* * * * * * * * * * * *
Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System
www.northfloridawriters.org * Editor: Howard Denson *August 2012

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In This Issue:
Ode to Joy: Remembering Ray Bradbury – Patricia Rogers
NFW to critique manuscripts at Aug. 11 meeting at Tom & Betty’s
NFW suspends dues indefinitely
The Wrong Stuff – Howard Denson
Stuff from Hither and Yon
Stuff from a Writer's Quill – Graham Greene
Writers Born This Month
Meetings of NFW and Other Groups
Useful Links
The Write Staff

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ode to Joy:
Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury's life was all about Love and Joy!!! Ray radiated both till the day he died.

Ray said once, "You always have me to love. Friends and lovers come and go. People die. I'm always here to love. Love me!!!" And I did. With all my heart. I told Ray many times that he was the love of my life. Ray always gave the love back he received. One time when I was telling him how much he had made my life better, and he held my hand, looked into my eyes and said, "You are a part of my life." Typing those words still makes me cry.
Ray said this during a speech in Los Alamos, N.M., in September 1999: "I may not even be remembered 50 years after I am dead." All I could think of during the two-hour drive home from Los Alamos was "Ray has to know he will be remembered forever!" I stayed up much of the night and wrote a letter to him.

Ray had scheduled a signing the next day at Page One Book Store in Albuquerque where my husband worked. I was already set up to help Ray during the event, as I had done at several other signings. Ray's limo arrived early to the store and we took him back to a quiet office and brought him lunch. I handed him this letter and then left him alone to eat in peace. When I came back into the office, Ray looked up at me with tears steaming down his face. His sandwich was mostly uneaten and he held my letter in his hand. He reached up both arms to me for a hug. I started crying. We hugged for a long time and then went out to meet his many fans. I sat next to him all afternoon opening books and handing them to him to sign. Every now and then, he would glance at me sideways with a knowing smile and gently pat his coat pocket where he had stashed my letter. Several times he said, "This goes into my permanent collection."

The best eulogy I could give to Ray now is the letter I wrote to him so many years ago, on Sept. 25, 1999:
Dear Ray,
How do I thank you for --
--Halloween Trees
--Attic mummies
--Talking time machines
--the many tears I've shed while reading & listening to you
--"Joy Envy"
--sending me to Janitzio Island one early November midnight, and to see the mummies of Guanajuanto
--taking me to Mars for a night meeting
--helping me realize that the reason a carnival needs so much neon is to hide the darkness around it
--reminding me to see everything through 12-year-old eyes
--helping me to find the wonder-ful in all that's around me
For all the hours of joy and images your words have given me...

How do I thank you?

Can I walk your dog?
Paint your house?
Mow your lawn?
Some present I could buy you?

I can't think of anything I could do for you that comes close to what you have given me, and millions like me. All I can think to give you are my words expressing the joy you have brought into my life.

I sometimes dream regretfully about all of the people in history I didn't get to meet: how maybe if I had been born in another time I could have chatted with Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle, watched over Imhotep's shoulder while he drew out the first pyramid, heard Louis Armstrong electrify a room...

But wait: Ray says look around now -- see the wonder, and My God! This must be the best time ever to be alive. I can sit and listen to Ray Bradbury talk! See the electricity of a timeless 12-year-old twinkle in his eye. Feel the joy that radiates from him and touches every soul in the room.

I have gotten to watch a Saturn V illuminate the night and lumber slowly towards the sky to join the other candles there.
I have watched men walk on the moon, and been lucky enough to shake the hand of many of them.
I have watched live pictures from Mars!
And listened to Count Basie in person.

I must be one of the luckiest humans ever!

You WILL live forever, Ray! Your words touch the soul. As long as there have been people, as long as there will be people, we will feel fear and excitement at the dark in the ravine, wonder what souls the wind is blowing around us, and worry at 3 a.m. if the light will ever come again. Your stories are timeless; they are loved by millions, and taught from one generation to the next. The crowd around me tonight in Los Alamos that looked at you with such love was 8 to 80.

One of the best moments of my life was when a dear friend of mine, whom I'd known since he was 3 years old, came to me last year at 17 and said, "I just wanted to thank you for giving me all those Ray Bradbury books from the time I was little. They have meant so much to me." I waited till he left to cry. It made me see that even a little sharing can touch the future.

You said maybe people will remember you in 50 years. No -- 500, 1000, 5,000? I think we should carve you stories onto obelisks and 5,000 years from now Mars will be found warmly encased in Nile mud, like the Rosetta stone waiting for Napoleon.
You have changed the future by touching so many lives.

Rameses left only 1000 children...

Thank you -

Love Always,
Patricia Rogers

When Ray got home he wrote me this note and slipped it into a signed copy of "The Halloween Tree".

"Dear Patricia,
Just a note to Thank You again for the terrific semi-poem love essay, which I will treasure always! & to wish you a fascinating, strange All Hallows Eve!"
From Ray B.
Oct, 1999

Ray loved life. When he lost loved ones he mourned but kept on living and doing all the things he loved. Even when his body was failing him, his mind was still clear and sharp. During the last year Ray was weak and in a hospital bed that had been moved into his bedroom but his joy shined from within. It was like looking at the sun - I could not see his failing body because of his radiant glow. I think sometimes he wondered how his energetic 12-year-old spirit had, incorrectly, been encased in the body of an old man.
The wonderful thing is that Ray will live forever. His words are always within arm’s reach. Even thinking about his stories makes me smile. My heart is breaking at his passing but is also joyous because I was so very lucky to have Ray as a part of my life.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NFW to critique manuscripts
at Aug. 11 meeting
at Tom & Betty’s, Roosevelt Square
The North Florida Writers members and guests will critique manuscripts at the Aug. 11 meeting in the meeting room of Tom & Betty’s Restaurant at Roosevelt Square. The meeting will be at 2 p.m. Saturday. The public is welcome to attend.
For the critiques, someone other than the author of respective works will read aloud the submissions (up to 10 double-spaced 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.
Tom & Betty’s is located in Roosevelt Square on US 17 (near the KFC and Starbucks). Webb Wesconnett is located at the corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard (to the east of I-295). Tropical Storm Beryl flooded the basement of the Willowbranch library, so meetings won’t be held there for several months.
Future meeting dates and locales:
Sept. 8 – 2 p.m., Historic Grounds, 420 Walnut St., Green Cove Springs Phone 904.531.9659
Oct. 13 – 2 p.m., Webb Wesconnett
Nov. 10 – 2 p.m., TBA
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NFW suspends
dues indefinitely
The North Florida Writers has suspended its membership dues for an indefinite period. The treasury has stabilized at a comfortable level, and the NFW does not have any appreciable expenses. Members suspected we could go without dues for a couple of years and perhaps more. During this period, anyone may attend and participate in the monthly meetings. (Even with dues, writers were free to attend a few meetings to see if the NFW would suit their needs.)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Follow the link below to find where often sane and sensible writers (and editors) have stumbled in their writing:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


with Ray Bradbury


Inspired by Patricia Rogers’ memories in this issue of her close friend Ray Bradbury, the editor of this newsletter recalls his various “encounters” (mostly distant) with the writer. http://howarddenson.webs.com/apps/blog/show/16933907-encounters-with-ray-bradbury


The website, “Homer’s Travels,” also remembered Bradbury. http://homerstravels.com/2012/06/encounters-with-ray-bradbury.html


Peggy Payne describes her meeting of Bradbury during a transatlantic trip on the QE2. http://www.peggypayne.com/blog/?p=1928


Why Alice Walker

is Wrong


Sarah Seltzer is a big fan of Alice Walker’s writing but disagrees with her refusal to permit Israel to translate “The Color Purple” into Hebrew. Says she: “But to me, lashing out by denying ones [sic] art to the word is deeply problematic. If radical artists are suspicious of nation-states then their response shouldn’t be to shun states, but rather to expand the world of ideas and emotions contained in art so that it becomes border-less.”


“My Dear Governess:

The Letters of Edith Wharton

to Anna Bahlmann”


Sarah Churchwell, author of a forthcoming book on F. Scott Fitzgerald, reviews a collection of letters from Wharton to her governess. These have been edited by Irene Goldman-Price and help to clarify such matters as the author’s relationship with her mother. http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/culture/2012/06/my-dear-governess-letters-edith-wharton-anna-bahlmann-review
Update: Louisiana Eliminates
State Aid to Public Libraries
Meredith Schwartz reports that the $25.6 billion state budget approved by Gov. Bobby Jindal eliminates funding that local libraries rely upon to buy books, pay the Internet bill and upgrade computers.  http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/06/funding/louisiana-eliminates-state-library-funding/#_
The Scots had
a word (or two) for it
Alabama’s Dale Short remembers some of the old sayings in his family. “I’m told by history books (one of the coolest being ‘Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America,’ by David Hackett Fisher) that some of the phrases in that brogue were in use during Shakespeare’s time and even earlier.  http://www.mountaineagle.com/view/full_story/19170487/article-The-Scots-had-a-word--or-two--for-it?instance=main_article
What happens when musicians
turn to writing novels and stories?
J.C. Hallman interviews singer-writer Dylan Hicks and explores the relationship, if any, between musical proficiency and skill in rendering scenes in novels and stories. http://www.bookslut.com/features/2012_06_019053.php
How to get an editor:
An editor's tips
on getting your book published
Rebecca Gray is an editor at Serpent’s Tail, an imprint of Profile Books. An independent publisher, their books include We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, Attica Locke’s Black Water Rising and Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan. http://www.stylist.co.uk/books/get-published/how-to-get-an-editor One of Ms. Gray’s tips is to find an editor. On the same page is a link to an article on “How to Find an Agent”: http://www.stylist.co.uk/stylist-network/how-to-get-an-agent

Mary McCarthy, Edmund Wilson,

and the Short Story

That Ruined a Marriage

Frances Kiernan notes that Mary McCarthy would have been 100 years old this year – reason enough for her to discuss two trail-breaking stories for The New Yorker and the powerful effects one had on readers and McCarthy’s marriage. http://www.readability.com/read?url=http%3A//www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/06/mary-mccarthy-edmund-wilson-and-the-short-story-that-ruined-a-marriage.html  

You can't teach

creative writing.

Can you?


Rick Gekoski says that almost everyone can benefit from some simple hints on creative writing. The hardest bit may be to practice what you preach. http://www.readability.com/read?url=http%3A//www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jul/05/you-can-teach-creative-writing
To Use
Use Not
Julie Bosman notes that Ernest Hemingway said he wrote the ending of “A Farewell to Arms” 39 times. Now a new edition has come out that provides multiple endings and passages. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/books/a-farewell-to-arms-with-hemingways-alternate-endings.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

It’s cruel not

to teach

children grammar


The United Kingdom’s Education Secretary Michael Gove is right to want the young to master the English language, says columnist Dot Wordsworth in London’s Telegraph. She writes, “At its worst, educational theory that rejects grammar does so because of a mad idea that children are noble savages better left to authenticity and the composition of rap lyrics. That way lies the scrapheap and jail.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9381417/Its-cruel-not-to-teach-children-grammar.html


Grammar tests are attack

on teachers, says Union


Graeme Paton, the Telegraph’s education editor, and unidentified staffers report that a teaching union has condemned plans that will see all 11-year-olds tested on the proper use of apostrophes and the difference between nouns, verbs and adjectives. The union asserts that the proposals amount to an attack on teachers. One union official said, "This is yet another example of the deprofessionalisation of teachers from a government that said it was going to reinvigorate the status of teachers in the classroom." (Other English teacher-union leaders may well disagree with the position.)  http://wwhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9381638/Grammar-tests-are-attack-on-teachers-says-Union.html


Calling all SF writers and FX artists:

Aliens could resemble jellyfish

the size of a football field


According to a British satellite expert and government adviser the outlandish alien imaginings of Hollywood may not be quite alien enough, says Rob Williams in The Independent. A report said a European scientist suggests: “[The] . . . aliens . . . [could] drift through methane clouds scooping up chemical nutrients into their mouths. The creatures could also be able to live off light taken in through their skin….” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/aliens-could-resemble-jellyfish-the-size-of-a-football-field-says-government-advisor-7920027.html
You gave away
your babies?
Dick Cavett wrote jokes for Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and others, and he is often asked if he is jealous when others get laughs with his gags. What is the role of a comedy writer? What famous gag did Cavett write for Paar’s introduction for Jayne Mansfield? http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/you-gave-away-your-babies/
17 literary characters
almost named
something else
Stacy Conradt tells us about the names of famous literary characters in the authors’ first notes or drafts. Can you imagine a Southern belle named Pansy O’Hara going after Ashley?
‘The Sound and the Fury’
as Faulkner
imagined, in color
William Faulkner was frustrated by the publishing restrictions in the 1920s when he put out his book, “The Sound and the Fury,” with its multiple points of views, especially that of the “idiot” Benjy. He wished color could be used for the type in various sections. The Folio Society has published a limited run edition of the work that uses color; it is available to a select few for only $345. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2012/07/the-sound-and-the-fury-as-william-faulkner-imagined-in-color.html
Why it’s impossible
not to love Superman
(and Bats and Spidey)
Todd VanDerWerff says “. . .I’d argue that Superman isn’t just making the transition from story seed to over-complicated tale to myth; I’d say he’s already made it. The character was self-consciously created to echo the strongmen of myth and legend, and after decades of continuous publication of stories about the big guy, that story has gotten whittled down into something incredibly pure.” http://www.avclub.com/articles/why-its-impossible-not-to-love-superman,82405/  
Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, Robin puts Batman on the couch. To be precise, psychologist Robin Rosenberg of Palo Alto analyzes what makes Batman and Bruce Wayne tick. http://www.psmag.com/culture/comic-con-on-the-couch-psychoanalyzing-superheroes-40550/
Over in the U.K., Robert Colvile studies Batman in “The Dark Knight Rises” and deduces that the hero is really the ultimate Conservative or, in U.S. terms, a Right-Winger who “defend[s] his city against the impoverished victims of depression and globalisation. The ostensible villain may be Tom Hardy’s hulking, monstrous Bane, but the uprising he inspires is essentially Occupy Gotham City, if the ‘99 Per Cent’ used shotguns rather than megaphones.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/9405999/How-the-Dark-Knight-Rises-reveals-Batmans-Conservative-soul.html
Top 10 Books
for Writers You Need
to Read Now
Marja Jan has come up with 10 books that writers and aspiring scribes should absorb. She begins with William Zinsser’s “Writing Well,” a very reasonable choice. See if your favorites are on her list.

Raymond Chandler: the crime writer

who made poetry out of pulp


Crime writers need not have an inferiority complex when they have an exponent as good as Raymond Chandler, according to Andrew M. Brown’s review of “Raymond Chandler: A Mysterious Something in the Light.”  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9408853/Raymond-Chandler-the-crime-writer-who-made-poetry-out-of-pulp.html

Native American Tribe
Races to Preserve
Endangered Language
Thanks to funds generated from a tribe-owned casino in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Jessica Cheung reports that the Chukchansi tribe has donated $1 million to linguists at California State University to compile a dictionary and assemble grammar texts over the next five years. Only a few fluent speakers of Chukchansi remain today.

Why should William Shakespeare

have the last word over Ben Jonson?


The playwright and poet was a real heavyweight – sharper, funnier and more varied than the Bard, according to Andrew Hatfield, a professor of English at the University of Essex.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9423214/Why-should-William-Shakespeare-have-the-last-word-over-Ben-Jonson.html

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.
--   Graham Greene


 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this website:
The list includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors, writers for the small and silver screen, and others.
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.
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).
Unfortunately, some writers fret about identity theft and only say they were born in, say, 1972. 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.
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).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
BARD SOCIETY: Every Wednesday: 7 p.m.; Frank Green 250-6045; Email frankgrn@comcast.net
THE CDS PUBLICITY FREE WRITERS CRITIQUE GROUP: Meets twice monthly. The first Tuesday of each month at the Mandarin Library on Kori Road from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and the third Saturday of the month at the Webb-Wesconnett Library at 103rd and Harlow from 2 until 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome. For more information see our website at http://CDSPublicity.com or call 904.343.4188.
FIRST COAST CHRISTIAN WRITERS GROUP: Every Thursday, 6:45 p.m. at Charles Webb-Wesconnett Library at the intersection of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard. Email: Dalyn_2@yahoo.com or Tlsl72@yahoo.com.
FIRST COAST ROMANCE WRITERS: Second Saturday of each month; start time varies based on program; see website Chaffee Road Library; 1425 Chaffee Rd. S., Jacksonville. Info: www.firstcoastromancewriters.com
MANDARIN WRITERS WORKSHOP: Second and fourth Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at S. Mandarin Library (corner of San Jose and Orange Picker Rd.). Larry Barnes at wordsandpics@bellsouth.net.
NORTH FLORIDA WRITERS: Second Saturday: 2 p.m. at various locations (due to flooding at Willowbranch)  www.northfloridawriters.org
NORTHEAST FLORIDA CHAPTER OF FLORIDA WRITERS ASSN.: fourth Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library (between Jacksonville and St. Augustine). Vic DiGenti, FWA regional director. For more information, check www.fwapontevedra.blogspot.com or www.windrusher.com.
SISTERS IN CRIME: First Saturday of each month: 10:30 a.m. at Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256; Sherry Czerniejewski, president Email sherrycz@aol.com