighted at North Jersey.com. Just follow this link and scroll down about halfway. The video link is on the right (you'll see her name there).
Happy haunting and great job, Jen!
On our homepage:
~ A link to National Novel Writing Month's website to make it easier to sign up! (Hint, hint...)
~ A brand new Pencils! Resource page, which lists the expertise our members (those of you who responded) have to offer.
On the Pencils! Scrapbook page:
~ Pencils & Pizza Holiday Party 2003
~ 1st Anniversary Tiki Bar Pool Party 2004
~ 2nd Anniversary Fiesta 2005
~ National Novel Writing Month 2005
~ Sleepy Hollow Field Trip 2007
Be sure to enjoy these photographic journeys down memory lane!
In other news:
~ Invitations to the CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL AT AL'S will be going out in both e-mail and snail-mail at the end of the week. Hope to see you all there!
~ The Pencils! Resource Guide booklet for 2008 is hot off the presses and will be available beginning December 1 at the Christmas party.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
His poem is at the bottom of the Poetry table of contents here: http://www.flashquake.org
Here are links to the other poems they bought:
First off, I don’t think that anyone who tells you your master’s degree is “not that much work” is FULL OF IT!! I’ve been working my tail off. I’m super busy, but never been happier. Now I just need to get out of my 9-5 job, and life would be perfect!
Anyway, here’s to catching up on some Pencils! items: I’ve decided I’d combine the notes from the last two meetings since many of the announcements are going to be the same.
SLEEPY HOLLOW is SATURDAY! Don’t forget, we’ll be meeting at at the Barnes & Noble in
Please bring $12 for admission and additional cash for the gift shop and lunch, if applicable. We’re JUST AT 10 people, but I did not register us as a group because there’s usually a last-minute cancellation or someone doesn’t show up, and we don’t want to be stuck with the bill as the paying in advance is non-refundable. In addition, there are people who said they may come but aren’t sure yet. We’ll pay at the door and break ourselves into two smaller groups.
For anyone who’s driving, I think there MIGHT be a toll somewhere along the line, but I’m not sure. If there is one, it’ll be small.
I’ll bring plenty of directions to everywhere on Saturday morning. We’ll see you there!
PENCILS! 5TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL will be held
NANOWRIMO IS ALMOST HERE! Who’s gonna do it? Well, so far from Pencils!, it’s Kaye, Jerry, and John P. Wanna take a stab at writing 50,000 words in 30 days? Sign up at www.nanowrimo.org. Also, since there’s a CT: Shoreline and a CT: North, and several of us in “western” CT – the
NEW PROSPECTS! I’ve gotten five calls in the past two weeks with inquiries regarding Pencils!, as they’ve been seeing our listings in local newspapers. Please be aware that at the next couple of meetings, potential new members may be showing up. Make them feel welcome!
BOY I MISS ALL YOU GUYS!! I’ll be at the meeting on
Thanks so much to JOYCE for keeping track of everyone’s submissions and keeping me informed of what’s been happening at the meetings, and thanks so much to Vance and Carol for keeping tabs on things and to everyone in Pencils! to keep our meetings productive and healthy while I’m gone!
And now, on with the show of this week’s readings!
1. Jerry wrote the prompt: “In the hospital, I sat with her for an hour. She raised her head every few minutes to take a gasping breath, and at first I was fooled each time into thinking she would wake up. Then her brother came in, and we held each other and cried like men.”
2. Thomas was up with “Five Things You Shouldn’t Say in Church or Synagogue”: “…During the service, which was in Hebrew, I had plenty of time to think about what to say. As we left my fiancé at the time (now wife) greeted the rabbi, then it was my turn. I dug deep within and said, as rabbi turned to me, “I’m with her.” That was it. Then my small talk well ran completely dry. I shot my load. I had nothing in reserve.”
3. Joyce brought more of Venus Ascending, “The Christmas Party.” “Estelle had been living alone for almost two weeks. She’d been opening the windows a little each night and keeping herself warm under an extra blanket. The bracing sea air had deodorized the rank small of cigarettes and bird droppings, and infused her with energy and purpose.”
4. Carol Becker shared part of the first chapter of her novel Finding Rachel: “Twenty years earlier, the railroad brought Rachel and her family from
5. Nick brought in one of his Darien News-Review (I think it was pending) columns for his regular “From My Post Road Window” entitled “Entiende”: “Then she told me that almost every night when her driver brought her back to her hotel she would walk past a sea of desperate women and children. And she told me that…she saw a man who at first she thought a dog…his arms were gone above the elbow and his legs above his knees. He used all fours to move, slowly, in pain, not caring if a car would stop or not.”
6. Roger delivered another chapter—“Sumo Size Me”—from his book How My Retirement Went South. “Foodies that we are, Betty and I found it particularly hard to swallow the supermarkets and restaurants down South…having eaten at over a thousand restaurants in
Thanks again, Joyce, for mailing me everybody’s stuff! Note: Henderson and Nick’s pieces—Henderson’s the introduction to the two factions in the Normal camp and Nick’s a poem comparing New York’s meat packing district then and now—were lost somewhere in transit, but we do have these others:
1. Judith announced that she was just “sick” of SHU, and boy, I’m sure several of us can understand that: sometimes, you’ve “just got to put the damn thing down!”. She decided to take a stab at something new. “To think that the ideas of Alan Greenspan and Charles Darwin combined right here in
2. Joyce presented more of Venus Ascending. “Her round body had the curve of an Art Nouveau lamp base; her skirt and jacket were filled with flowers in flowing forms of burnt orange and turquoise. Leah raised her head as high as her neck would stretch, her mercurochrome hair pressed toward the ceiling. “There’s a limit to how long you should suffer when you’ve made the wrong decision. I’m the kind of person who belongs in a house with shapely lines and exuberant patterns.”
3. Roger brought the rest of “Sumo
Monday, October 8, 2007
Hello, folks! Rockin' meeting the other night! Here's the run-down for those of you who missed it.
~ FIELD TRIP TO SLEEPY HOLLOW: …and writer Washington Irving's homestead is slated for Saturday, October 20. Snail-mail and e-mail details will be sent out shortly; cost is $11/per person.
~ PENCILS! 5TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL: Set for Saturday, December 1! Details to follow soon, so watch your mailboxes!
~ 2008 SCHEDULE is now posted on the Pencils! website.
~ NANOWRIMO IS COMING. It starts November 1. Check it out at www.nanowrimo.org.
~ RESOURCE BOOK: Don't forget to contribute your areas of expertise to our resource book! The print edition, which will contain contact information, will be available ONLY to Pencils! members. The page on our website will only contain your first name and your areas of expertise. We're looking right now at a January publication date.
~ PENCILS! PRE-TEXT: Look forward to this exciting new Pencils! feature in January!
~ Kaye will be in Walt Disney World from September 18 through September 23. See you all at the meeting on the 25th!
We kicked off the meeting with some prompts, but not many of us had the opportunity to doing them, so we'll run the same prompt again for those of you who still want to take a shot at it. The prompt is, write 500 words or fewer containing the following:
"There was nothing left to see."
At the meeting, the following people shared their prompts:
1. Vance presented "Egyptian Illusion", about archaeologists and some pretty deeply-buried secrets at a dig site.
2. Carol Becker presented "Seeing in the Dark" about campers and a night in the Adirondack woods.
The reviewed readings:
1. Claudia opened us up with her poem "The Parting": "Drops now pounding/Tree boughs gyrate in backup harmony…/I embrace the turmoil/Storm is seceding…/I keep moving…"
2. Roger was next up with another chapter from How My Retirement Went South... "There was only one dealer in the entire city, so if you want a Mercedes, you're going to pay…dearly. Now take my Volkswagen. When I went shopping for it in New York, I had five different dealers in the area to compare prices with. In Charlotte, there were two—both owned by the same owner."
3. Joyce is submitting her story "Just Like a Man" to Whatever! Literary Magazine. "Since I was the one facing forward, I was the logical navigator, but I didn't have a clue. We were going through a black forest of masts and I had no idea where Semper Paratus was. I could only guide Frank past mooring lines and keep an eye open for his boat.
4. Welcome back, AL!! He brought in a couple of poems, one I can't remember the name of (shame on me, and it was a new one, too) and also an old Pencils! favorite, "Introspective Retrospect."
5. Carol McManus shared "On Maui Again" – a humorous essay about her experiences at the Maui Writer's Conference, which she attended over Labor Day Weekend. The whole thing spawned a brief discussion about the book business and authorship today.
6. Henderson was up next with part of his novel The Eight Fold Way. "You sit tight. I'll keep you informed. This may be just the break we need to find out who's behind these attacks."/Charles, the yellow green of concern moving in waves across his face, started at him, silent."
7. Kaye read her short story "Camouflage" which was really quite a mess but is definitely going to benefit from the help she got! "…he was the tree, she was the vine, and they had navigated their new landscape until the specter of her married roots had intruded."
Quotes of the Night
"I'm learning how to lie, I suppose."
--Carol Becker, on memoir
Henderson: When I hear a poem like that I wonder…how I missed it all.
Roger: Al went to the Keith Richards School of Life.
--on Al's poem, "Introspective Retrospect."
"Deconstructing Fireflies" will be out in the new Tyrannosaurus Press anthology (title TBA) this December or so.
In addition, I am a fiction editor on the staff at The Pitkin Review, Goddard College's literary journal. (I got this title back in July, but forgot to tell you all.)
1) My falling-asleep-at-the-wheel poem "My Old Friend The Road" is now online at From the Asylum. Much better than usual pay for poetry too-- I can probably get TWO happy meals off this sale! And a Milkshake!!! :) Look under September 2007 at http://www.fromtheasylum.com
2) This just in today-- A friend let me know that she's already received her copy of Year's Best Fantasy & Horror 2007 (in stores tomorrow) and Yours Truly got an Honorable Mention nod in the back of it for my story "Even at the End, There was Gridlock" which appeared in Florida Horror last February. Want your own copy?
3) And last but not least, word from editor William Jones and the folks at Chaosium is that Frontier Cthulhu, in which my story "Something to Hold the Door Closed" appears alongside stories by some of the leading names in Lovecraftian fiction, will be shipping before Halloween. Pre-orders are being taken at http://catalog.chaosium.com
I mentioned being cast as a 19th century whaler for a series of oil paintings a while back. Just received digital images of the first one and they are in my picasa album at the links below. I am amazed at the likeness! Anywho, here's the links, in case you wanted to see how the paintings turned out.