Gaithersburg Creative Writers Group

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Impressions of our last meeting on 7/16/19 are below

Our next meetings will be on August 6, 2019.  We will be at La Villa restaurant in Gaithersburg, starting at 6:30 PM. The first 15 minutes we hope will be used to order food and drinks so that we can start the meeting promptly at 6:45. We have been promised cheaper food and drinks, if you order from the lunch menu. To get happy hour prices, order your drinks before 7:00 PM. The dishes in the web site look delicious, they are even better in reality. The address is: 

18701 N Frederick Ave. Gaithersburg, MD 20879. Please Note!! Our member John Hardison informed us that there are discounts for this restaurant. See the Links page for details. Those of us that joined have received good discounts.

Please let Ken know if you are planning to read and bring enough copies to get comments. If you want the piece to be put up on this page send it to Ken ( or to Mario (

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Tina, our newest member, wrote this wonderful summary of our meeting on 7/16/19.

Eight enthusiastic writers attended our meeting today:  Melina, John, Bill, Ken, Mario, Pat, Chuck, and Tina.  Four read their latest work to us.  Mario started us off with a piece that was inspired by a conversation he had had with Chuck at the previous meeting (even though politics is normally off-limits for our group).  Mario’s article, entitled “Second-class Citizenship,” was an opinion piece relating to the current US president’s latest tweet furor and delving into possible reasons for racism and discrimination against immigrants.  A spirited yet friendly discussion ensued, and we see-sawed between constructive suggestions for the writing and political debate.  Having successfully navigated those treacherous waters, we moved on to Chuck reading excerpts from a list of advice points he had compiled from his life experience.  He has previously shared his 31-item list with a high school as “Advice from the old farts to the young ones.”  Much of our discussion centered on the statement, “it’s not alright to be stupid,” with various thoughts being voiced as to what was meant by stupid vs. ignorant, and some of us felt that the preceding sentences could stand on their own perfectly well, without the problematic phrase.  After absorbing as much life wisdom from Chuck’s list as we could, John shared a playful poem about how helmet-wearing squirrels are actually dealing with those murderous cars by valiantly trying to take them down with thorns, sticks, and even spears.  The fate of squirrel Princess Melina was a bit harsh in the end, but this did not detract from anyone’s enjoyment of the poem’s conceptual creativity and its rollicking rhythm.  Some minor comments were whether the poem should strictly follow an ABAB rhythm, or whether it should have a set number of lines per stanza.  Ken, our last presenter, moved us to more somber topics by reading a summary he had written about a police officer’s presentation on how to survive an active shooter.  We all listened attentively to the information being presented, which was clear, useful, and immediately applicable, even to our choice of seating in the restaurant.  We did not have much to critique in the writing itself;  the main substantive question was whether all the information presented was factual, and how to present information that the officer or Ken himself were offering more as opinions, such as whether video game playing plays a causal role in leading an individual to commit violent acts.  Despite this heavy topic, the entire group finished our meeting happy to have had the fellowship of such good company on what otherwise would have been a humdrum Tuesday evening.

We had five participants at our meeting on 6/18/19. Besides Ken, Larry Alfredo and Mario we had Charles, a new member. Charles read two of his essays that were very well receive. Larry read a hilarious piece about Bush 43 burning and speaking to people in the past, during the Deluge and a pair of penguins trying to make the cruise. Ken gave us a very nice piece about how mangoes felt being shipped to the US as well as fighting drones getting ready for commerce. Mario gave us a piece about his fiction piece “On the run”. A lively discussion about religion and politics followed the readings.

We had nine participate in our meeting on 6/4/19. Larry read a SciFi piece with the dilemma of what a Zombie should do when he is already full. Pat told us about her confusion with what noun to use when dealing with the proliferating genders today. Ken read a translation of a very moving beginning of a letter from a dear friend. He also read about how attributing Climate Change to supernatural entities will get us into trouble. Mario read about his ancestor Sebastían de Belalcázar, but apparently did not provide enough information to satisfy the rest. In the words of one of the participants, “we want more from you, man.”

Five members participated in our May 21st meeting. Larry read a Sci-Fi piece about the “Society of conspiracy theorist” that was Happy and Righteous. Ken about a missionary known to him in Bolivia that was killed by a guerrilla group. Mario gave us a piece about a street fight. A lively discussion was also part of the meeting, related mostly on how to provide positive feedback.

Our meeting on 5/7/19 was well attended. Of the eight participants, six read. John delighted us with a colorful poem he wrote for someone’s school project (that couldn’t be presented). A new member read the first chapter of a novel she is writing. Vicky read an interesting piece that she wrote for a contest, and Larry a SciFi short story about the end of the Earth video and Mario about stopping a thief when he was a teenager. Rafael asked for input on what text to add to his “Doctor Zhivago” themed napkins.

Our meeting on 4/16 was exceptionally good. 4 1/2 people read, all with good writing and good reading. Peg delighted us with a new chapter of her science fiction project that included some funny references to Trump. Pat read of her experience j-walking in Germany. Ken read some moving poetry and Mario told us when he got a package sent to the main post office in Saigon. Alfredo tried to read from a hand-written memoir in Spanish. We left inspired.

On the 4/2 meeting. All was well for our group last night in La Villa. Mario read more of his adventure story, Larry conveyed a really unique approach to Heaven and Hell, and Ken read an essay and a poem written on his trip to Jordan.

Our meeting on 3/19 had five participants. We enjoyed readings by Peggy and Mario. We also reread Larry’s piece about releasing Hitler from hell. We had two new members that we hope will continue to attend. 

Our meeting last night (3/5/19)- eight members and four readers. Perfect! Larry TT had a new take on old Aesop, Trekkie John read a fanciful tale, Our Mario gave us valuable historical information, and Silver Pen Ken edged into race relations. Good discussions followed each one. 

Ten people attended our meeting at La Villa 2/5/19. We enjoyed readings by four of those attending. Food was enjoyed by all. Larry Hodges returned and read an interesting piece about Hell closing out for good. Here is a photo of the group.

Photo of those attending.
We had ten participants on 2/5/19.

Nine people attended our meeting on 1/22/19. We had a new person, Pablo Guzmán and two members we have not seen for a while, Bill and Suzyn. Five members read and we had lively feedback.

Twelve persons attended our 1/8/19 meeting. Ties our most attended. The highlight was John’s piece about …. well you ask him about it. 

We had a very well attended meeting on  12/4. We heard from five of nine writers. A good time was had by all.

Attendants 12/4/18
Attendants 12/4/18

Ken’s remarks on our meeting on 10/24/18:

When we arrived to the Barking Mad last evening, a major rally for Governor Hogan was in full swing on the patio. It was a hard to find parking and even harder to push through the crowd to the door. We spoke of this and that and ordered from the waitress. Then, Mario read a memoir, hot off his printer. About the time we finished commenting on it, the Hogan rally ended and, and the cafe filled with people looking for warmth, food, drink and conversation.

Carol read more of her Ghana story, loudly enough to be heard over the din, and there were several comments. Those ended when Lee, from the family that owns the Spectrum complex, including the cafe, saw our sign on the table and came to say “hello.” She is a journalist. Then, her husband, Peter, came to join in the conversation.

As they were moving on, a Puerto Rican artist and writer, Alfredo, arrived to check out our group. The time for reading was over, and people drifted away, as Ken and Alfredo stayed to enjoy some good café americano.

On May 1st we had six participants. We thoroughly enjoyed the company and the readings by five participants. Larry H delighted us with a short story about the last Pluter. Carol read the second chapter of her book. Marylou showed one of her recently published articles about a fabulous exhibit at the Barn in the Kentlands. Larry surprised us with part of his book about the lost pterodactyls.  Mario continued the saga of a couple of the characters in “On the run”.

We had a very successful meeting on April 17. We missed some of you, but we had a great addition to the group, Carol Bouville. She delighted us with part of the first chapter of her novel.

We had one of the better attended meetings on April 3rd. Heard from six of the participants. Regaled with both fiction and non fiction that made the evening very enjoyable. Here is a photo of the participants.

Meeting on June 21, 2017

Our group’s writers are meeting high standards. On June 21st, Ben read a fascinating one-pager entitled, “Beautiful,” she said,”And tragic.” Bill followed with an excellent piece that began: “She was lethargic and seldom spoke–a clear portent that her ancestors were beckoning.” Ken followed with a poem about acquaintance and impermanence, and then Mario’s ongoing story moved into the realm of a Latin gang.

At one point, our waiter said something about “The Ancient Mariner,” and Ken spouted a verse of it. Bill knew the poem too and recited the opening verse. 

Newbies, Elizabeth and Sandy participated in the critiques, found things in common, and stayed after the meeting to talk about them. Writers attract writers.

On March 21, 2017 we had an excellent meeting. The photo below shows us in the middle of it, from left: Rachel, Ken, Mario, Ben, Larry, Ellie and Dell. We also hosted a videographer from the city of Gaithersburg that came to tape Ken, as our host. Rachel, Mario, Larry, Ellie and Dell read from some of the projects they have going. Rachel is a newcomer, she has two more writing Meetons. The fare was good and the company better.

We had a great meeting last Tuesday January 17. Six people attended. DelRica one of our new members sent me a link for a short story competition.

The dead line is fast approaching. If you have that literary jewel, this is your chance.

Participants at our meeting on 7/19/16

We enjoyed the company of : (from left), Arlene, Holly, Richard, Anna (with Henry), Mario, Matthew, Ken, Mo, Nancy and Vivian. A good time was had by all.

Participants at our first meeting on 7/5/16.From left: Bea, Mario, Holly, Ken, Mo, Peter and Nancy.