Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Soiree is on tap!

PENCILS! 5TH ANNIVERSARY SOIREE will be held at 3 p.m. JULY 26 at Al & Maryanne's. We're looking at a fantastic turn-out! If I have your deposit from the original date, then I'm assuming you're attending. If you can come now and couldn't before, please drop us a line and let us know. We'll be doing all of our preparation in the next few days.

Walt Featured Flash, Interrogated...

Walt's at it again. Back at the beginning of June, he let me know that his story, "The Case of the Checkered Murder", was the "Featured Flash" for their Minute Mystery June 2008 edition: Summer Heat. Check out his story at

He then interviewed himself. Check it out at the blog here: Click on the Blog Link and scroll down to the Thursday, May 29, 2008 post entitled "The Muse Interrogates…er, Interviews the Author".

Congratulations, Walt! Best of luck with your continued moving and we hope to catch up with you soon!

Kathryn's work in McSweeney's, Farmhouse Magazine

Hey gang,

I got some news from Kathryn last week. She's been happily jamming-busy with her internship at Time, Inc., in New York City, and she reports that with her steady stream of submissions, she's "still trying VERY HARD and getting rejected daily." However, she DID have success—major success—with placing her very funny "Real Historical Dolls: A Catalog" piece in McSweeney's Internet Tendency. You can read it here:

And, just recently, her piece "Painful skin condition afflicts girlfriends/wives of 'hot' guys" appears in Farmhouse Magazine's Summer 2008 Issue. Check that out here:

Congratulations, Kathryn!

Vance graduates from Sacred Heart

It's the moment we've been waiting for: Vance graduated from Sacred Heart University, Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a concentration in writing! The graduation exercises were held May 18.

Kaye new EIC of Pitkin Review

Kaye has been named Editor-in-Chief for the Fall 2008 Issue of Goddard College's Literary Magazine, the Pitkin Review. She's really excited—but, as usual, there's an overwhelming amount of work to be done.

"The Other Joyce" in Musings

Joyce's story, "The Other Joyce"—which she workshopped here awhile back and, as I recall, was really entertaining—was published in the most recent edition of Norwalk Community College's literary magazine, Musings. Congratulations!

Shirley in Musings

I'm pleased to announce that Shirley's poem, "The Avaricious Sea" was recently published in Norwalk Community College's literary magazine, Musings.

Congratulations, Shirley!

Pencils! Points: May 27 & July 8, 2008

Hello, folks…long time no chat! (Let me add here that if you've contacted me by e-mail or phone and I've not gotten back to you—eek! Kathryn and Jen Connic—I've not forgotten you nor am I blowing you off! I'd like to block out some time to, well…CHAT). Due to school and hundreds of other things going on here I regrettably missed the June meetings, so here I present notes from the two terrific meetings I was at!

Welcome Carol McManus' friend Barbara Smith. Barbara took a class with Carol, who will also be returning shortly.

DON'T FORGET THE PENCILS! 5th ANNIVERSARY SOIREE IS SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 2008. Please let us know ASAP if you are coming or not! I'm assuming those of you who said "yes" last time—before the reschedule—will be attending.

STAY TUNED: I've missed LOTS of announcements. They'll be filling up your inboxes very shortly!

In other news, MOUTH FULL OF BULLETS—the terrific 'zine that's published more than a few Pencils! writers, including Jerry, Walt, and Keith Harjes, is discontinuing its recently-established print edition. BJ has always done a terrific job with the electronic version, and will be returning to his previously-successful all-electronic focus. You can read the entertaining MOUTH FULL at Thanks, Jerry, for the heads up!

And now…on to the meeting notes! If I have your stories and your snail-mail addresses, they'll be on their way to your regular mailboxes this afternoon.


Pencils! Points: May 27, 2008

Thanks to Carol M, we opened the meeting with a listen to part of Joe Ortiz' "Supercharge your Creativity through the Art of the Six Minute Story" workshop, which was presented at the 2006 Maui Writer's Conference. The key point? "Don't worry about what you're doing when you write—don't be concerned with mechanics. The best stuff comes out when you don't give a shit."

We followed this up with a six-minute writing exercise (well, we ended up doing eleven minutes because we were so into it), in which we had to use a sentence as either first or last. Here are descriptions of the pieces attending Pencils! came up with:

Tom: "stuff around the house". Let's hope Tom takes this idea quite a bit further. We all agreed it was hilarious!

Shirley: "burning letters".

Henderson: "space-time continuum".

Kay: "back home again in Indiana".

Jerry: "Good is not good enough". (Great flash piece! Send it out!)

Joyce: "Memorial Day Parade".

Claudia: "??".

Carol: "People who say "I just finished"/"I'm working on" are winners in life."

Kaye: "Water Wheel"

1. Shirley kicked us off with a reading of her poem, "The Avaricious Sea"—which was just recently published in Norwalk Community College's Musings. She didn't provide a copy, or I'd print some here.

2. Yvonne shared more of her environmental crisis novel, which also happens to be her thesis at Goddard College. "Chaim studied Asher's sandy curls and alert blue eyes as he spun the dreidel. He was a fine boy. Being his daughter Devorah's son, he wouldn't carry on the Silverman name, but still, a grandson was a grandson and a healthy one at that."

3. Claudia presented her poem, "The Green Grass." "Hmmm…don't mind if I do…well…maybe I'll have two…/I never thought I should, never thought I would…/But, you know Man, the stuff's pretty good!"

4. Henderson shared two poems—a re-work of his "Empty House" and another called "What're You Doing?" "I know something about empty houses./They sit, sad, tragic, dangerous, and spooky./One sat back, shielded by heavy growth/behind an iron fence which, when, on a dare,/we pressed our faces against the rust, and stared,/it left a stain more visible than the ghost that surely haunted there."

5. Last up was Jerry with the beginnings of his newest short story "Truth & Consequences". "He had never met Emory before, but he'd recognized him from the pictures Janet had shown him. Emory's body, like his life, was a glaring example of excess. He was too tall, his nose was too wide, his ears too big, his fingers too long. And his eyes, just as Janet had told him, were too blue. Ice blue, she'd called them. At first, she'd seen warmth in those eyes, and a bright future blazing with promise. But after three years of marriage, of getting to know the man behind them, all she could see was the bitter cold."

Quotes of the Night

"That's it. Roll it up and smoke it."

--Jerry, on Claudia's poem


"Dysfunctional people don't cease to be dysfunctional in Walt Disney World. They can pretend like they will, but even Fantasyland can only take you so far."



"I didn't have a pen."


Pencils! Points: July 8, 2008

An interesting meeting…not many readers, which gave us LOTS of time to discuss minutiae.

Some ideas on the table this meeting were:

~ breaking up some of Kaye's work, such as the website, since she's entering her final semesters at school and has a lot of deadlines to meet;

~ the possibility of introducing a conference-style meeting (via speakerphone) so that those of us who will be moving out of state can join us.

1. Maria presented "Denied the Cup". "He invited all to partake. He even offered the cup to Judas—knowing that Judas would betray Him. He didn't have any stipulations attached to the invitation. He didn't ask any questions. He didn't pass out small plastic cards stamped with "I am eligible to receive."

2. Kaye read what little she had so far of her newest, "What the Dormouse Knows". "This is their final ride on the last day of their decades-overdue honeymoon. Jack turns the center wheel, wishing the cup would spin faster…"

3. Maria's sister, Julie Georgis, graced us with her presence as a visiting poet. She lives in Germany! She read her poems "Let There Be Words" and "Yes." "The tickelty tackelty of mummy's loving fingers/The ingenuity of Daddy's quick and vibrant mind".