The Electronic Write Stuff Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System North Florida Writers * June 2006

 In this issue: Environmentalist-Poet John Hammond to Speak to NFW The Grandma Moses Code -- Howard Denson Quote from a Writer's Quill -- Michael Joseph Writers Born in June -- Larry McMurty, Harry Crews, Patricia Cornwell, Saul Bellow, William Butler Yeats, Dorothy L. Sayers, and many others Calendar of Events

ENVIRONMENTALIST-POET JOHN HAMMOND TO SPEAK TO NFW

Poet John Hammond of Orange Park will speak to the North Florida Writers at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 10. The meeting will be at the Galleria Restaurant at 1509 Margaret St. in Five Points. He is the author of John Hammond Gourmet Poet, On God & Man & Other Matters, Street Prayers, The Boy in Men, Ocean Love, Everything is Growing, Our Garden Earth, and Christas Charm.

Retired from Amtrak, the poet and environmentalist has spent over 21 years as a scout leader and more than 15 years working with 4-H. He is a co-founder of the Earth Kinship Conferences. He has received numerous awards for his volunteer work with youth education, civic organizations and leadership development programs. He is also a Reef Research Diver. People often will also find Hammond around the fire sharing his poetry, stories, and songs.

 THE GRANDMA MOSES CODE By HOWARD DENSON

Dr. Franklin T. Foxwhistle discourages me from writing about my weekly therapy sessions, but he says for me to go ahead since it may cut down on my complaints about his office motto: "If you want to whine, I've got the time -- $150 per 60 minutes."

I keep telling him that whine and time don't really rhyme. However, he won't listen to a word I say and claims that they could be half-rhymes. I argue that, if he's going to use half rhymes, he should only charge $75 for the hour.

During the last session, I guess I was going on a bit about Dan Brown's obscene success with The Da Vinci Code. Let me be honest: First, I was complaining about his selling 40 gadzillion copies of his silly book, which didn't hold together. Second, Brown refuses to respond to my letter demanding $20 million "for the hell of it since you have so much extra change."

Dr. Foxwhistle said, "Zilch -- that's about the same response that you received from J. K. Rowling?"

I agreed and asked, "What the devil's wrong with these people?"

"How did you open your last letter to Ms. Rowling?" Foxwhistle asked. "Was that the 10th or 15th letter?"

"Actually, the 16th," I said. "This time, I opened it with 'Dear Fat Limey Cow, I'm guessing you don't know how to write letters either. To prove that you do, send me $20 million."

"Was that the most diplomatic salutation?"

"Do you mean I should have sucked up to her for such a trifling sum?"

"Why $20 million?"

"Oh, it's the code I discovered when studying the paintings of Grandma Moses."

"A code? Does it prove God or Santa doesn't exist, or something?"

"It proves many different things, according to the Level of Understanding. That's what I call it."

"A Level of Understanding? I'm afraid to ask."

Then I explained to him that I was examining some paintings by Grandma Moses, when I read some biographical information. Then, using a Chaldic system of numerology, I immediately saw great significance in her actual name: Anna Mary Robertson Moses. "I went through the number value of each word and used a Chaldean scale to convert them to English, so 'Anna Mary Robertson Moses' actually means 'Send $20M to Denson ASAPDQ.'"

"That won't work. Her name has several 'a' letters, and you've given them different values."

"Of course, due to the linguistic shift of the obliquity in the dialectic."

Dr. Foxwhistle seemed to get one of his migraines and popped another of his pills. Then he sighed and asked, "And ASAPDQ?"

"As soon as pretty damn quick."

"Wow! Look out the window."

I looked but didn't see anything.

Then he said, "Darn, you missed it. Oh, I see our time is up."

"No, it isn't. You changed the time while I was looking out your window."

"Not so. Next time, should we talk about your paranoia?"

"Paranoia, my eye. See?" I grabbed his wrist and pulled up his sleeve until we could see his Rolex. "You didn't have time to change your watch. We've still got 45 minutes."

He stared at the watch, slouched in surrender, and whined, "All right, get on with it."

"I will ASAPDQ."

"Stick a sock in it."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I meant, 'Freud would say stick sex in it.'"

I tried to look him in the eye to see if he was telling the truth, but he had a coughing fit and was spinning in his swivel chair until it cleared up. As he spun, he also twirled a finger for me to continue.

"So 'send $20 million,'" I said, "that was the message at the first Level of Understanding. Let me explain in detail. You see each cow was crudely depicted with the right side legs 20 percent off from the left side, so 20 percent, then $20 million, and --"

"I'm sorry to interrupt, but it may be more beneficial for you to explain the next Level of Understanding."

"Oh? Well, all right. Then I noticed she was born in 1860 and then died in 1961, and there it was!"

"Okay, there was what?"

"She was calling for a second War Between the States."

"Numbers told you that?"

"Not at all, the colors of the letters did. Oh, not the colors in the book. All of the printing was black, but each letter cast a different color psychologically."

"For example?"

"All of the 'a' letters are gray, and gray is the color of the Confederacy. When you have 'n' and 'm' letters, you have the diagonal crosses of the battle flag, where the stars are. And get this: The 'o' letters give you red, and the 'r' and 't' combine to give you blue."

Dr. Foxwhistle looked at his pad. "How do you account for the 'b,' 's,' and 'y' letters and their colors? Do they mean 'the South is going to rise again'?"

"Not at all. Grandma Moses was from New York state. It was going to secede from Manhattan, Staten Island, and so on, but was waiting for a charismatic leader to emerge. In the movie, I think he should be played by Tom Hanks."

"I believe we really are out of time."

"I've sent a letter to him --"

"And it says, 'Dear Mr. Hanks, send me $20 million by return mail."

"Actually, it says send it 'ASAPDQ.'"©

 

WORKSHOPS, OPEN MIKES, AND SPEECHES ON TAP

 Several events are being scheduled for writers in Northeast Florida, according to Caryn Day-Suarez, president of Promoting Outstanding Writers. A short story class will be conducted by Ms. Day-Suarez at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at Barnes & Noble in Mandarin. Attendees are urged to bring their stories, novel chapters, and articles for feedback. "A Night of Pirates" is set for Thursday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at the Mandarin B&N. Joseph O'Steen will be signing his books Falcon's Revenge and Pursuit of Honor. The Mandarin Library on San Jose/Orange Pickers Road will be the location on Saturday, June 17, at 10:30 a.m. for a meeting of the POW Toastmasters. Since space is limited, interested persons need to make reservations. An Open Mike will be at 7 p.m Friday, June 23, at the B & N in Town Center. The event is open to authors, dancers, singers, poets, and writers who call to get on the list to perform. This month will feature a performance by the Johara dancers. For further information or to make reservations, call Ms. Day-Suarez at 343-4188 or e-mail her at caryn@pow100.com. Ms. Day-Suarez is the author of Living Crazy Like Fly and Passing Thoughts.

QUOTE FROM A WRITER'S QUILL

 It is easy to become a publisher but difficult to remain one. -- Michael Joseph WRITERS BORN IN JUNE 1--William Wilfred Campbell (1858?) and John Masefield (1878); 2--Marquis de Sade (1740), Grace Aguilar (1816), Thomas Hardy (1840), Barbara Pym (1913); 3--Konstantin Dmitrievich Balmont (1867), Allen Ginsberg (1926) and Larry McMurty (1926); 4--Robert Fulgrum (1937); 5--Federico García Lorca (1898), Cornelius Ryan (1920), Margaret Drabble (1939), Spalding Gray (1941), and Ken Follett (1949); 6--Thomas Mann (1875), Maxine Kumin (1925), and Harry Crews (1935); 7--Elizabeth Bowen (1899) and Gwendolyn Brooks (1917); 8--Sara Paretsky (1947); 9--Patricia Cornwell (1956); 10--Sir Edwin Arnold (1832), Louis Couperus (1863), Saul Bellow (1915), and Maurice Sendak (1928); 11--Josephine Miles (1911) and William Styron (1925); 12--Djuna Barnes (1892) and Anne Frank (1929); 13--Giuseppe Cerutti (1738), Fanny Burney (Frances d'Arblay) (1752), William Butler Yeats (1865), Dorothy L. Sayers (1893); 14--Jerzy Kosinski (1933) and John Edgar Wideman (1941); 15--Edward Channing (1856) and Amy Clampitt (1920); 16--Joyce Carol Oates (1938) and Erich Segal (1927); 17--Carl Van Vechten (1880), John Hersey (1914), and Ron Padgett (1942); 18--Gabriello Chiabrera (1552), Leonid Nikolaevich Andreev (1871), Philip Barry (1896), and Geoffrey Hill (1932); 19--Annibale Caro (1507), Laura Z. Hobson (1900), Tobias Wolff (1945), and Salman Rushdie (1947); 20--George Hickes (1642), Hans Adolph Brorson (1694), Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743), Lilian Hellman (1905), and Vikram Seth (1952); 21--W. E. Aytoun (1813), Jean Paul Sartre (1905), Mary McCarthy (1912), and Ian McEwan (1948); 22--Erich Maria Remarque (1898), Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906), and Octavia Butler (1947); 23--Irvin S. Cobb (1876) and Jean Anouilh (1910); 24--Henry Ward Beecher (1813), Ambrose Bierce (1842), and Brooks Adams (1848); 25--Robert Erskine Childers (1870), Josephine Tey/Gordon Daviot (1896), George Orwell (1903), and Nicholas Mosley (1923); 26--Bernard Berenson (1865), Pearl Buck (1892), and Frank O'Hara (1926); 27--Vernon Watkins (1906); 28--Giovanni Della Casa (1503), Luigi Pirandello (1867), Floyd Dell (1887), and Eric Ambler (1909); 29--Willibald Alexis (Georg Wilhelm Heinrich Häring) (1798) and Antoine de St.-Exupéry (1900); 30--Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803).

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Meetings of NFW are held at 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. Check the website at www.northfloridawriters.org for meeting locations.

Sat., June 10, 2 p.m. at Galleria Cafe, 1509 Margaret Street (formerly Two Sisters Cafe): Environmentalist-poet John Hammond Sat., July 8, 2 p.m. Sat., Aug. 12, 2 p.m. Sat., Sept. 9, 2 p.m. You may receive feedback from specific individuals by mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address. Past speakers have included novelists Jack Hunter, David Poyer, Page Edwards, Ruth Coe Chambers, William Kerr, Tom Lashley; poets, William Slaughter, Mary Baron, Mary Sue Koeppel, Dorothy Fletcher, George Gilpatrick; columnists Vic Smith, Tom Ivines, and Robert Blade; editors Buford Brinlee and Nan Ramey; agent Debbie Fine; magazine editor Sara Summers; medical writers Elizabeth Tate and Michael Pranzatelli; oral historian Robert Gentry; plus many others.

 "WE ASPIRE TO CREATE WITH WORDS."

The Write Staff Richard Levine, President (richieL@gct.net) Carrol Wolverton, Vice President (carrolwolve@hotmail.com) Kathy Marsh, Secretary (kmarsh@fdn.com) Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor (hdenson@fccj.edu) Joel Young, Public Relations (joshua7786@aol.com) Doris Cass, Hospitality (ostie46@aol.com) Presidents Emeritus Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson (Davent2005@comcast.net), Margaret Gloag (haggisgal@juno.com), Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, Jo Ann Harter, Carrol Wolverton Newsletter address

The Write Stuff FCCJ North, Box 21 4501 Capper Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32218 Homepage address http://www.northfloridawriters.org

Homepage editor Richard Levine Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about writing or publishing. We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation for postage and copying. We pay $5-10 for submissions accepted. MEMBERSHIP IN THE NFW If you are writing a story or poem, you will need some expert feedback -- the sort that you will receive at a meeting of the North Florida Writers. You won't profit from automatic praise that a close friend or relative might give or jealous criticism from others who may feel threatened by your writing. The NFW specializes in CONSTRUCTIVE feedback that will enable your manuscript to stand on its own two feet and demand that it be accepted by an editor or agent. Hence, you need the NFW. The North Florida Writers is a writer's best friend because we help members to rid manuscripts of defects and to identify when a work is exciting and captivating. Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family. (Make out checks to WRITERS.) Is your membership current? To find out, check the mailing label. If it says "0106" next to your last name, your membership expired in January 2006. You do not have to pay back dues to activate your members, so, if you last paid in 1998 or 2002, don't worry about the months you were inactive. Won't you join today? The following is an application. Mail your check to WRITERS, Box 21, FCCJ North, 4501 Capper Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218. Name___________________________________________ St. address____________________________________ Apt. No. ______________________________________ City ________________State _____ Zip __________ E-mail address(es) ___________________________________

HOW DOES CRITIQUING WORK?

 When you attend a meeting of the North Florida Writers, you eventually discover that NO ONE has ever died while his or her manuscript was being read and critiqued. You may be ready to face the ordeal yourself. . .or, reading this, you may wonder what exactly takes place during a critiquing. First, you pitch your manuscript into a stack with others' works-in-progress. Then one of the NFW members hands out each piece to volunteer readers, taking care NOT to give you back your own manuscript to read. Second, as the reading begins, each author is instructed NOT to identify himself or herself and especially NOT to explain or defend the work. The writer may never have heard the piece read aloud by another's voice, so the writer needs to focus on the sound of his or her sentences. Third, at the finish of each selection, the NFW members try to offer constructive advice about how to make the story better. If a section was confusing or boring, that information may be helpful to the author. The NFW will listen to 10 pages (double-spaced) of prose (usually a short story or a chapter). SUBSCRIBE If you think a friend would enjoy THE ELECTRONIC WRITE STUFF, e-mail us his or her e-mail address. You will notice that THE WRITE STUFF is not filled with links designed to solicit checks for the sun, moon, stars, and comets and everything else in the universe. If your friend doesn't want us, then he or she will be able to Unsubscribe. UNSUBSCRIBE If you are simplifying your internet life and can no longer handle us, then hit reply and type in UNSUBSCRIBE. If we inadvertently have you in the directory with two different e-mail addresses, let us know which one you want us to omit.