By Lynda Baldwin
In drips and drabs ten grand friends crossed the threshold of Don Jorge’s Restaurant to join in our Writers Group meeting on February 4, comprised of: Ken, Lynda, John, Melina, Catherine (who was new), Pat, Richard, Suzyn, Daniel, and Connor.
Our newest member is one of our youngest (we’ll keep exact age out of it), and her name is Catherine; nickname Cat will serve. She joins us with a lifetime love of writing, and horticulture, in which she has a degree. She lives with her husband in Gaithersburg, MD; and after working at Butler’s Orchard, has retired from that occupation to give writing her full attention.
Our first reader was Richard – his first time sharing. His subject was part of a true story or memoir-in-progress titled, “Two Women.” He related what he knew of his father, his grandmother, uncle, and aunts emigrating to the United States of America from Turkey. The family’s emigration was sometime between 1907 and 1914, coinciding with the early years of the Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire/Republic of Turkey. Discussion revolved around good places to begin and end the section. Some of us were unaware of the Armenian Genocide, and once aware, found the piece more striking. We wanted more description and detail regarding the “harrowing” parts of the family’s journey. The form/format for publishing was also briefly discussed. We look forward to learning what happened next for Richard’s progenitors.
Suzyn then read from her general fiction story, “Juniper,” about a young woman who was a recent college graduate, trying to be the best adult she could be. To her that means having an apartment and job, and hoping for a marriage proposal. This is told from the first-person point of view of the main character, Juniper, or June. The section read involved the big reveal of a billboard created by the small ad agency for which June works. The group discussed that although the characters had convincing dialogue and names, they lacked descriptions. Several agreed that more description almost never hurts. There was also discussion of the story seeming lighthearted at its beginning, but turning toward a serious subject matter at its end. We hope to hear more of June’s trials and tribulations soon.
Following Suzyn, Connor read a revamped beginning of his short, medieval/fantasy realm story titled “Berserker: Odin’s Fury.” Main character Wulfric spent some time on a boat, in flashback first sparring and bantering with his older sister; and then with the story’s villain, Rothar. The villain wants to know the secrets of Mjolnir, while the group was trying to discover – what IS the riddle of Mjolnir? We also discussed the use of Dungeons and Dragons terminology in a mixed group of readers, with some who played and several who did not – and all were wondering what on Earth a dire bear was. We may find out, next time.
Next was Daniel, who read the final pages of Chapter 3 of his sci-fi novel, “Better The Millstone,” in which Scamper, is led from Lady Skellex’s lair. The skinny, mistreated young girl is ridden with parasites, and objects to vaccinations, hardly knowing what they are. She objects also to seeing a doctor at all. The girl knows a doc in Lower D, and as they make their way, Bailey and the captain exchange banter before the chapter closes. We debated whether there might be some slang among the denizens of D-Ring – something for a doctor instead of that title, and perhaps the doctor, or the clinic, is not 100% above board. We also discussed how the author could be sure the ruse from the previous part of the chapter was ongoing (in the audience’s view) until out of earshot of Skellex’s henchman/henchmen. We excitedly await the next part!
Toward the end of our meeting, Pat suggested that we have a few writing prompts available, and that the authors work on a two week deadline to write from one of them. Thus, every other meeting would be dedicated to reading these prompt submissions. The author would choose a prompt and write whatever they wanted – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biography, etc. The maximum length would be 2 pages, double spaced, in 12 pt font. Pat volunteered to harvest our first round of prompts for the Feb. 18 meeting, with the goal for willing authors to complete submissions for the first meeting in March. After that, we would discuss periodically repeating this exercise.
No one happened to mention it, but this author noted the ambient temperature outside to be 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning that, inside, none of our legs were cold! Some among us were excited to have only four readers, since it was also the night of the President’s State of the Union address, and various members wanted to view it. Right before we said our goodbyes, Lynda and Daniel announced that they plan to wed late this year – which brought hearty congratulations and applause! A few members hung back to talk about Superman and fantasy authors, and then we were all out the door.