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.”

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