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The Write Stuff

News of Writing for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

January 2001


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"Suncoast Conference to Feature McCourt, Jin, Butler, Prose"

"Much Ado About Books Set Feb. 17"

"Books That Aspiring Journalists Should Read"

"The Goosetherumfoodles Thrive" -- Tom Lane

"Wrong Stuff"

"Quote from a Writer's Quill" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Writers Born This Month"

Officers & Organizational Information

"Calendar of Events"

"Membership Information"

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The 29th annual Florida Suncoast Writers' Conference on Feb. 1?3 will feature Irish memoirist Frank McCourt, novelist Ha Jin, poet Yusef Komunyakaa, novelist?story writer?essayist Octavia Butler, and novelist Francine Prose.
The conference will be at the St. Petersburg campus of the University of South Florida.
For information about the conference, interested persons should call (813) 974?2403 or go to the website at http://www.conted.usf.edu/flcenter.htm
Early registration (through Jan. 28) will be $150, while after that date the fee will be $175.  A student?teacher rate is also available for $135.  The banquet will be for $30.
McCourt, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Angela's Ashes, will give the keynote address to open the conference on Feb. 1.  He will also conduct a workshop on memoir writing on Feb. 2.
The Suncoast conference will have six concurrent workshops on all three days of the conference, ranging from "My Life and Welcome to It" (novelist Ann Hood) on Thursday to "Tightening the Prose in Fiction" (short fiction writer John McNally) on Saturday.
The conference also covers genres, screenplays, freelancing, and various nuts?and?bolts topics for aspiring and established writers.
Other speakers include:
*Playwright Craig Alpaugh
*Editor Lisa Birnbaum
*Poet Richard Chess
*Short Fiction writer Rita Ciresi,
* Poet Robert Dana
* PEN Award winner Lisa Rowe Faustino
* Censorship writer Claudia Johnson
* Editor Don Morrill
* Agent Annelise Robey
* Mystery writer Patricia Sprinkle
* Book editor Pat Walsh and others

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A program to benefit the libraries of Jacksonville, Much Ado About Books (MAAB), will be Feb. 17 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.  Major writers to appear include mystery writer James Patterson, TV reporter Cokie Roberts of ABC and National Public Radio, and print journalist Steve Roberts.

For more information about the event, interested persons should call (904) 630?1995 or go to the website at


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A need?to?read list of books on journalism has been assembled by a group of overseas reporters.  The books are useful to show aspiring journalists where their profession has come from, what its accomplishments have been, and what challenges that journalists face on a regular basis.

All in a Day�s Work--Ida Tarbell
All the President�s Men--Woodward and Bernstein
Almost Golden--Gwenda Blair
America�s Faces--Rheta Grimsley Johnson
American Way of Death--Jessica Mitford
The Arizona Project--Michael Wendland
Armies of the Night--Norman Mailer
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Ida Tarbell
The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens
The Boys on the Bus--Timothy Crouse
Brave Men--Ernie Pyle
Broadcast News (a look at Rather, Brokaw and Jennings)
Citizen Heart and Luce and His Empire and Others--W. A. Swanburg
City Editor--Stanley Walker
The Corpse Had a Familiar Face--Edna Buchanan
Country Editor--Henry Beetle Hough
The Craft of Interviewing--John Brady
Damon Runyon: A Life--Jimmy Breslin
Decline and Fall--Otto Friedrich
Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control--Fred Friendly
Dwarf Rapes Nun, Flees in UF
Ernie�s War--Ernie Pyle
Four Theories of the Press--Siebert, Schramm & Peterson
Freedom of Secrecy--J. Russell Wiggins
Freedom of the Press in England, 1476?1776--Siebert
Generation of Swine--Hunter S. Thompson
The Girls in the Balcony--Nan Robertson
A Good Life--Ben Bradlee
Hell�s Angels--Hunter S. Thompson
A History of Magazines in America (5 vols.)--Frank Luther Mott
Home Country--Ernie Pyle
I Shouldn�t Be Telling You This--Mary Breasted
The Image--Daniel Boorstin
Interpretative Reporting--Curtis D. MacDougall
The Kandy?Kolored Tangerine?Flake Streamline Baby--Tom Wolfe
Katharine the Great--Deborah Davis
The Kingdom and the Power--Gay Talese
The Media Monopoly--Bagdikian
A Mixture of Frailities--Robertson Davies
Newspaper Days--H.L. Mencken
Not So Wild a Dream--Eric Sevareid
The Paper--Richard Kluger
Poison Penmanship--Jessica Mitford
The Powers That Be--David Halberstam
Prejudices--H.L. Mencken
The Press--A.J. Liebling
Press and America--Emery & Emery (latest edition ? Emery & Roberts)
The Processes and Effects of Mass Communication--Schramm
The Public Mind--Norman Angells
Public Opinion--Walter Lippmann
The Public Philosophy--Walter Lippmann
The Pulitizer Prize--J. Douglass Bates
Reporting/Writing from Front Row Seats--staffers of the AP
Rise and Fall of the Third ReichWilliam Shrirer
Scoop--Evelyn Waugh
Slouching Toward Bethlehem--Joan Didion
The Social Responsibility of the Press--J. Edward Gerald
Stay Tuned--Chris Sterling and Mike Kittross
Travels in Georga--John McPhee
Treasury of Great Reporting--Louis L. Snyder and Richard B. Morris, ed.
Treatise on the Gods--H.L. Mencken
The White Album--Joan Didion
Why Rock the Boat--William Weintraub
Without Fear or Favor--Harrison Salisbury
The World of Jimmy Breslin--Jimmy Breslin
The Writing Game: A Biograhy of Will Irwin--Robert Hudson
The Yellow Kids--Joyce Milton
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Edgar Allan Poe did not like the literary magazines of his day, and. they did not like him. That's why in "The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq." the editors of the Gad?Fly, the Hum?Drum, the Rowdy?Dow, the Lollipop, and the Goosetherumfoodle come across as a band of jackasses.

With few exceptions on both sides, I don't like the literary magazines of my day, and they don't like me. But unlike Poe, I cannot satirize them as too many of them are so qualitatively
 bankrupt as not to allow it. Since the meltdown of basic intelligence, and the devaluating of quality, we have literary magazines today that targeted by the most savage satires would only be elevated as a result.

Instead of satirizing these magazines, I searched my updated sources, looking for names of current literary magazines that would imbue Poe's satirical titles with a modicum of respect. I submitted work to each magazine selected, hoping a response or two would enrich this essay.
By doing so, I inadvertently discovered that updated submission sources are an illusion, foisted on us by the publishers of the submission source books, to make a wasteland of opportunity appear a lush garden. Submissions came back stamped,

"undeliverable as addressed," "forwarding order has expired," "postal box seized for non?payment of rent,"or not at all. One poor soul wrote in red ink on my manuscript, "Don't feel bad. This is not a recheckting."
One source book listed its e?zines twice; in their own section, and again with the traditional literary magazines to make their book larger.
Some of the names I selected included the Axe Factory Review and asspants. The former sounds as appropriate a name for a literary magazine as the line, "The dew floods the floors of all the flowers awash," sounds poetic. The latter states as their goal: "To showcase quality literature and art."
They must believe that literature and art please in the same way as does an attractive derriere stuffed into designer jeans.
Moving along, I found bowWow Magazine, which stated an interest in "Doggone good lit," and Stray Dog, which listed no editorial statement either having none, or having lost it.
From the dogs, I came to the bars with Bathtub Gin, whose editor was "looking for work that has some kick to it." There was also the Distillery, Old Crow, and the Whiskey Island Review, all promising to be sober reads in their own right.
I came across the Green Tricycle and, shades of Poe, the Lollipop. The former described itself as "the fun magazine to read." No comment from the Lollipop. Both magazines in a sense justified their names, claiming themselves to be literary magazines for children.
The Blue Skunk Companion expressed an interest in manuscripts written by people, not writers, while the Idiot wants writers who are "weird, funny and sophisticated."
The editor of Cafe Irreal warns writers, "[M]ake me care about your characters," and Oyster Boy wants only "kick?ass, teeth?cracking stories." Other curious finds include, but are not limited to the Lummox Journal, Pottersfield Portfolio, the Forbidden Doughnut, the Soft Door, Stone Soup, and Spout.
With such an array of names and wants, I don't think it is a risky assumption to suspect that qualitatively most of these journals are less than sterling. Also, the Gad?Fly, the Hum?Drum, etc., may not be fully absolved in this company, but they do appear more respectable. Poe's mock names for the literaries have lost in satirical value compared with the real names of today's literaries, and too, today's Goosetherumfoodles not only live. They thrive.©

WANT TO USE TOM LANE'S SYNDICATED COLUMN?  Write to The Lane Column, Madison Square Station, P. O. Box 235, New York, NY 10159.

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It's one thing to create a setting by relying on the pages of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC or TRAVEL.  Magazine articles can give a writer sights and images, but the writer misses out on the smells, sounds, and tastes unless he or she actually visits a place.

Writers can travel to London and Stratford, Ireland--from Dublin to Galway, Italy--from Venice down to Rome and Sicily, to the Northwest of the U.S.  They may take advantage of the structure of one of the FCCJ tours for the summer of 2001.

For more information, check out the websites at

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Last issue of THE WRITE STUFF in quoting the opening sentences of W. J. Trow's LESTRADE AND THE DEAD MAN'S HAND:  "The snows lingered long that year.  And the iron hand of winter lay like a vice over the mountains of the Hindu Kush.  The Wrong Stuff column said, "If it Squeezes (note capital S) and is made of iron, it is spelled VISE.  (You wicked thing, don't get out your KARMA SUTRA and look for carnal devices made of iron that fit your favorite vice.)"

An alert reader notes that Brits spell the squeezer device as a "vice."  Run us over with car tyres, take us to gaol, or leave us on the kerb until we get with the programme.

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Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves--that's the truth.  We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives--experiences so great and moving that it doesn't seem at the time that anyone else has been caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before.
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1--Francis Bacon (1561), Edmund Burke (1729), Arthur Hugh Clough (1819), E. M. Forster (1879), J. D. Salinger (1919), and Joe Orton (1933); 2--Abdülhak Hamid (1852), Isaac Asimov (1920) and Leonard Michaels (1933); 3--J. R. R. Tolkien (1892);

5--Khristo Botev (1848) and W. D. Snodgrass (1926); 6--Carl Sandburg (1878), Alan Watts (1915), E. L. Doctorow (1931); 7--Zora Neale Hurston (1903?) and Robert Duncan (1919); 8--Wilkie Collins (1824), Peter Taylor (1917), Charles Thomlinson (1927), Elvis Presley (1935), and Leon Forrest (1937); 9--Hayyim Nahman Bialik (1873), Simone de Beauvoir (1908), Herbert Huncke (1915), William Meredith (1919), and Judith Krantz (1928);

10--Robinson Jeffers (1887) and Philip Levine (1928); 11--Alan Patton (1903); 12--Jack London (1876) and Haruki Murakami (1949); 13--Horatio Alger (1834) and Edmund White (1940); 14--John Dos Passos (1896), Tillie Olson (1913), Dudley Randall (1914), and Yukio Mishima (1925);

15--Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812), Martin Luther King Jr. (1929), and Ernest Gaines (1933); 16--Conte Vittorio Alfieri (1749), Robert W. Service (1876), Laura Riding (1901), Anthony Hecht (1923), William Kennedy (1928), and Susan Sontag (1933); 17--Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600), Benjamin Franklin (1706), Charles Brockden Brown (1771), Anne Brontë (1820), and Nevil Shute (1899); 18--A. A. Milne (1882) and Jon Stallworthy (1935); 19--Jacques Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737), Michel Bibaud (1782), Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom (1790), Edgar Allan Poe (1809), J. D. Salinger (1929), Patricia Highsmith (1921), George Macbeth (1932), and Julian Barnes (1946);

20--Henry Bernstein (1876) and George Burns (1896); 21--Isaac Hawkins Browne (1705) and Joaquín Álvarez Quintero (1873); 22--Lord Byron (1788), August Strindberg (1849), Maurice Henry Hewlett (1861), and Joseph Wambaugh (1937); 23--Derek Walcott (1930); 24--William Congreve (1670), Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732), Charles Egbert Craddock (Mary Noailles Murfree) (1850), and Edith Wharton (1862);

25--Robert Burns (1759), W. Somerset Maugham (1874), Virginia Woolf (1882), and Gloria Naylor (1950); 26--Florent Chrestien (1541), Achim Arnim (1781), Samuel Hopkins Adams (1871), Jules Feiffer (1929); 27--Lewis Carroll (1832), Mordecai Richler (1931), and D. M. Thomas (1935); 28--António Feliciano de Castilho (1800); 29--Anton Chekhov (1860) and Colette (1873);

30--Walter Savage Landor (1775), Adelbert von Chamisso (1781), and Richard Brautigan (1933); 31--Zane Grey (1875), John O'Hara (1905), Thomas Merton (1915), Norman Mailer (1923), and Kenzaburo Oe (1935).

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Richard Levine (richie1954@aol.com ), President
Bob Alexander, Vice President
JoAnne Harter Murray, Secretary
Howard Denson (hd3nson@aol.com), Treasurer
Carrol Wolverton (Carrolwolve@hotmail.com), Membership Chair.


Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail.com)
FCCJ Kent, Box 109
3939 Roosevelt Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32205

HOMEPAGE EDITOR:  Brian Hale (Astrodor@aol.com or bhale@fccj.org)

Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about writing or publishing.  If possible, please submit mss. on IBM diskette in either WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, or ASCII format.

We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation for postage and copying.

We pay $5 for pieces 500?599 words; $6, 600+; $7, 700+ words. For cartoons or art (in our print-version), we pay $5 each.  Writers and graphic artists retain all property rights in their work(s).

ISSN No. 1084?6875

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Meetings of NFW are held on the second Saturday of the month at 2 p.m. on the Kent Campus of Florida Community College of Jacksonville. We generally meet in F128B (auditorium conference room).

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; plus many others.

You may receive feedback from specific individuals by mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address. Be sure to allow time for the manuscript to reach Kent.

You may also simply bring your ms. to any of these meetings:

Some dates to remember:

Dec. 9, Saturday:  NFW meeting, 2 p.m., FCCJ Kent, speaker Bob Stanton and critiques.
Jan. 13, Saturday:  NFW meeting, 2 p.m., FCCJ Kent,  Critiques only.
Feb. 1, 2, 3, Thursday-Saturday: Florida Suncoast Writers' Conference, St. Petersburg (813) 974-2403

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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 in the NFW brings several benefits:  subscription to a monthly newsletter, $5-a-day discounts to the mid-May workshops of the Florida First Coast Writers' Festival, and free admission to the September Fest for Writers.

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 "0100" next to your last name, your membership expired in that month.  You do not have to pay back dues to activate your members, so, if you last paid in 1992, 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 109, FCCJ Kent, 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.


St. address_______________________________________

Apt. No. ________________________________________

City ________________State _____ Zip ______________

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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).

UNHELPFUL FEEDBACK:  As you listen to a manuscript, you may be tempted to say, "That's the stupidest piece I've ever heard."  Alas, you aren't being CONSTRUCTIVE.  If you simply do NOT like any, say, science-fiction, then you may not have anything helpful to say.  That is all right.  On the other hand, if you think that a piece was going along okay and then fell apart, you can help the author by saying, "I accepted the opening page, but, when the singing buffalo was introduced somewhere on page 2, the piece lost it for me."

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