Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pencils! Meeting, March 24, 2009

Pencils! met Tuesday March 24 at Shop-Rite. Claudia, Judith, Joyce, Lynn, Roger, Henderson, Kay, and Jerry attended.

Henderson recommended a book he is reading called Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. (If that’s not a pen name, I’m jealous.) And I mentioned a workshop that is coming up on April 7 at the Milford Library, 7 PM, on how to get started writing your mystery. But I couldn’t remember the author’s name, so I will send an e-mail about that in a few days.

First up was Roger, not with any new writing, but with a list of alternatives for a new title for his book, which he feels is too restrictive since it targets retirees only rather than leaving it open to anyone who has experience (past or future) with moving south. Some of the popular choices were “Southern Exposure”, “Woe is We”, “Fast on the Pedal, Slow on the Drawl”, “The Grass Wasn’t Greener on the Other Side”, and “What Were We Thinking When We Moved to the South?”

Next Lynn shared the first 4300 words of her short story Anger Management. “Brianna tackles the mail as soon as it arrives, as usual well after 5:00. She sorts the letters into two piles, hers and Peter’s, adding the junk mail to his. As she pitches the rubber-banded roll of catalogs without looking through it, something on the floor moves. At first, the dark line appears to be a skid mark, as from a sneaker, but closer inspection shows it’s composed of tiny dots parading across the tiles into the dog’s food dish. Brianna remains crouched and staring for a moment, not wanting to accept that vermin removal is now her responsibility.”

Henderson shared both a poem, Ripples, and a letter to the editor, the latter published in the Danbury News-Times on Monday March 23. “The principle of the separation of church and state does protect the civil law from meddling by any religion to impose its beliefs on everyone.”

“We toss a pebble, making ripples of our own,
or maybe our very motion arcs one in,
and our ripples spread, combining, interfering.”

Next up was Joyce with a rewrite of chapter 20 of her novel Venus Ascending. “Murray brooded as he saw the beaming nose of a long-bodied plane gently rise, angling up for take off. His fist formed compulsively at his side as the Convair 340 lifted and became airborne. His fingers clenched as the plane rose higher before leveling off, and it wasn’t until the gray silhouette faded into the dark sky that his hand opened.”

Finally, Judith read more from her novel in progress. “Before Ali or Destiny could answer, the front door was thrust open forcefully. If Ali had not said, ‘Hi, Dad,’ Sylvia would not have recognized her ex-husband, Hamid Husam, who was slowly making his way over to the area where she was sitting. His face was ashen gray and lined with vertical creases from his forehead to his chin, the only interruption in the linear demarcations being two horizontal slits that served as eyes.”

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pencils! Points: February 24, 2009


REJECTION SLIP PYRE & POTLUCK THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 14, AT 3 P.M. AT KAYE’S! If you haven’t let Kaye know you’re coming (or not), please do, and she also needs to know what you’re bringing to share. Please e-mail her and let her know what’s up, if you haven’t already. This should be a great way to celebrate this amazing spring weather we’re having!

Congratulations, Judith! …on your work being featured in the successful art show Stress, Struggle and Change at The Mooney Center at the College of New Rochelle. The show ran from the beginning of January through the end of February. Nice work!

With the rejection slip party literally days away, I wanted to remind everyone about as a fabulous market research tool.

~ Kaye was the lucky winner of Stewart O’Nan’s Poe Screenplay in the Lottery to benefit the Shirley Jackson Awards.

1. Carol presented Chapter 9 of Buried for Life: “The team of officers spread through the house like locusts. Every room on all three floors was turned upside down. His mother sat huddled in the corner of the warm sofa. Her cotton handkerchief twisted in her hands and her eyes swam in unwashed tears.”

2. Henderson shared his newest essay, “The Day the Universe Split”: “I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had chosen differently at certain times. I can recall a number of choice points in my life and I’m sure you can in yours, too.”

3. Joyce read from Chapters 19 and 20 of Venus Ascending: “Estelle’s gentle hands were continuously moving—holding, grasping, pulling, squeezing—lifting forearm, upper arm, hand and fingers, until knotted muscles started to slacken, allowing range of motion to increase.”

4. Judith brought the beginnings of her newest work, Four Days: “Reception areas of major international airports are all the same, she thought. The ethnicity and attire of the people might be different, but the message was the same. Taxi? Hotel? For any assistance you may require, I am the person you most need right now, for a price, of course.”

5. Jerry has been working on “Sin” and brought us the latest version: “Immediately, they began babbling, as sinners always do, pleading for mercy, protesting their innocence, denying that the word of God means they should be punished. They even muttered some nonsense about loving each other, as if that was even possible without first loving the Lord.”

6. Claudia closed the night with “Two Sisters, a Brother, and a Dog”: “Cindy was fascinated with watching the white shredded mozzarella cheese bubble and brown under the red coil of the roof of the toaster oven through the clear door, and didn’t question Patti about the call.”

Quotes of the Night

“How is a baby ever not innocent unless it’s Chucky?”

-- Kaye

“If it’s not moving the fory storward…I haven’t even had anything to drink tonight!”

-- Carol