Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pencils! Points: September 25 & October 9, 2007

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 9 a.m. at the Barnes & Noble in NORWALK on Route 1. From there, we’ll pile into cars and head on down to Sleepy Hollow to Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. When we return to Norwalk, we’ll head on over to Nick’s bistro at 70 Main Street for a spot of lunch, for those of you who’d like to join us.

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 Saturday, December 1, 2007 at Al Maryanne’s in Norwalk. Watch your mail boxes: you’ll be getting the official invitations in the next week or so complete with details and what to bring! This fantastic gathering is not to be missed – and for our landmark 5th holiday together, we’ve got at least one large and unusual surprise planned!

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 Also, since there’s a CT: Shoreline and a CT: North, and several of us in “western” CT – the Danbury, etc., area – are over an hour from all those region’s meet-ups, we slated our own meet-ups and write-ins up Kaye’s way in the Danbury and New Milford area. We’ll be having a Kick-Off Meet-Up, three coffee shop write-ins, and a TGIO gathering. All the events are on Sunday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you’d like to attend one of those instead of traveling all the way to Milford or Hamden or out that way, gimmie a shout through NanoMail and I’ll put you on my invites list. We in Western CT are few but mighty!

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 Tuesday, November 27, 2007—our last meeting for 2007 and just a few days from our Christmas Cocktail bash! To those of you I won’t see at Sleepy Hollow, I’ll see you all then. Until then, happy writing and keep checking your e-mail boxes!

Pencils! Points: September 25, 2007

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 New York City to Greenwood, Mississippi after spending two years sharing cramped quarters with cousins, also German immigrants led to believe the streets there were paved with gold. Cobblestones, yes, but certainly not gold.”

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 New York and hundreds more around the country and abroad. It shouldn’t surprise you then when I tell you that we ate at over one hundred restaurants during the two years that we lived in Charlotte.”

Pencils! Points: October 9, 2007

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 India to produce a system which trumped centuries of humble acceptance of life’s vicissitudes. Before my eyes was a display of aggressive behavior competing for scarce goods that would rival that of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on a Friday afternoon.”

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 Size Me.” “Now when it comes to “deli,” you have to admit New York City has no peers. so, to satisfy my urge, Betty and I decided to go to a recently opened “New York Deli” that earned high marks from a local reviewer.”

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