The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, February 23, 2012

WWWP Shenanigans

       Oh, it was a wild critique session last night. Here are some of the highlights-- see if you can guess which member is responsible for which comment/prank:

  • One of the WWWPs is suffering from a back problem. Or so she says. Several times while she was seated on her "throne," she dropped something, and insisted that one of us pick it up for her. We each had to take at least one turn being her lackey. After dropping 11 objects out of her purse, with intervals between each, we got a bit suspicious. Then we put a stop to it when she took a grape out of the fruit salad and asked us to peel it for her. That was going a bit too far...

  • One of the WWWPs mentioned she has "such trouble putting on weight." She reportedly put on some--after working hard to do it--and then lost a few pounds. Another writer chimed in, and said she had the same exact problem. What mirror is she looking in? they all wondered. They looked at the fat rolls and the cellulite that was attempting to escape from her waistband, and silently pondered what the real story was...

  • One of the WWWPs has had to hire a storage facility to hold all the letters she has received this month (and February isn't even over yet!). For every letter she gets, she sends three replies, and the cost of postage has gotten out of control. Her husband has cut her off from the bank account, as it was all getting siphoned directly into the post office. This WWWP has had to get a part-time job as a pole dancer to support her letter writing habit...(Apparently, spandex and glitter are a lot cheaper than stamps.) 

  • One of the WWWPs wrote a story that was so full of brilliant phrases and imagery, it makes you ticked off that you didn't create them. After we read the piece and we picked our jaws off the floor, she said, "Thanks. You really like it?" Jeeze!

  • One of the WWWPs ate several pieces of fudge during the evening, but since her body is seemingly impervious to calorie accumulation, the rest of us began gluing pieces of the milk-chocolate goodness onto her 6'3" frame. She went home with Viggo Mortensen. We'll see how that hook-up works out...
       Send your answers to me...Major prizes if you get all 5 correct. The winner gets a half-eaten plate of fudge...Oops, sorry. That prize has already been snapped up...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Picking Up Men, One Frumped-Up T-Shirt At a Time

      I know everyone has missed my bloggial presence (not!). I was in Santa Barbara--left on Wednesday afternoon and got back late last night--and although I missed my blog friends, I thoroughly enjoyed the west coast weather.

photo by Michael Stidham

       As a teacher consultant for the National Writing Project, I was part of a group working with the SB art museum. Like most museums, they are not the most welcoming when it comes to people of color and people who are not part of society's uppercrust. Lots of people are intimidated by art museums. Even more people allow art to make them feel stupid. We were there to help the staff find ways to embrace the community in a more inclusive way.

      At one point, we were on the sidewalk in front of the museum writing in journals. I was wearing a T-shirt from a creative writing camp. An elderly man (in his 70's? 80's?) came up and started a conversation with me when my "beacon" of a shirt reeled him in.

     He said, "I think you might be interested in this," and then pulled a page--one that he had been saving--out of his satchel. It was from a book on writing, and had some interesting thoughts.

     Since a copyright of 1949 was noted, I voiced my assumption that the book was out of print. When Russell confirmed that was correct, I wrote down my name and address and asked if he would send me a copy of the page. (He refused the dollar I tried to force on him to cover the cost of the printing and postage.) We had an extended conversation about writing--he had always wanted to be one, but had never taken the leap--in any way. 

      As soon as Russell left, one of my colleagues came up and teasingly said, "Did you make a new friend?" I teased back, "Yes, a man thinks I'm hot, but it's only ones in their 80's who think that."

      The next day a couple of us went up into a church tower; a native of Santa Barbara had tipped us off...the view was spectatular. While we were up there, basking in the beauty, a woman approached me. (I was wearing a writing shirt--a different one. I am civilized enough to change my clothes daily when I travel.) Her son--who was with her--wanted to be a writer, and I advised him to find or form a writing critique group.  

       Writers are beacons.  They're lighthouses. If you wear a shirt or button or hat that proclaims you're an author, a writer, others are drawn to you. Everyone has a story to tell. And even though they might not have taken the time or had the courage to act on it yet, they're drawn like moths to a flame to those who do.

      Russell said he has several penpals. He even pulled an unopened letter from one out of his bottomless satchel. How will I respond if he sends a letter to accompany the book's page?

      Write, Russell.  And if you want a penpal, there's always Lynn Obermoeller.