Monday, December 27, 2010

The Wannabe's Journal for December 1010

The Wannabe's Journal
December 2010

A Santa who robs the local 5th3rd Branch for $ 106. dollars, the lost cat who disappeared from their owners only to find a new home in the arms of a lonely woman who was so depressed that she was considering desperate measures, a lovely poem about a water pond and the reading of a memoir which led to the discovery of a connection from 20 years ago. These are just some of the wonderful gifts that were exchanged at our Christmas Brunch yesterday. Thank you again for hosting this annual event.

We sat at Mary Lou's dinning room table and exchanged stories and information about up coming events and classes that you might have an interest. Here are some of the highlights.

We began by talking about any new Christmas story or tradition. The stories included framing a high school jersey that still had the battle scar's for the price of gold, to the traditions of reading to your Children the Christmas tales by famous authors in an easy chair by the fireplace. Or it might be the gathering of the family in front of the large screen TV with a big bowl of popcorn to watch one of the Christmas classics. The Wannabe's meeting have produced some classic stories in the past and this meeting was no exception.

Mary Lou: Shared a story that had appear in a local newspaper about a family who was moving to another state. Their beloved family pet had escaped from the house while the moving company was packing the truck. The cat was now perched at the end of a limb half way up the tree. The owner did not want to risk injury by climbing the tree but with help of the movers he set up his step ladder under the limb and was going to attempt to tie a rope to the end of branch which was drooping from the weight of the cat. While standing on the top rung of the ladder the homeowner was barely able to secure the rope end on the limb. He asked two of the movers to pull on the other end of the rope. Slowly the limb of the tree bent and the cat got closer and closer. The owner reached out and just as he was about to secure the fur of the cat... the movers let go of the rope.

It happened so fast that no one really witnessed the actual launch. All they heard was the snap of the branch and the sound of falling snow. The owner and movers all looked for the flying cat but were unsuccessful in their search of the nearby yards. Finally the ladder was taken down and packed in the van. The Cat had disappeared into the heavens.

Days later two of the neighbors met at the local grocery and were catching up on the local news. One woman began to tell the story about a woman who had gotten the perfect gift for Christmas. She had been severely depressed and was contemplating desperate measures. She was sitting alone on her patio with a cup of tea when all of sudden a cat landed in her lap. It was a gift from heaven. The unannounced cat soon became the lonely woman's best friend. Or maybe it was just another form of shock therapy. In any case it worked it miracle. Christmas is always full of miracles.

Nancy P: discussed the upcoming Antioch Writers Workshop. The link to the 2011 AWW website is listed below. The list of authors and guest lecturer's this year is impressive and something a serious writer should consider. A number of highly respected authors and poets will participate this year...the link to the web site is listed below.

She also talked about celebrating Christmas in the past and having read stories to her children when they were young while setting in the Orange Recliner. I think everyone has had a orange recliner in their life. It is the chair where you raised your family: the spot where you administered the two and five AM feedings, read bedtime stories and the chair that could be repaired dozens of time but still looked the same. They must have a special place in chair heaven for them. After they have gone through the formative years of family life they are place at the curb for the Tuesday morning collection. Most valuable items soon disappear before the trash collection can visit but rarely is the recliner collected by the "Picker's" It just disappears in the the bin at the front of the massive truck. You cannot watch the final moments of the chairs life as it raised to the heavens and crushed like a empty pop can. It's almost a religious moment.

Nancy also recommended a book of Essays. The Title is: "Backs to The Wall: A reading of Alain Badiou’s Metapolitics" by MairĂ©ad Phillips.

Linda: Has started her research for her book on mines of the small towns in West Virginia. She and her husband who recently retired visited the area and talked with several people who grew up in the region and were able to describe the life during the time of the company store and how the miners were paid and survived. They also spent some time in a actual mine in Beckley, WV. The small town in southwest WV was born in 1836 and is located in the heart of mining country. Linda was surprised to meet someone at the country store who recognized her after many years.

Bill F. Our photographer of the day read from a poem that he recently entered into a contest at Writers Digest entitled: "Setting on the Bench by the River"

Sitting on a Bench by the River

Zen gaze at water,

flowing like time.

Gurgles of ancient voices,

over fossils - mute.

Old rocks, but younger than water.

Water - unfearful - moving ahead,

putting out fires,

refreshing thirsty species - all cousins;

the gloss in a smile, sparkle in a tear.

Rushing - from springs and raindrops,

flowing like life.

Never the same.

Always the same.

Molecules cried - in pain or joy.

Once soup, wine, blood.

Drowned so many.

Washed us all.

Supporting clean swimmers,

between taut lines.

Waves - clawing down buildings,

eating boulders.

Or mirrors - for sister clouds - watching.

But mainly it reflects -

what is within us,

when we sit on a bench by the river.

Bills other observations of the day were the most poignant and descriptive:

This reunion was a perfect example of synchronicity!
Other great stories: The Catapulting Cat,
Guard for the Hapsburgs,
Something about ways to remember stuff, but I forget what it was called,
Einstein's First Marriage,

Don H. Commented on the fact that exploring Church and Military records in Europe might provide some clues for Mary Lou's research for her "Family Secrets" book. Many of the eastern European countries that were dominated by the Austrian and German cultures keep very detailed and accurate records many years ago. I recommended looking into the European version of to find what may have been captured already.

Martha: She recently wrote a letter to her older sister and her memories of growing up together. She vividly described their favorite meal...The Pressure Cooker Stew. It was all about the day that the stew was cooking on the kitchen stove and her sister undid the metal clasps that hold the lid on the pot that the stew was cooking in. The lid exploded along with its contents which flew in the air only to fall back into the pot. The two sisters busily tried to cover up the evidence. Later that night at dinner, her father raved about how delicious the stew tasted and how different it looked. They were rendered speechless with the question: " How did you make it this time?"

We all remember her now famous Christmas tree story about her father permanently affixing the tree stand to the hardwood floor only to discover that his wife want it moved closer to the window. No longer do we throw tinsel on the tree like we use to. It made such a delightful that created memories.

Martha also recommended a book by Karen Kingsbury: "The Treasure of Christmas Miracles" The short stories are about miracles that happen during this time of year.

Don H: is writing two short stories about the adventures of Santa. One involves a Santa who robs a bank to collect the fees he was charged for an overdraft and the second involves an abandon baby name "Jesus Esposito" He is found by a young boy who desperately wants to have a baby brother because he is tormented by his older least he thinks he is.

Don is also continuing to put together material for his book on memory called: Senior Fix

Tricia: is finishing up her manuscript on her book entitled: "A Real Wooden Home" She was kind enough to read passages from her book that involved sneaking out late at night with her then boyfriend. It was suggested that she organize her stories in Increments. Two other books that were recommended were The house on Mango Street and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.

The real "A,,Ha" moment of the meeting is when Tricia and Martha realized that their lives passed nearly twenty years ago. It was a touching moment that had the makings of a new Christmas miracle.

Upcoming Education in 2011:

Mad Antony Writers Conference on April 8 and 9th in Hamilton Ohio. Here is the link.

The Antioch Writers Workshop from July 9 to the 15th

Our next meeting with be on Jan 21st at 9 AM at Panera on Brown Street

Check out our Blog site for additional information about classes on Self Publishing that will be taught at UD LLI in the Spring.

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wannabe's Journal for October 2010

We had our monthly meeting on Friday October 15th at Panera Bread Co's location on Brown Street. We had a very good meeting with some new members attending for the first time. Thanks to all for sharing some of your current writings. As always...our meeting are an inspiration to continue to pursue our dreams. Hopefully our meeting notes will allow you to pursue your right brain dreams with passion and determination.

Don Q: Awaiting the arrival of the illustrations so that I can complete my "Santa's Magic" book. Many thanks to all those who have helped with reading and editing my manuscript. Don is also working on a family cookbook and has taken inspiration from Bob MacK to create a book of photos and text that chronicle my three years where he and his bride traveled through various countries in Africa and Europe. Besides what else can you do with those 7,000 digital photo's he has collected.

Don also has been reading a great deal in recent months: primarily the trilogy of novel by Stieg Larsson. He has read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. He just ordered the last novel in the series called The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Excellent author with a great style. Good case study in the techniques of writing a fictional novel with many characters in various scenes of northern Europe.

Dan V Talked about his recent class that he has been enrolled in at the University of Dayton. The LLI sponsored class is taught by Martha Moody. Ms. Moody has published a popular memoir entitled: "Best Friends". Dan discussed the various techniques that Ms. Moody discussed in teaching her class on writing short stories. One of the interesting exercises that Dan participated in during his class was writing a letter to someone that includes emotion of some type: Sadness, loneliness, or happiness. By the happiness is the most difficult to effectively transfer to the reader through the medium of a letter.

Dan also recommended "Courage to Write" by Ralph Keyes. Dan also heard Brady Allen who recently spoke at a seminar sponsored through the Dayton Public Library.

Bob MacK; is currently helping his Mother-in-law write her memoir. Talk about scoring big brownie points with his bride. Seriously... what a great exercise that would be.
Bob also discussed the use of Blurb software tool to create books of any variety. It is a great alternative to other on line tools such as createspace and Lulu. Bob is also working on a new short story entitled: "The Bus Ride". We were fortunate to hear the first couple of pages. Can't wait to hear more.

Tricia: provided three excellent references for those interested in writing memoirs.

"Heaven Awaits the Bride" by Anna Roundtree
"Writing the Memoirs" by Judith Barrington
"Tweak" Nic Sheff

She is in the final stages of submitting her manuscript "Drive to Huber" for editing and publishing. She read a couple of pages from her manuscript to the group and received feedback that she appreciated.

Rosie: After attending her first meeting two months ago and reading her poem to the group entitled: "Brandon" she has experienced a couple of "Wow!!!" moments. For those who missed the poem the first time here is another posting of the piece:


Rosie H

I paid you homage today. I went to the garden and found you in the diamond dew on the wispy fern. There—you glistened in the sunlight. I caught you dancing with butterflies and doing somersaults in the air. Throughout the yard I saw you shimmer. Even my hand had your sparkle on it. I smelled you in the fragrance surrounding me. I invited you into the silence. I heard you call my name in the murmur of the crickets and birds. I think—you.

Therefore, you are.

The Wow moments happened Rosie was asked to participate in a story telling session. It was special when one of Brandon's parents were part of the audience. She also taken the poem and made it part of a collage that she exhibited at a recent art gallery.

She is working on a book of Watercolor painting.

Like many of the Wannabe participants who were inspired by Nancy P and keep journals, Rosie has now started the practice of keeping a journal with just inspirational, personal sayings that she derives strength from. Vade Mecum is her personal reference journal "to go with me" and uses "words, give and blessings" as key words.

Martha: Currently reading a book entitled: "Abandon" by Blake Crouch. The story is about an entire town which disappeared without a trace in 1893. One hundred and thirteen years later two guides are hired to investigate what happened. Martha also recommends reading a book by Jodi Ricoult entitled " Handle with Care" which shot to the top of the Best Sellers list at its introduction.

Don P: Has completed entering all 241 letters from his father and is in the processing that story for his family memoir.

After reading the final edited version of Frederika to the group Don feels enough encouragement to submit the short story for possible publication. He is now writing new stories about Debbie called Deborah 3 and 4. Here is a little of Deborah 4:

Deborah 4

At last she got to go into town on her own and do some shopping. She had a long list of items including clothes, shoes, and a number of other assorted items to look for. Her name was Deborah McStine and she had grown up on a farm outside of Dallas, Texas. Just far enough outside of town to make it difficult to get into town easily on her own, but now she was eighteen years old and could make the trip by bus on her own. She also had her first credit card even though it was actually a debit card with a limit of $2,000. She was all grown up now and was going to show it. Her Dad dropped her off at the local bus stop and she was on her way.

Upon arrival in Dallas she stepped off the bus at the downtown station and turned to look for a taxi. As she stepped away from the bus a bicycle rider came rolling along the walkway between the busses. He hit her with the handlebar and knocked her to the ground. As the bicyclist hurried on his way, the bus driver came quickly down the steps of the bus.

"My gosh, girl, didn't you see him coming? You could get seriously hurt doing these things. Are you hurt?" he asked as he reached down to help her up.

"I don't think so. Maybe just some bruises. I'll be all right in a minute or two."

She picked up her purse, checked it, and headed to the taxi stand. As she approached the single taxi waiting there an elderly couple rushed in front of her and jumped into it. She almost fell off the curb, stepped back and yelled a dirty word as the taxi pulled away. She, then, had to wait twenty minutes for another taxi to arrive.

Once downtown Deborah could really start on her spending spree. In the biggest Department store in the Dallas Mall it only took her twenty minutes to spend six hundred dollars. As she walked to the shoe store, toting three shopping bags full of stuff, she checked to make sure her thirty dollars bus money was safely tucked into the secret pocket in her jacket along with the money for the taxi ride back to the bus station.

As she entered the shoe store, prepared to do some more serious buying, she set her shopping bags down beside one of the chairs and started through the display racks. Fifteen minutes later she carried five boxes of shoes back to her selected chair, sat down, opened the first box just as a salesman walked up to assist her. She reached down to pull out a new dress she had just bought in order to match color and noticed that there were only two shopping bags instead of three.

"What happened?," she asked. "Where is my other shopping bag? Did you see anybody take it?"

"No, not for sure. I saw a young couple leave about ten minutes ago carrying something. I really didn't notice what it was for sure."

Deborah hopped up, looked out the door and saw no one. "They're gone. With my new clothes. This can't be happening." Uncertain as to what to do, she went back to her seat and asked the salesman what to do. He told her that the only thing she could do was to report it to Mall Security, but finding the right person carrying a shopping bag in a Mall was nearly impossible.

Resigned to her loss, she started trying on shoes with the help of the salesman. Eventually she picked out three pairs, paid for them, and left the store, now carrying three shopping bags. She headed over to another clothing store to see what they had. As she started looking through the racks of clothes she made sure to keep one eye on her shopping bags. She paid for the items she had picked out which brought the amount left on her credit card to four hundred dollars. She then decided to look around a bit more just for fun. The problem was she neglected to keep an eye on other things. As she walked back to where her stuff was she started to feel faint. He purse was gone.

She searched all around the chair, and all around the area, finding nothing. Tears welled up in her eyes as she asked the sales clerk what she could do. All he could do was to console her and advise her to tell Mall Security. At that point she knew her purse was gone, never to be seen again. Her consolation was that her taxi money to get back to the bus station, the bus money home, plus her credit card were in her jacket so she could still get home, and the purse had very little of value left in it.

At that point she decided to go ahead and finish her shopping. She eventually filled another shopping bag, giving her four to carry. She picked them all up and headed towards the taxi stand which was four blocks away. As she walked along the third block struggling with all of her shopping bags a young woman, reading something as she walked, bumped into Deborah causing one bag to drop to the sidewalk. Deborah bent over, still struggling, got it picked up, and then continued on her way to the taxi stand. At the taxi stand she hopped into the first taxi in line, putting her shopping bags on the seat beside her. She told the driver to take her to the bus station and settled back into her seat, then reached into her pocket to get the credit card and to put it in the secret jacket pocket.

She felt in the right hand pocket where she had put it, and then in the left hand pocket, starting to get a little frantic. The card was not there. What had happened to it she wondered. Finally, she realized two things. The first was that the young lady who had bumped into her had picked her pocket, and the second was that the card was a debit card and only had $2.00 left on it. She quickly checked the inside pocket of her jacket and felt the money that would pay for her taxi and the bus home. At that point she sat back and enjoyed her ride.

As the taxi pulled into the station Deborah saw her bus waiting. She quickly paid the driver, got all of her bags collected again, and moved as quickly as she could over to the bus. As she stopped to let another bus drive through it splashed muddy water onto her dress soaking her from the waist down. As she approached her bus that driver hopped out with a towel, apologized for the other driver, and cleaned her up as best as he could. She then boarded her bus prepared to sit back and try to enjoy her ride home, knowing that her father would be waiting to pick her up.

She planned to write this trip up in her daily journal and she had the perfect title:

Dallas Does Debbie.

Don also brought up a new service that is available through Barnes and Noble called Pubit. If you want to submit a book to them that can be published in ebook format available on the Nook, their version of Kindle. You have the freedom to set the price and they charge a percentage of the selling price.

Here is a link to their web page to get started.

Kate B: A new member to our group this month. Kate has taken a number of writing classes at Sinclair. Her most recent endeavors have center in the genre of poetry. She turned everyone on to the National Poetry Foundation which is located in Chicago. You can get onto their mailing list and get poems selected by Ted Kooser, former poet laureate as well as their table of contents for their newsletter. To get more you have to subscribe but there is a lot you can learn from the free stuff. Garrison Keillor reads poems from the foundation every day on the Writer's Almanac on NPR.

Their site is simply

Also, she is reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a French book translated into Eng. It has been on bestseller lists and won awards. It is about an elderly concierge in an upscale apartment house and a young girl who is contemplating suicide. Lots of philosophy and social commentary.

Kate's poem:


Young, not sure, asked how
For a child, one way to know the sea
Just listen to this shell--the waves
A rhythm that will not break
A rhyme to take away your trouble
And test it at a later time

I asked, what is this pirate time?
How many lives would rust in waves?
How many spirits crush in break?
And though my lungs would fill with trouble
In growing up saw oceans, seven
Still counting on the soil and sea

A book unwritten, cast at sea
Turned pages--five, six, seven
And memories, they come in waves
But pure voice will always break
Coughing and spitting away that time
No chance to write and too much trouble

Tugging away my labored trouble
That thing that steals away my time
A magic sound the number seven
Its power hits me hard at sea
But shore is best from which to view waves
In tides they come, and go, and break

Like rapid eye movement, surf rolls sans break
And sleep, it too will wash my time
Serve me a spoonful of trouble
A choking salt straight from the sea
One two three, why not six? but seven
It's never fair game and always odd waves

Infinitely different, very rare waves
The moving image we cannot break
The skipping, skipping stone of trouble
Needs straight river, not a tossed 'round sea
I muse above, see the sisters, seven
Yet no advice from starlight this time

So it is seven, a child counts time
Ignoring trouble, constant like waves
A break, not one, just shell and the sea.


Our next meeting will be on November 19th. We hope to see you then. Have a great week and thanks for your continued appreciation for our information.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Wannabe Journal for August 2010

We meet today at Mary Lou’s Condo on the hill in early August. It was a wonderful gathering of some very talented individuals. We shared our stories, recent readings, dreams and Mary Lou’s generous hospitality and good food. The dishes all had a Slovakian name and unique taste. You could tell that she put a great deal of love and energy into providing a great setting for our gathering. Thank you again from all of us…you truly are a generous person.

Because of the limitations of Blogger this posting is organized in multiple postings. I have arranged the readings, poems and short stories at the end so I could include the pictures which I think add to the power of the words. I hope you enjoy.

We had 10 members join us today for our meeting where we discussed current projects and here is a summary of our efforts:

Dan V Attended the AWW in Yellow Springs in July and brought back some interesting stories about the speakers. Dan recommended an author by the name of Ralph Keyes who wrote a book entitled Courage to Write. The author was one of the keynote speakers at this year’s conference. He discussed a new book that he is currently developing that is a memoir about his mother

Another author that Dan recommended was Ms. Ann Hagedorn who is the author of Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm Inc. Since Ms. Hagedorn is a originally from Dayton there may be a connection.

Last of all Dan recommended Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth as a good audio book to listen to in the car when on long trips. Especially if your bride is in the back seat watching a video and you are annoyed by the periodic laughter and “Oh my God’s” even though he have not said a word in over 100 miles.

Trish C She continues to share with us material from her memoir. Really great stories…can’t wait for a peek at the first draft. Here are some books that she recommends:

A good book on writing style is Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs is a memoir

Rosie H Our newest member is well known in the Dayton area for her artistic talents. Her works are currently on display at the Town and Country Arts Center (next to Buffalo Wild Wings). She is interested in exploring the connection between poetry and writing. We collectively recommended Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan. Even though Ms. McClanahan is an accomplished poet and has published a number of books in that genera this book is a comprehensive bible of power of words and how they can create a great novel.

She read a poem entitled:


By Rosie Huart

I paid you homage today.

I went to the garden and found you in the diamond dew on the wispy fern.

There—you glistened in the sunlight.

I caught you dancing with butterflies and doing somersaults in the air.

Throughout the yard I saw you shimmer.

Even my hand had your sparkle on it.

I smelled you in the fragrance surrounding me.

I invited you into the silence.

I heard you call my name in the murmur of the crickets and birds.

I think—you.

Therefore, you are.

Don H Currently working on his book of Mnemonics entitled: The Senior Fix. He is teaching a class at UDLLI this fall and disappointed our group by informing us that it is sold out. How can that happen I haven’t received my catalogue yet.

Mary Lou Besides all the cook and preparation for the group meeting at her home. Now don’t deny it. You are like my bride, everything had to look just right and it did. That does not happen through magic…I have tried.

She had just returned from Slovakia and was able to conduct a great deal of research on her memoir about her grandfather and life in Eastern Europe during the last century. It was interesting to hear her writings about the simple life that was led by families and how each had a specific role each day. Her novel will be called the “The Family Secret” Can’t wait for this creation as well.

Bill F will distribute a copy of his book entitled: The Whale in the Library. He is sending a copy to individuals who attended the August meeting. We will not post any portions of the book on this blog site.

Here is a list of books that Bill recommends:

The Artist Way by Julian Cameron

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Bob Mc M Brought a copy of the two books: a self published book of photo’s and dialogue entitled: “Bugs, Birds, Bees, Butterflies, Flowers and Such” and his newest book which is also self published and includes a number of his poems. The new book will be entitled, “The Beauty of Nature” .

Bob uses a self publishing software and services company It is similar to in that it provides you with the capability to create formats, text and import your own pictures into different layouts and size of books that you want to publish. The cost depends on the number of pages and size.

Bob read a couple of his poems that will be included in the new book.

Don Q Still working on his Santa’s Magic manuscript. He is currently awaiting the books illustrations from a budding artist who recently graduated from the University of Dayton It will probably be self published like his first book.


Education and Seminars

University of Dayton LLI Beginning Fiction Writing(call to determine time and dates for the class)

Sinclair College There are a number of classes offered this fall at Sinclair. There are classes in Creative Writing Poetry and Writing as well as Freelance Writing

Article: Check out the article in the Life Section of the Dayton Daily News about Katrina Kittle an author from Kettering who discussed the help you can receive as a beginning writers. The article also references Darren McGarvey who has conducted the Words Worth Wring Center in Oakwood for the last few years. You can search for his classes with Google

Here is their Web address:

Mad Anthony Writers Conference April 8-9 2011. You can put this on your calendar.

Writers Digest Competition: Go to the Writer’s Digest Web site for the details. There are different competitions for poetry, fiction and short story.

Go to the Blog site in order to see the full detail of the Blog's posting.

Our next Meeting will be September 17th at Mary Lou's. More details will be available a week before our meeting time. Have a great week. Sorry this was composed and sent late...Patti and I are visiting Seattle. My son and his family recently moved here and the weather has been perfect along with the scenery.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Wannabe Journal for August 2010

In her spare time Joy is working with a friend on a project to create humorous greeting cards.
He newest poem/literary creation is entitled: Zumba Gold or Hip Hop for Seniors
Hot Cross Buns
By Joy Brubaker

Today I went for my first class session of “Zumba Gold”, a kind of hip hop for the elderly. Julie, a retired teacher friend of mine, pressured me into going. The class was an AARP version of a Rave, but without the Ecstasy or sex. I had hoped to slip in and out of the class rather anonymously, but then I forgot and wore my big, bold red, all caps, JOY BRUBAKER FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE tee shirt, so everything I did…well…represented.
The instructor, a nice enough septuagenarian, had lost her ‘apple” shape and now more resembled an olive on a toothpick with skinny withered arms and legs and a nice round middle, which happily she chose to show off with a cut-off top and low rider pants. Until that moment I hadn’t realized that anyone other than men and pregnant women had “happy trials.”
We started off rather well with Julie and the others putting enough energy into their cha cha cha’s and bell dancing moves to supply a small town with electricity. One of the moves which was especially nice resembled vigorously toweling off our buns, with shaking of said buns required. Three moves later and my cellulite was still trembling. Unfortunately, so was everyone else’s. I had the sled dog’s view from the rear of the class.
Regrettably, somewhere in the middle of the routine our instructor lost her way. Call it a senior moment, but what she told us were going to be doing changed two minutes into the first song when she clearly forgot the steps and fumbled to get back into the rhythm. The rest of us were left free styling with arms, legs, derrieres and feet all going in different directions. At best we rather looked like a kindergarten class learning the hokey-pokey.
By the end of the third song two of the other women quit and hobbled out stiffly holding their lower back. I couldn’t. I had the stupid tee shirt on; she knew my name. I had to struggle through the rest of the hour swearing I wouldn’t subject myself to unhealthy golden age peer pressure ever again.
There is something to be said for enrolling in a class of younger women. It’s the fantasy factor. Sure, I can’t keep up, but I can envision myself as maladroit. On the other hand, when everyone around me is estrogen depleted and sagging, and worse, the instructor is the model of what I’m aiming for, it’s just depressing.
I don’t know what I was thinking anyway. My first clue should have been when one of these women passed out in the middle of “total body conditioning gold” the week before, got a nasty bump on her head from the hardwood floor when she went down, and lots and lots of sympathy from the rest of us.
So… how was your day?

The Wannabe Journal for August 2010

Joy B: In June we published the short story that Joy shared with us at our monthly meeting and since that time it has been published in the local newspaper in Yellow Springs. Here is another copy of the poem
Orange Lamborghini arrives in Yellow Springs
The orange Lamborghini screamed into town
Sailing past the grey and blue Subaru’s
Ten minutes late
but already ahead of everyone else
“Road hog,” the silver Civic jeered.
“Gas guzzler,” the white Prius scoffed.
“Tourist,” the beige Volvo sniffed.
But the orange Lamborghini knew…
It owned this town.

The Wannabe Journal for August 2010

Don P: has completed entering his father’s letters which total over 240. The sheer volume of text has created a book that is over 175 pages of reading material. What a wonderful start on a memoir.
His latest short story was read to the group. The piece is entitled Deborah 2. We have included a short portion of the story in this journal:

Deborah 2

She loved her job. It was easy, had a low level of supervision, and left her time to work on other things she enjoyed. These included writing fiction, playing bridge on the computer, or talking on the phone. She had been working on this job for four years now without any problems that required her to take action.
Her full name was Mary Deborah Alsinki, although she much preferred her middle name and ask everyone to call her Deborah or Debbie. She came from a long line of Government employees, all proud of the job they did, did it well, and happily retired to spend their time on their many hobbies.
She was currently working on her family genealogy in which she had found and documented several ancestors who had been royalty in the middle ages, including two Kings. She planned to publish this as a book and sell it to her relatives. Her job, meanwhile, was monitoring and managing the launch computers for two hundred ICBM missiles, each with a nuclear warhead that could destroy an entire town, including any of the largest cities in the world.
It had been a time of peace for the last ten years so the ICBMs and their warheads had only required the mandatory full operational checkup every three months. Part of the checkup procedure was to fully realign the launch coordinates on each and every one. This was a simple procedure which involved running the individual launch system on each missile through a series of coordinates and returning it back to its original setup. Each of the check coordinates was a large city in the USA. On the list were New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and on down to many medium size cities.
Deborah had assisted her superiors in running through this procedure sixteen times over her four years working there. She knew the process down to the last comma and period. She didn't even need a review, she understood it that well.
As the senior officials entered the room, Deborah greeted each one by name and asked about their well-being and their families. Each one responded briefly and moved to their positions preparing to start the check run. At a signal from the Colonel in charge, they looked towards Deborah and nodded for her to start the procedure.
Deborah reached down and pushed the blue button, watching to make sure everything started correctly. Once rolling all she had to do was sit back and keep an eye on things. After all the times she had been involved in this she stayed very relaxed throughout the test, letting her mind wander over other things that she had to get done after work.
All of a sudden there was a loud crashing noise and Deborah jumped, reached out and pushed herself up with her hands. As she looked around she saw that the sound had come from one of the Lieutenants accidentally knocking his chair over.
“That really scared me. I had no idea what had happened” Deborah remarked. She then looked back at her monitor. Her eyes grew large, her face flushed. The screen was flashing “Launch, launch, launch”. This had never happened before. The Colonel came running over, looked at the monitor, then at the console. “Oh my God. You hit the red button when you jumped up. That initiates full launch of all 200 missiles. We have to stop it.”
“We can’t” said a Captain standing beside him. “It is now fully automatic.”
“My God” said the Colonel, “what coordinates were in place when you hit the button?”
“I think it was Los Angeles. No, it was past that. Let me check and see. Ah ha, it was two steps past Los Angeles, so that would be Dallas.
Within hours all of the news media had screaming large headlines saying “Debbie Dooms Dallas”.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wannabe Journal Month of June

What a nice day to have a brunch with friends and fellow right brain individuals. Our June 4th meeting of the Wannabe's is summarized in the notes below. Our next meeting will be on August 13th. Mary Lou has agreed to host another brunch at her condo in Centerville. Her argument against another location is: " now everyone knows how to get here." Yes we do.

Wannabe's Journal

Update on what the group has been working on lately:

After a number of jokes about the Browns football team and attending a high school reunion we began to hear what everyone has been up.

1. Martha: Working on a memoir. We recommend a book that was recommended by our mentor(Nancy P) in one of our first classes: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. Or her other book which is more technique orientated: Thinking about Memoir.

A number of people who attended the Sinclair talk by Ron Carlson recommended some of his works for style and technique. He recommends "Writing in the dark for 20 minutes each day without regard to any issues such as grammar, spelling or style. Don H. also recommended a book on retention and recall by Jerry Lucas, the famous basketball player from OSU fame called: The Memory Book

2. Trisha C. Currently completing her manuscript for her classes at Antioch. She read a passage from her first chapter.Very good work...keep up the good effort. She is also in the final stages of creating a new Web site to market her other which has pictures included as part of the design. Neat stuff.

3. Joy B. Read a short poem that she created. We will post the poem on our blog site in the coming days.

Orange Lamborghini arrives in Yellow Springs

The orange Lamborghini screamed into town

Sailing past the grey and blue Subarus

Ten minutes late

but already ahead of everyone else

“Road hog,” the silver Civic jeered.

“Gas guzzler,” the white Prius scoffed.

“Tourist,” the beige Volvo sniffed.

But the orange Lamborghini knew…

It owned this town.

4. Don Q. Talked about the article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on June 3rd entitled: 'Vanity' Press Goes Digital. The lengthy article which will be outlined in more detail in a separate section of this journal report outlines the popular self publishing web sites that are now available to individuals who are tired of receiving the well wishes of literary agents. The story in the Journal starts with the success of a housewife who tired of the 10 years of rejection in the writing business and self published a Kindle version of her book and has sold over 36,000 copies and has sold the movie rights to the book recently.

5. Bob MacK. Discussed his popular sell published book entitled: Bird's, Bee's, Bug's, Flowers, and Such... which is a self published book that includes photographs and narratives. He delighted our group by reading a number of his poems which have won a number of awards and contests in our area and state. Bob is working on a short story about Santa and a young girl. Seems ironic we now have a collection of Santa "wannabe" authors.

6. Linda F. Working on her stories of life in a coal mining towns in eastern Ohio near West Virginia. She plans to spend two weeks visiting the area to conduct some research. Some of people who migrated from Europe and settled in that area in the early 1900's have great stories that she hopes to share.

7. Don P. Discussed the fact that he has made a great deal of progress in entering his fathers letter into the computer. He has 261 letters from his father who was a scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project in the 1940's. He also read from a fictional piece that he is writing about a cat named "Frederica"

His wife Rose also has caught the literary bug, so to speak. She read from a memoir she is working on called: The Trip from Hell. The chapter she read to the group was well written and included a lot of "yeah" moments.

8. Dan V. His short story keep us on the edge of our seat. We found it very difficult not to laugh at various times. Some of the scenes of the story were climatic and filled with suspense only to discover their was more to the story. . The stories title is The Lineman.

9. Don H reflected how to Fix a Senior Moment. Wow...I wonder who he could be referring to with that title. Personally I cannot reminder the last one I had.

The book that Don is currently reading is: The Language of Names by Justin Kaplin and Anne Bernays. The book details the etiquette of names and what last names truly mean in the country of their origin.

10. Mary Lou detailed her experience of trying to find an agent for her children' s book. The group suggested using all the letters as a self published short story in itself about her writing journey. Some of the letters from Agents are a work of art in themselves. I am sure that many of us could relate to that kind of story.

Education Update

Registration Deadlines EXTENDED!

You can still register for the 2010 Antioch Writers' Workshop! We've extended our registration deadlines as follows:

Full Week Registration--deadline is now June 10.
Saturday Seminar "A La Carte" Option--deadline is now June 30.
Morning Only or Afternoon Only Focus on Form "A La Carte" Options--deadline is now July 10.

So... go online and register. (Even though we've extended our deadlines, many of our slots are filling quickly!) Or email Sharon for more information.

If you would like additional information:
Blog: www.antiochwritersworkshop.

Your own ISBN Number

If you are looking to self publish and would like to copyright your work before using Kindle or Createspace to self publish your stories here is a web site which will allow you to acquire your title and protect it.

I think the cost is $ 125.

Article Summary:

'Vanity' Press Goes Digital June 3rd in the Wall Street Journal

Here is the link to the Article:

There is a wonderful chart at the bottom of the article which compares the traditional approach to publishing to one where you self publish.

Next Meeting:

Mark you calendars for August 13th at 9 AM at Mary Lou's. Further information will be send in early August. Hope everyone enjoys the summer.

Our Blog Site:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wannabe's Journal for April 2010

Our April meeting was held on Friday April 23rd at 9 AM. We all had our morning coffee and sat down to discuss the recent seminars and workshops we had been fortunate to attend at Sinclair Community College and Miami University-Hamilton. Our meeting are open to the public and free. The best part is that you are also eligible for a free cup of coffee at Panera if you attend. Here is a summary of what we discussed.

Wannabe's Journal

Saturday, April 24th

Our meeting yesterday morning was very informative. Our group discussed the most recent workshops(Sinclair and Mad Anthony's). The following is a review of some of the favorite speakers at both sessions.

Sinclair: Featured Speaker was Ron Carlson.

Ron Carlson writes in the morning, when the mind still is quiet, before the world and all its distractions intrude.
Before the coffee is finished brewing, he slips out the kitchen door, crosses the small patio behind his Huntington Beach bungalow and settles into his desk in an office carved out of an old garage. "What you need to do is get up and be a raw beast and go and type," he says. "Be as dirty as you can. And if you do that for 20 minutes, you'll be great. "You can clean your house in the evening. If you want your book, you've got to be ferocious about your draft."(From the Orange County Register).

Ron is an outstanding speaker, educator and author of five novels and five collections of short stories. One of his current books, The Signal has been listed on the NYT best seller list. His philosophical tidbit's were worth the price of admission. Once you get to your morning or afternoon writing place "close the door" Write in the Dark and Edit in the Light! Divide yourself and don't worry about names. Use all your senses in decribing the scene and the event you are witing about in the dark. When editing Read Out-loud to someone. Multitasking is doing two things poorly at the same time. The real story should start with an event. Put your character into a situation to see how they will react...tolerate the ambiguity of the moment. Trust yourself. Spend at least 20 min a day on writing and don't open your email until after 4 PM each day.

I wish I could have remembered more of his great talk...

Other noted speakers at Sinclair

Charles Freeland Writing Poetry
Gary Braunbeck Writing Great Dialogue
Lucy A Snyder Writing Urban Fantasy

Note of Interest: One of the "Goodies" of the Workshop was a copy of Flights, the literary Journal of Sinclair Community College. One of our own Wannabe's: Larry Kelly has three poems published in this publication. Larry has won the Sinclair Poetry writing contest in previous years. Congrats Larry.

Mad Anthony Writers Conference

This conference was held at Miami University's Hamilton campus. The conference was two days with a Friday evening session entitled: Murder and Mayhem. After Registration at 8 AM participants were treated to talks on such topics as Arson/Fire, SWAT, K9 and to top off the night participants got transported the County Morgue, Police Training Facility and witnessed a mock trail in the historic courthouse in downtown Hamilton. For those interested in writing a fictional novel in this genre this would have been a good session to attend. Put this on your schedule for next year.

A number of Wannabe's participated in the Saturday session. I will provide some insight on the sessions that I attended.

Regina Doman: What Editors Look For:

Her handout spelled it out accurately. "Rx for a Writing Career"

Establish a strong voice and know your audience. How ironic...this is exactly what Alice Pope recommend to me back in December at another Writers conference. Study the Market...use google to search for your subject matter. Be honest with yourself and be prepared to do a lot of marketing.

Vicki Moss: Creative Non-Fiction

Creative Non-fiction can be Essay's Articles, book length Memoir or even short stories in a memoir style. Creative non-fiction reads like fiction but the stories are true. Ms. Moss recommends Lee Gutkind's book The Art of Creative Nonfiction. Writing in this style is like making a homemade pizza. You start out with the facts of the story which is based on truth....a basic cheese pizza. Then you add the other ingredients to make it more zesty.

She suggests to take a picture and create a story from the picture. Interesting...for my current project I took pictures of the place where the settings of my story took place. It helps me in setting up the scenes. I also recorded the my interviews of some the characters in the novel. For those of us who are doing genelogy research this might be a good technique for publishing a audio book for your family history. Research is everything...use all the tools at hand. She was similar to Ron Carlson in her writing regiment: Put your butt in the chair and write 500 words and get in the habit of doing it.

She also pointed out that voice is very important in creative nonfiction. She referenced Rhonda Rich's book My Life in the Pits. She also recommend a book by Rick Bragg All Over but the Shouting. She indicated that is is one of the best books for Creative Nonfiction.

Viciki's Blog site is one of the best:

Jane Friedman: Marketing Using the Latest Tools. Ms. Friedman was our luncheon Keynote speaker. I have spoken of Ms. Friedman's talents in prevous blogs in the past.

Jane's four principles of Audience Development:

Join a social networking site and observe
Contribute and help others
Ask for something only after people trust you.

Build your own Blog. Posting on Facebook and Twitter will attract similar type people.

Measure your audience....use something like Google Analytic s.

Use on-line sites as a resource to find education and networking opportunities.

Participate long before you try to use social networking sites to market. Be positive in your postings. I can attest to that. "You partner with do not rely on them".

Sammie Justesen What Agents want you to know

This session was conducted by a husband and wife team from Northern Lights Literary Services. Mrs Justesen is a literay Agent and Mr "Dee" Justesen is the Publisher.

Sending Query Letters to Agents:

Cut and past the first 10 pages of your completed manuscript into the email. Send all emails to yourself first so that you can see that the format of the email looks OK. Great suggestion. Most agents do not like Word type attachments...they will delete them. Also do not do stupid things like " My brother thinks this book with sell well" Will he buy 10,000 copies?

Women buy the most books...63%. Younger people are the growing segment for ebooks and the older generation is the group buying the most traditional books.

Book Proposals: A must for non fiction Includes overview, info on the author, target market for your book, and a marketing plan.

Red Flags: Pay no fees for an agent to represent your work.

Publishers want to sell at-least 5,000 copies or a book in order to recoup their costs. Consider your rights to audio books and video's when negotiating your contract.

Nancy Pinard: Reading like a Writer

What can I say...that I have not already. Our original leader gave another one of her very information and inspirational lectures on how the writer can craft a brilliant short story with the correct use of powerful words. Ms. Pinard used a short story(2 pages) by Mary Robison entitled Yours to show the power of words in crafting a compelling short story. A short story is a formed story of a character testing conflict told from a viewpoint. The use of the correct word in a sentence can make the difference is how the reader interrupts the scene and how characters interact with one another.

We also discussed the fact that a short story is like a piece of Art. Wow that is similar to what Ms. Moss said when she recommended taking pictures and then using the scene as a resource for your writing.

The last session of the day was conducted by Jane Friedman. The title of her session was entitled: Building Your Author Website.

The session was conducted in the computer lab. Each person attending was able to create a Blog site using Google Blogger or The current Wannabe's blog site can be found on Blogger. and are two sites which are easy to use. Wordpress has more functionality. If you want to have your own website and own your own domain then and a web hosting site like Go would be the better combination. Start with Go and search to see if your domain name is available to rent. Most sites are priced reasonably for two years. You will also need to set up a host site which together with your name will run less than $ 80. After you have secured your name and hosting you can download the tools available at to design your web/blog site. You have many theme's and design's to choose from. I would also suggest that you check out the functionality that is included in the Premium Designs. Especially if you have already had books that have been published.

Great Material and well worth the price of admission.

There were many other featured speakers at the day long conference on Saturday.


Creative Writing Classes at Sinclair:

Poetry: Jamey Dunham T/Thurs 2-4:30 PM
Charles Freeland WWW

Fiction Tim Waggoner T/ Thurs 2-4:30 PM
Rebecca Morean WWW

Screenwriting Rebecca Morean T/ Thurs 8-10:40 PM

Antioch Writers Workshop

July 10 to the 16th. Many different sessions. This year the Workshop provides an al-a-cart menu for selecting the right conbination of classes and sessions for your literary appetite. Deadline for signing up is June 1st.

Some other notes:

Any suggestions on how a writers can go back to environment where they are writing in the dark? That was a question posed yesterday at our meeting. In our workshops we heard that you should write anywhere from 20 minutes to 500 words a day. But how do you get that "butt" in the chair? Any suggestions? What is your routine?

What about the wife who is being pressured to write her memoirs by her husband. She is the youngest of a large family and all of her sibblings are either deceased or not interested in helping. Maybe create a book that has family tree into but create a video or podcast of family stories of her sibblings for her family. What do you think?

Bill Foreman is writing a young adult novel about a whale and two children. I will include some of the titles of the chapters in our next letter.

Since we have so many "Santa's" in our group maybe we should have a seminar through the LLI that discusses what makes for a good Santa: makeup, clothing, flexible schedule, good listener... Would you attend? I am sure you would hear many great stories.

I thnk I hear my bride calling my name. Besides my fingers are sore and my brain is tired. Please be sure to visit our blog site to view our lastest picture.

We have not set a date for our next meeting yet but I will set a new date in early May. Have a great safe.