6 Empowering yourself, personal writing, book sale, and storytelling (Write Stuff 1114)
THE
WRITE
STUFF
 
Writing News for the Sunshine State
& the Solar System
Editor: Howard Denson
November 2014

In This Issue:
 
NFW to explore being empowered with the word; speaker, Maureen Jung
Family and personal writing from the intrinsic to the aesthetic – Howard Denson
Fernandina kicks off Friends of the Library's annual fall Book Sale on Nov. 6-8
Storytelling festival scheduled Saturday, Nov. 15, at Inman Memorial
Writers and readers invited to Shantyboat Writers reading at Carmines Nov. 8
‘Happy Tapir’ roasts on back burner till New Year
FWA reminder: only 2 months left to meet ’14 writing goals – Vic DiGenti
BookMark to host an accidental admiral and thriller author
Stuff from a Writer’s Quill — Franz Kafka
Stuff from hither and yon
The Wrong Stuff – Howard Denson
Writers Born This Month
Meetings of NFW and Other Groups
Useful Links
Need someone to critique a manuscript?
The Write Staff
 
NFW to explore being empowered
with the word; speaker, Maureen Jung
 
“In the beginning was the Word…” Thus begins the Gospel of John, but Logos or the Word has a wider application for writers, according to Maureen Jung, Ph.D. , who will speak on “Being Empowered with the WORD” on Nov. 8 for the North Florida Writers.
 
Dr. Jung has built a national reputation providing communication approaches that are practical, doable, and effective. An organizational sociologist by training, she specializes in building relationships amid chaotic environments. For the past decade she has worked extensively in the healthcare and public health arenas, writing two presentations for the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and a successful $15-million grant proposal for nonprofit healthcare organization. She currently serves as a writing consultant for the Network for a Healthy California, part of the California Dept. of Public Health.
 
She has been a dynamic communication coach and facilitator for over 20 years, training thousands of people from across the country. In addition, she has coached consultants and entrepreneur-presenters at venture capital and other business conferences. She has developed materials for training trainers in two public health programs.
 
She helps others research, plan, and prepare learning and training materials that focus on key healthcare and communication issues. Recent clients include Public Health Institute/California Department of Public Health (2011-2014). She has also studied local nutrition education and obesity prevention projects funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and wrote a guidebook on community engagement now used to train local community health department staff across the state. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/cpns/Documents/Network-APlaceToGrow-2008-2012-LFNE.pdf.
 
Her audiences have included Network for a Healthy California, National Assn. of Information Destruction, Institute of Management Consultants USA, Management Consultants of N. California, Building Owners & Managers Association, California Studies Association, Executives Association, Sacramento, John Muir Center for Regional Studies, California Business Women’s Expo, Western History Association, American Sociological Association, Medical Managers of Northeast Florida, American Business Women’s Association, Florida Writers Association, Florida State College Retired Employees, Clay County Council on Aging, Florida Heritage Book Festival, and Shepherd’s Center of Orange Park.

 
She received her B.A. from Colorado State University and both her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She specialized in organizational behavior, urban studies, and economic history. Her writing awards include Charles Spaulding Research Prize: UCSB; Fellow, South Coast Writing Project (a National Writing Project affiliate based at UCSB); Theodore Calvin Pease Award, Society of American Archivists; invited contributor, California Sesquicentennial book project.
 
She also leads Clay County Writers, sponsored by Florida Writers Assn.  For more information, contact her at 904.298.5714 or at mjung@wordspringconsulting.com or visit www.wordspringconsulting.com. 
 
Critiques
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For the critiques, someone other than the author of respective works will read aloud the submissions (up to 20 double-spaced TYPED pages of prose, and reasonable amounts of poetry or lyrics). Authors may not defend their work, but they may attach questions they would like answered (e.g., “Is the scene on the beach convincing?”). Authors should listen to the words and rhythms of their creations.
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Future meeting dates and locales:
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Dec. 13 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: TBA
Jan. 10 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Edward Baldwin
Feb. 14 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: TBA
Mar. 14 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: TBA
 
 
The NFW meets at the VyStar Credit Union (760 Riverside Ave., next to the Fuller Warren Bridge and Saturday’s Riverside Arts Market).
The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will begin at noon and end before 3 p.m.
 
Parking: VyStar requests that NFW members and guests park on the side of the buildings to leave spaces for their regular customers.
 
Family and personal writing
from the intrinsic to the aesthetic
 
By HOWARD DENSON
 
When J. Diane Tribble was telling the North Florida Writers in October that journaling can be therapeutic and cathartic, she triggered an extensive response from the audience, and several observations arose regarding “family” and personal writing.
 
A decade or more ago, one local poet spoke to the NFW, and, when asked about his influences, he mentioned that his father had written poems and had notebooks. When the dust settled after his father’s memorial service, our speaker became curious about what his father had written. When he asked his mother about the notebooks and poems, she said, “Oh, I threw out all that stuff.”
 
That remark caused gasps (rightly so). It may be understandable at times when writers’ poetry, stories, and essays are pitched out, especially when, say, a spouse has to discard much of the contents of a house in order to move into an apartment or condo. When families move often, things will get lost. A saying among military families is “three moves is as good as a fire.” And, yes, even fires and floods will destroy things that have intrinsic or aesthetic value.
 
Nonetheless, a writer can safeguard some of his or her works by taking some simple steps.
 
Step #1 is to ask other family members who would like to have the material one day. Some rare individuals possess the instincts of archivists. They are greatly outnumbered by those who don’t appreciate the importance of the written word.
 
Step #2 is to put the writing in some sort of order (as Emily Dickinson did with her own largely unpublished poetry). If the poems, collections of short stories, or memoirs are in book-sized form, they may be placed in certain libraries. A word of caution: A community college or state college may initially agree to store and make available these three-ring binders, etc.; however, these libraries aren’t reliable because their operation is subject to the whims of central administrators who may have bought into the notion of discarding books in favor of i-Gizmos. Perhaps you should seek out a college or university library associated with your church.
 
Family letters can often provide an insight into an era. One’s relatives may divide into two camps: (1) those who won’t mind their letters being read, especially if they are sealed until 2030 or so and (2) those who want all letters burned or shredded lest someone learn about Uncle Cliff’s mid-life crisis or what Molly (who is dead) said about Aunt Nora (who is also dead).
 
Photographs of friends and families often illuminate what life was like during, say, the 1930s. If Aunts Agatha and Bertha are in their 80s, get them to go through the photographs and write on the back who various individuals were and, if known, where the picture was taken. These can be donated to family history sections of public libraries with decent genealogy sections or to private colleges that help chronicle family histories. In addition, websites such as Facebook can give a degree of immortality to the memory of family members.
 
Someone is now screaming, “My God, the last thing we need is a library of crap! Let that junk be thrown out so we can focus on writing excellence!” Let’s ignore these individuals; they always want you to believe that they themselves are individuals of merit and accomplishment, whereas, in reality, they may have only mastered the art of the caustic remark.
 
Personal writing has several virtues. First, it lets us know how an individual thinks. I am looking at a genealogy sheet assembled by my cousin in Huntsville. We don’t really know these relatives from what has been recorded. Thumbing through our common ancestors, I come to a page that lists (with a question mark) John Alexander. He was born in Scotland in 1590 and died in Eridy in Donegal County, Ireland. Two generations earlier, James Alexander was born about 1634 in Bughall [probably Boghall], Scotland, married in Donegal in Ireland, and died in 1704 in Cecil County, Maryland. A tombstone would provide only a name, a birth year, and the death year. We don’t know them at all.
 
But…
 
We can know them and perceive a ghostly shadow of them as individuals if we can read some examples of their writing and can understand the way they think.
 
Some relatives can be coaxed to write down episodes from their lives. Others are too afraid to take on such a task: It’s so much to cover…what if I embarrass someone, or myself?...etc. If they can focus on small episodes, they may produce something of family value. Another technique is to record their memories, but some individuals freeze up when a mike is on.
 
Often the important thing is for one or more persons in a family to be writing and simply setting an example that writing is a worthwhile endeavor. In the South, we understand families whose sons follow their fathers, brothers, and uncles into stockcar racing or football. It’s what we do. William Faulkner had the example of his great-grandfather William Clark Falkner, who penned “The White Rose of Memphis,” and established writing as a respectable pastime or occupation.
 
For family writing, Emily Dickinson provides us with a shining example. She had less than a dozen poems published during her lifetime, and she wanted her poems and letters to be burned after her death. Similarly, Virgil had wanted “The Aeneid” to be burned upon his death, but Augustus Caesar forbade the executors from taking that action. Emily’s Augustus was her sister Lavinia, who recognized that the nearly 1,800 poems were something special. She got the poems to editors and a publisher, and the world learned who this special lady was. She emerged as one of America’s greatest poets. Her early editors changed much of her work, to make it conform to the standards of the late 19th Century, but that only set the stage for decades of debate among scholars and eventually for volumes that were closer to what Emily intended.
 
No doubt influenced by the Book of John, Frank Green of the Bard Society uses the valediction “Yours in the word” for his messages or letters. “Logos” or “the word” reminds writers, family members, and librarians that writing represents people’s thoughts and lives.
 
Fernandina kicks off Friends of the Library's
annual fall Book Sale on Nov. 6-8 
 
Like to read but can’t afford to pay bookstore prices? The Friends of the Library in Fernandina Beach have come to the rescue of readers in Nassau and vicinity. Their annual book sale will begin Thursday, Nov. 6, with a special FOL members-only preview from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Peck Center Gym (516 S. 10th St.).  People not members may join at the door and get first choice of thousands of the books and many other items for sale. Membership is $15 for students; $35 for individuals, $50 for a couple or $75 for a family.
 
The doors will open to all on Friday, Nov.7, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday, Nov. 8. from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Books are carefully organized for easy browsing in dozens of categories, including fiction, biographies, history, art, children's books, sports, cooking and more, plus CDs, DVDs and audio books. Most books are priced at $2 or less. 
 
The sale is organized and run entirely by volunteers. All books are donated and every penny raised provides the Fernandina Beach Library with new books, e-books, subscriptions, periodicals, network access and databases for jobs, resumes, certification tests for various careers, and more. In the past two years alone, FOL book sales have contributed more than $50,000 to supplement library collections.
 
Friends of the Library is also raising funds to purchase furniture, equipment, collection upgrades, replacement windows and other items for the enlarged library (N. 4th St.) that is expected to open in late February. Information will be available at the book sale. People can also learn about FOL membership and how to donate and help, at www.fernandinaFOL.org, 904.321.6529 or email info@fernandinaFOL.org.
 
Storytelling festival scheduled
Saturday, Nov. 15, at Inman Memorial
 
The 16th annual Bean Soup and Stories Festival will be served hot on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Inman Memorial United Methodist Church (5334 Old Kings Rd. N., Jax 32254). The event is sponsored by the Northside Storytellers League of Jacksonville and will feature tale tellers from Beaches Storytelling League, Tale Tellers of St. Augustine, and Northside
Storytellers League, and possibly the other two leagues in the area. The event will last from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m.
 
The storytellers are expected to include Nancy Avera, Jim Mittelstadt, Jeannie K. Hardwick, Gene Hollomon, Mary E. Webster, Yvette Thomas, Sharon Bennett, and Diane Wintamute. Elrese Peterson will be the emcee. A child storyteller may also participate.
 
The menu for the day will feature bean soup, cornbread, and a dessert.
 
For more information, contact Mary Webster at 904.786.1949 or Sharon Bennett at 904.422.0895.
 
Donations at the door are appreciated: $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under.
 
Writers and readers invited
to Shantyboat Writers reading
at Carmines Nov. 8
 
Writers and readers should remember to come to Carmines Pie House around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, to get a seat and hear the Shantyboat Writers who will read their work. Shantyboat leader Lynn Skapyak Harlin will read at 3 p.m. and share my time with Tonn Pastore. Check out the schedule.

3:00 - 3:20 Lynn Skapyak Harlin and Tonn Pastore
3:30 - 3:50 Sharon Scholl
4:00 - 4:20 Jacqueline Draper

4:30 - 4:50 Nadia Ramoutar
5:00 - 5:20 Jim Draper

5:30 - 5:50 Gayle Angela Masson
 
 
Sharon Scholl, Jackie Draper and Jim Draper will read also. St. Augustine residents, Nadia and Gayle, are also featured in ACPAPA 1st edition. Those planning to attend should call Ms. Harlin at 904.778.8000
 
‘Happy Tapir’ roasts
on back burner till New Year
 
Johnny Masiulewicz and Debra Freas, editors, have announced that the inaugural issue of “Happy Tapir” will be put on hold until the New Year.
 
“Unfortunately we received way fewer submissions than we had hoped,” the editors say, “so few that even if we blindly accepted them all we would not have enough for a viable publication.  As of right now there have been only nine poetry submissions and no art submissions.”
 
Only half of the submissions came from local Jacksonville creatives. “This has us truly stymied – we know firsthand of the rich literary resources of the Jacksonville area, and had gotten the message out through any number of print and online sources.”
 
The Tapir crew says they have not abandoned the project. “With the holiday season approaching, we will be putting it on the back burner for now. We will hold onto the poetry that has already been submitted unless you ask us not to. Once we start up the project again we will put those submissions back into the pool. Please let us know if any of your submitted poems get published elsewhere.”
 
FWA reminder: only 2 months
left to meet ’14 writing goals
 
Where does the time go? November has come crashing in to remind us we only have two months to achieve our writing goals for the year. Here’s another reminder: the new FWA blog post is up and ready for with all the latest news for area writers. 
 
Read about the Royal Palm Literary Award winners from Northeast Florida, including the Book of the Year honoree. Read about all the FWA group meetings, and much more.
 
And when you’re not reading, remember you should be writing, particularly if you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, a highlight for November.
 
Best,
 
Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director
 
BookMark to host accidental
admiral and thriller author
 
Owner Rona Brinlee of The BookMark (220 1st St., Neptune Beach) says the independent bookstore will welcome an accidental admiral and a writer of thrillers and mysteries during November and December.
 
Adm. James Stavridis, USN (RET), “The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO” (Naval Institute Press), Friday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m.
 
After his selection as NATO's sixteenth Supreme Allied Commander, the New York Times described Jim Stavridis as a "Renaissance admiral."  In this book, Stavridis offers an intimate look at the challenges of directing NATO operations in Afghanistan and military intervention in Libya, preparing for possible war in Syria, countering cyber threats, and confronting pirates, all while cutting NATO's operational staff by a third due to budget reductions.  
 
In addition to providing this history, Stavridis shares his insights into the personalities of such key figures as President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and several Secretaries of Defense, among others.
 
James W. Hall, “The Big Finish” (Minotaur), Monday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m.
 
In last year's “Going Dark,” series hero Thorn's son Flynn disappeared into a radical eco-movement group.  Now, rushing to find him after a call for help via postcard, Thorn is told that Flynn had been acting as an informant for the FBI and was executed when his undercover activities were discovered.  But the truth may prove to be pretty thorny.  This is Shamus and Edgar Award-winning author Hall's 11th Thorn book.
 
For more information, contact Ms. Brinlee at 904.241.9026 or bkmark@bellsouth.net
 
Stuff from a writer’s quill
 
Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
 
-- Franz Kafka
 







 
Stuff from hither and yon
 
Click on each link to go directly to the story.
 
 
 
Screenplay writing: taking the mystery out of writing mysteries
 
Dennis Palumbo says some writers are wary of tackling mysteries because of perceived difficulties in hiding clues and learning the formulas for the genre. He quotes Henry James and emphasizes that plot is character under stress. Excellent characterization is better than the mere planting of clues. http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/screenplay-writing-taking-the-mystery-out-of-writing-mysteries.html
 
 
Billy Wilder’s Tips for Writers
 
Three of the tips on writing screenplays apply to almost any type of narrative:  
 
The audience is fickle.
Grab ’em by the throat and never let ’em go.
Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
 
For other tips, plus a documentary about Wilder, go to http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2014/10/20/billy-wilder-tips-for-writers/
 
 
Gary Provost (re)invents a way to remember story structure
 
The late Gary Provost and Peter Rubie were the co-authors of How to Tell a Story: The Secrets of Writing Captivating Tales. Rubie remembers how, with a little help from Aristotle, Provost came up with a simpler way to remember the structure of a story. Instead of keeping up with exposition, inciting force, rising action, crisis, climax, falling action, and conclusion, you go to Provost’s sentence, which begins with “Once upon a time…” http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2014/10/14/the-gary-provost-dramatic-sentence-an-introduction-to-basic-story-structure/
 
Book lovers are totally obsessed with this website
 
A select group of readers took advantage of Random House’s offer to give away, for a week, Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.” They knew to take advantage of the promotion because they were using BookBub, a daily email that alerts readers to free and deeply discounted ebooks that are available for a limited time. BookBub notified nearly 1 million readers of the free Da Vinci Code deal last spring. http://thebookinsider.com/the-one-website-book-lovers-need-to-know/?source=tabtbi4
 
Writers born this month
 
To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this website:
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The list includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors, writers for the small and silver screen, and others.
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Looking for your favorite writer? Hit “find” at the website and type in your favorite’s name. Keep scrolling to find writers born in other months.
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With misgivings, the list generally omits lyricists (to avoid the plethora of garage-band guitarists who knock out a lyric in two minutes to go with a tune). Often lyricists are accomplished in other writing areas and may cause their inclusion (e.g., Bob Dylan, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter).
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Unfortunately, some writers fret about identity theft and will only say they were born in 1972 or whenever. Typically that means they don’t get included on a “born this day” list. Recommendation: Writers may wish to create a “pen birthday”; that way, their names stay on the public’s radar.
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If you see that we have omitted a writer, give us his or her name (and preferably a way to verify the belly-button day).
 
Meetings of NFW and other groups
 
For a listing of meetings of the NFW and other groups in Northeast Florida, click here http://howarddenson.webs.com/meetingsofunfothers.htm
 
 
Some Useful Links
 
Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at http://howarddenson.webs.com/usefullinksforwriters.htm.
 
 
Need someone to critique a manuscript?
 
If you have a finished manuscript that you want critiqued or proofread, then look for someone at http://howarddenson.webs.com/potentialcritiquers.htm. Check out their entries on the website to see if they suit your needs. They include the following: Robert Blade Writing & Editing (rmblade@aol.com); Frank Green of The Bard Society (frankgrn@comcast.net); JJ Grindstaff-Swathwood (jgswathwood@gmail.com); Brad Hall (variablerush@gmail.com); Joseph Kaval (joseph.kaval@gmail.com); and Richard Levine (Richie.ALevine@gmail.com).
 
 
The Write Staff
 
President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)
Vice President: Joyce Davidson (davent2010@comcast. net)
Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. net)
Treasurer: Richard Levine (richiea.levine@gmail.com); 5527 Edenfield Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32277
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Presidents Emeritus: Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag, Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray, Carrol Wolverton, Margie Sauls, Stewart Neal.