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 Mairéad 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,
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:
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 mess...one 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 sister...at 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....