Wednesday, September 15, 2010

August Meeting Featured Members Showcase

Several members shared their stories at the Thursday August 26 meeting. Mary Krakow excelled as emcee, introducing each reader and presenting their brief biographies.

First on the program was Mary Jane Fountain, whose story “Once Upon a Time” took listeners on a delightful journey through fairy tales and children’s stories from Mother Goose to Where’s Waldo? Mary Jane wove their adventures, including encounters with characters found in The Brothers Grimm and Beatrix Potter’s stories. Her charming and imaginative tale enchanted us all, and brought smiles to our faces especially when, as they should in such stories, everyone lived happily ever after.

Mary Pax presented one of her creative stories, “Plantgirl”, an intriguing and thought-provoking account of a woman trying to break out of her dreary life. She is convinced Miracle Gro will make her thrive and break free of her earth-bound existence. The store where she works is taken over by a new manager, and when she finally meets him she shares her desire to expand her horizons, loosen the bonds that entangle her. She then discovers her boss understands and she has found a kindred soul. In the final scene, she learns his secret, giving new meaning to the phrase “Under New Management”.

Bill Birnbaum’s story, “Have You Seen My Partner?” is about his experiences hitchhiking from Oceanside, California to his home in Costa Mesa. Along the way, he is picked up by various drivers, all of whom elicit Bill’s response: “No one’s going to believe this story!” Encounters include a driver who appears to be transporting illegal immigrants from south of the border—Bill’s suspicions were aroused when the driver spoke to someone in the trunk who answered in Spanish. During the ride, the driver stopped at a bar where he met with a mysterious man and engaged in some sort of transaction, about which Bill figured he’d be better off not knowing details. After hitching a couple more rides, adding to his list of “No one’s going to believe this story!” Bill was grateful to arrive home, life and limb intact, and fortunately with a great story to share and include in his memoir. And in telling the tale, Bill convinced us—because we did indeed believe his stories!

Cynthia Scholar read about her recent visit to the Library of Congress, an entertaining account of her tour of the library. It began with Morrie the Docent, who liked to point out the art above the doors, and talked about the vacuum tubing system connecting the buildings that made up the library. When Cynthia asked, “Where are the books?”, since there was not a book in sight, she was told they were in the reading room. She then learned only those with a reader identification card could access the room, and look at the collection located therein. The ID cards were available in the Madison Building, one of several that make up the library. Determined to reach her goal of actually entering the reading room, Cynthia went through the hoops required to obtain the ID. That achieved, undaunted, she made her way to the room where there were indeed books! She was unable to remove items from the library—only certain highly placed government officials are allowed that privilege—but through her persistence and dogged determination, Cynthia found books in the Library of Congress, and wrote a most enjoyable story as a result!

Cindy Hutton read her lovely and moving memoir, “The Bitter and the Sweet” which spoke of recent changes in her life and what she had learned in the process: Painful experiences can leave us bitter, but memories of life’s sweet experiences override the bitter and ease the sting of loss. Cindy began with the deep emotions evoked by the seemingly simplest of things—a flower’s fragrance, the songs of birds, bringing back memories of childhood days and the happiness of that time. She described moments when her children were growing up that, when recalled, provided memories that touched all of her listeners as she shared them with us. She talked of the overwhelmingly emotional time she dealt with her daughter’s serious illness, never clearly diagnosed, and her decision to bring her daughter home and nurse her back to health, proving a mother’s love and concern is the best healer of all. She talked with pride of her son, of watching him grow up and who has just been selected by a prestigious acting school. She touched briefly on the sudden breakup of her marriage, the sadness it brought, and yet the doors that have opened to her since, as she described it, that eminent shift when paths split, join and split again, inevitably leading to far better places—the bitter overcome by the sweet.

Anita Lanning’s story, “A Little Romance Language” told of a young woman seeking romance, but only with her “Ideal Male”--the tall, dark, handsome, successful executive who will sweep her off her feet. While awaiting that magic moment, she decides to take French—it is a romance language after all—and in class she meets and becomes friends with Art, an ordinary-looking guy who with his father and brothers runs a commercial painting business. Dorrie likes Art, they study French together, she enjoys his company, even meets and is fond of his family. But she has no intention of becoming romantically involved with him—he is, after all, far from the Ideal Male. Or is he? In the end, Dorrie comes to her senses, realizes what an awesome guy she has by her side, and accepts his marriage proposal. Art suggests they go to Paris on their honeymoon and Dorrie agrees. What better place to use that romance language they’d just learned?

The guild’s Second Members Showcase was pronounced a success, and we are looking forward to the next one, scheduled for our Holiday Social on December 16. Details about that event will be forthcoming. Thanks to all the writers and to Mary for doing such a great job with her emcee duties!

Reminder: Thursday, September 23, award-winning author Paty Jager will present “The Essential Parts of a Good Book: GMC--Goal, Motivation and Conflict.”

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