Sunday, October 30, 2011
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Clare was our leader today and brought wonderful buttertarts from his wife Dorothy, whom we love and have made an honorary member of the group years ago! Kelli and Diane brought chocolate bars, too. Bring on the sugar!
Nancy reminded us of the upcoming Brian Henry workshop on Feb 25, 2012. The chosen topic is: "18 Ways to Write a Page Turner." Time and location TBA.
Nancy and Diane are organizing an Artist's Way workshop beginning in November. Participants can get in touch with either of us to register. There is no fees to join, simply find a copy of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and have a great notebook, you'll be doing lots of writing and soul searching. Nancy told us that she's done the workbook several times and has grown both as a writer and a person each time. Alberta took the course when she lived in Hawaii with Julia Cameron. She told us that it opens up your relationships as well as changing you creatively. Creativity is the focus, but it will enrich your entire life.
The new Anthologies are here, authors picked them up from Gloria after the meeting. If you still have a book or two to pick up, please contact Gloria. She also had copies of a book called "Limericks from the Animal Kingdom" written by I. Mary Hackney a friend of hers who died this summer. The cartoons were done by Carly Hatton, a 19 year old Autistic woman. The books sell for $12.95.
Ron has become a blogger for "Women Writing for A Change." After doing a couple of guest blogs, he is now a regular blogger with them and encouraged us to check them out. http://www.womenwriting.org/
We had a wonderful treat! Alberta brought the movie she's been working so hard on titled "So I'm Dying...Now What?" It featured a feisty woman named Margaret Hackman who died of metastic cancer in 2009. The video will be premiered in Guelph on Nov 5. It was a moving yet inspiring story and had us all teary eyed. To find out more, Alberta's website is http://www.spiritvalleypictures.com/
Nancy read an article she'd written for her Brian Henry workshop.
Trina read about an adult getting a child-like view of the world, reminding us all to take time to play.
Ron read his blog article about Foodstock, the protest against the megaquarry. They had originally expected 20,000 people, but over 28,000 showed up. It featured 100 chefs from top local restaurants and looked like a giant cookout. There is another Foodstock planned for the spring if negotiations are not going well with the quarry.
When Ron was done, Marilyn asked if this was a political forum or a writers group.
Clare's next article for the Banner is called "Food for Thought." and will be about Foodstock as well as how we sustain ourselves with gardens. Instead of reading that, he read a page about his accident in 1979 when he was hit by a car and spent a lot of time in Sunnybrook Hospital. "Beware Nurse Boyle" is a very funny piece. My favourite line was: she gave me "a pill the size of a ten-pin bowling ball." He got a rousing round of applause.
The prompt was a little labour intensive to explain, but once we all got into it, it made for some hilarious reading later!
Number 1: Clare gave us a list of twelve book titles to choose from. We were to choose one and write it along with our name at the top of the paper he'd given us. That part was easy. Sort of.
1) Cat O'Nine Tales
2) Footprints in the Sand
3) Who Killed Old Man Horowitz?
4) Shakespeare's Secret
5) The Cappuccino Murders
6) The Archer's Revenge
7) The Scribbling Preacher Makes Her Mark
8) The Monk in the Attic
9) The Voyage of the Tipsy Virgin
10) A Hand-full of Hounds
11) The Time Ticker
12) Wood Chipper on the Loose
Number 2: The Rest of the Instructions
Write the first two killer hook lines to introduce the book title that you selected.
Pass the lined sheet to person on the right. On the sheet you receive, read the title and lines, leave a blank line then add two more lines of your own.
Pass the lined sheet to person on the right. Read ONLY the title and last two lines that were written. Leave a blank line then add two lines of your own. Pass the sheet to the person on your right.
Continue passing the sheets around the group, again reading ONLY the title and the last two lines written.
When the exercise is done, return the sheet to the person whose name is at the top.
Be prepared to read aloud what appears on your sheet.
For homework for the next meeting, write the first chapter of the book, incorporating as many of the suggestions from the sheet as possible.
So how did this all turn out? Well, here's mine. I've alternated colours to show when a different person wrote:
The Cappuccino Murders
Java Jo's had been the only coffee shop in Packham for ten years until Lori's Latte's opened directly across the street. Wednesday morning, Lori Archer failed to open her shop for a very good reason.
It's a true story and Joe Cappucano has written about his mafia family and it put his life in danger.
I thought it was old coffee on the floor as I walked into the cafe - but coffee isn't thick or red.
I slipped, leaving a gross streak of burnished blood across my backside.
And feeling ashamed, I didn't look up.
I could feel the eyes of dozens of people staring at me and the cafe grew silent, except for one gasp.
The spoon clattered on the floor and coffee - dripped - in a puddle on the floor. Call for help now, please.
What the hell do you think I am, Mabel, your servant? Well the least that you could do is clean up the mess!
"Why should I?" s/he yelled. "I do everything around here. It's your turn. S/he turned and left the room.
He ignored her and returned to the coffee machine. He still had time to brew her up a pot of poisoned brew. That would teach the bitch!
When she asked for tea, the plot fizzled out. What next?
Murder plots ran through her head each night. There were cunning ways of disposing of the corpses.
That's my story and I guess I have to stick to it! It was certainly lots of fun reading all the results. Kelli and I laughed so hard we were crying! Nancy found a lesson in the whole exercise: Don't let other people write your story.
Our next meeting is November 13th, 2011. Marilyn will be leading.
November 27th, Nancy will lead.
December 11 will be our Christmas Luncheon.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Was it a day of infamy as FDR said of Pearl Harbour? History has accepted it as such.
It was a day when his country was savagely and covertly attacked by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy that early Sunday morning that forever changed the direction of WWII and the fate of two powerful nations.
October 16, 2011
Will this be another Sunday which will become a day of infamy for our farmers in Melancthon Township? Unlike Pearl harbor we certainly hope so. The price paid in 1941 was in blood, this time it will be in the loss of unique soil, thousands of acres of prime farmland, polluted drinking water for over one million people, an ugly blight on our landscape, the disruption of many rivers and streams, and a major loss of food production for millions of people in Southern Ontario.
This Mega Protest in support of our farmland, water and heritage was spawned by the farmers targeted by Highland Companies bid to mine millions of tons of limestone rock beneath their farmland which we rely on for food, thus destroying the soil forever all for speculators wanting to make money.
The expected turnout was for 20,000 people willing to donate at least $10.00 each to pay for the food cooked by over 100 chefs who came from across Canada. Not backyard barbecue chefs. Well trained people, many running their own successful businesses or working for high profile hotels and restaurants. They gave of their time and talents because of the seriousness of the issue at hand. The food was spectacular. The weather not so but the turnout was estimated at over 28,000.
As my family and I walked along the pathway through an almost leafless bush next to a productive field of peas, the aroma of different exotic dishes tickled the palate. There were stews, goulashes, chili, soups, breads of many types, special coffees, and foods I have never tasted until today.
The “kitchens” for each chef were set up in this bush under tent like structures next to the path so the entire scene looked like a giant cook-out, which it was in reality. Made me think how easy it was to be in a gourmet cook’s kitchen without a security guard wanting to kick me out.
If you were hungry that was good because the sample sizes of food were quick to be enjoyed, and the variety was as large as the number of chefs at work. It’s a fair guess that no one went home hungry this day.
Along the food pathways were different entertainers, vendors of various natural products, and an area with a stage for speakers and music to keep the crowd entertained as they ate.
Apparently by 3:30 pm the food was for the most part finished. This is not surprising with the larger than expected turnout so with the advent of light rain and cold winds people began dispersing for their vehicles, satiated and happy with their country experience and contribution to a good cause.
We met people we knew from as far away as Paris ON, Toronto, Barrie and very many local towns, which if drawn as a circle with Hwy 24 and 20 Sideroad Melanchthon being the axis and Barrie the outer line covers a very large area. This gives perspective on the scope of those affected directly by what this quarry will impact if it is allowed to be developed.
Some encouraging news on this initiative a day following the very successful protest was announced that another “Foodstock” in the Spring is a strong possibility depending on how negotiations are going with Highland Companies on stopping the proposed quarry.
I would suggest that if enough people stand up for the good of all concerned we can make a difference.
October 19, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Jayne was also our leader for the day. And gave Nancy a thank you note for the group: To the members of the Headwaters Writers Guild, Words can't express how much I appreciate your presence and support at yesterday's book launch. Thank you so much, Jayne Self.
Ashley was back for a visit with us and is planning to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writers Month held every year in November for more information, check out http://www.nanowrimo.org/. This is Ashley's forth or fifth year trying to meet the goal of 50,000 words. She also told us about a new version of NaNo called Script Frenzy. And that she is hoping to start a writing group of her own in Toronto geared for University students who are looking for a little moral support.
Pat told us all that our favourite bookstore lady, Nancy Frater of BookLore, received a lifetime achievement award at Authors & Armchairs a couple weeks ago. The group gave her a bottle of wine and handpainted wine glasses as an appreciation gift for all of her support of our writers.
Nancy has been in contact with Brian Henry regarding an upcoming workshop. The workshop will take place February 25, 2012. Our choices of courses are:
1) How to Make Yourself Write
2) Eighteen Secrets to Writing a page-turner
3) Writing with Style (which we needed more information on)
4) You Can Write Great Dialogue
We were deadlocked between #1 and #2 so Nancy will touchbase with other members who normally attend the workshops and we will decide.
Nancy is interested in doing a series of workshops based on the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. We have talked to someone who offers the course through Continuing Education, but feel we could do the same thing for free as our own small group. If anyone is interested, please let us know.
Marilyn told us she has checked out The Next Big Writer.com and is impressed with what she's seen. For $50 per year, you can post work, enter contests and get feedback from impartial people. Both the contest submissions and the work you can post are between 1000-2000 words. Check it out at http://www.thenextbigwriter.com/
Marilyn announced that she is "getting all poetic or something ridiculous" and read a poem she'd written.
Diane read a short story written for a Wynterblue Publishing contest called "She Needs to Lose Weight" which caters to the if-only world of if cake and soda were diet foods.
Danielle read part of her fantasy novel that was written as a journal entry.
Ashley had a wonderful poem written in french that she translated for us. It was called "The Drama Queen" and was about her former drama teacher from Westside who passed away this past September. A lovely tribute to her mentor.
Trina (our newest member! Welcome!) read about Trinity Church, the one in New York City that was a central meeting place during the days after 9/11. We loved hearing how being their moved her and put things into perspective.
Nancy read a poem called "Uninvited." Very moving.
On Gaining Confidence....
Jayne thanked us all for helping her become more confident and able to speak in public thanks to reading aloud in the group.
Trina said she'd put off coming to join us on a regular basis, but after reading such a personal poem and getting so much support and feedback, she feels stronger.
Danielle loves how we are all supportive and encouraging to each other.
Marilyn said that "It is amazing how we credit people with the judgements we don't have."
Jayne had a bag full of slips of paper on which were written the names of emotions. We chose two slips. The first time, we wrote about the emotion without naming the emotion. Some words that were used were: Sympathy, Excitement, Shame, Fondness, Suspicious, Contentment, Worry, Happiness, Grief.
The second session, we had to start with the sentence: "Sam opened the door..." and use the second emotion without naming it. More emotions to describe: Love, Despair, Desire, Curiosity, Revenge, Sadness, Jealousy, Hope, Passion, Longing.
Some noteworthy dates:
Next meeting is October 30th. Clare (who was notably absent this week) will be leading.
Our Christmas luncheon is Dec 11, details TBA.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Look at the size of the crowd:
And that doesn't include everybody!
Jayne read from the first chapter of her novel and answered some questions from her guests. She also had a draw for a pair of Sea Glass earrings.
And of course we can't forget a photo of Jayne with the Headwaters Writers' Guild members, at least those who were still there when this picture was taken.
At the HWG meeting the next day Jayne reported that her books sold out! What awesome support from our fellow writers and Orangevillians. And thanks to BookLore for your continued support of local writers (and for the cake and hot apple cider!).
Friday, October 14, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Here's that eMail from Dr. Stephen Badsey I read out at todays meeting (September 24,11). All the best Ron.
This is a copy of an eMail to Ron Lehman from Dr. Stephen Badsey, Reader in Conflict Studies University of Wolverhampton in the UK on March 25, 2011. Dr Badsey is a personal friend of Ron and shares his writers learning experiences with all members of Headwaters Writers Guild. He is the author of over 80 books. Enjoy!
I've been wrapped up writing a book of my own (I still am, and will be for several months), so my apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I'm glad you liked the 'suit of armour' comparison, because I stole it from a writer I admire, the English poet Ian MacMillan (who is still very much alive).
You asked me in your last paragraph about all the material you've got, and what to do with it all. My best piece of advice on what to put in a book or leave out is the same advice that was given to me at the start of my own writing career, and which I have found in many variants. Here are a few:
"If you feel you have written a phrase or passage of particular elegance - cross it out" (John Bourne, historian)
"When what you think is your best scene is lying on the cutting room floor, your movie is finished" (Hollywood maxim)
"Start with a plain block of marble, and then just chip away everything that doesn't look like the statue you have in your mind" (Michaelangelo, attributed)
"If you are almost in tears because of all the good material that you have had to leave out or can find no room for in this book, then you might just have written something worth publishing" (Martin Middlebrook, historian)
Never throw anything away, all material is valuable, if not this time then next time; but a book has a shape of its own. The story tells itself; the first duty of the storyteller (or, in a different way, of the translator) is to get yourself out of the way. My one exception to this in writing, I think, is good poetry because it is essentially personal (although bad poetry is just a way of learning how to write better). Poets draw their subject matter entirely from themselves and so depend on how much of themselves they can reveal. (And I have published a few poems too, over the years; although my poetry wasn't as good as my history because I don't have that big an ego; I may go back to it one day.)
All this sounds very Zen, and it should because it is a process common to many activities. Do you remember Bruce Lee in "Enter The Dragon" saying "when there is an opportunity I do not hit. It hits all by itself"? Just so it doesn't get to mystical, I should add that a lot of luck helps as well, often dressed up by words like "inspiration" or "my muse"; but even then, if you work hard and seize chances as they come, it's amazing how lucky you get. I hardly need to tell you that. But I hope that you have found this useful.
1. Muttering obscenities, Chad scooped up the _________, dumped the water out of it and tried to stuff it into his back-pack.
2. My mother used to tell me that she found me under a garbage can - a dirty little piece of trash - and I’m still trash she says . . .
3. A mysterious tablet with hieroglyphic figures had been dropped by the fleeing men.
4. Hiram offered to take the strange little orphan boy home with him until the authorities could figure out who he was, and where he lived.
5. After uncle Henry moved in, strange things began to happen in our house.
6. He was running ahead of me through the ________________. I had to keep up with him, or I’d lose him in the dark.
7. As fate would have it, we missed our usual train into the city that day, because David forgot to set the alarm.
OR WRITE ABOUT -
What would you say, if you could write to someone in your past
Describe a dream (maybe a recurring dream) which affected you deeply
What are you afraid of?
What childhood memory brings to the surface strong emotion in you? (laughter? sadness? anger? etc) .
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I would like to announce officially that the Headwaters Writers' Guild now has a fan page on Facebook. I'm super excited about it as it will help our group to gain more exposure. I'm still in the process on uploading more pictures and adding more info on it.
I invite you to "LIKE" our new fan page on Facebook and tell your friends and family about it. Stay posted for upcoming events, pictures and get interactive with HWG. I look forward to seeing you all there soon and supporting your local Headwaters Writers' Guild. :-)