The Electronic Write Stuff
Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System (Sept. 2002)



A creative writing instructor at the University of North Florida, Mark Ari, will speak to the North Florida Writers at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, in Room F128B of Kent Campus.
Not only does Ari create word pictures, he has been painting for 20 years and performing as a musician. Examples of his paintings may be seen at his webpage:

He is the author of a novel, The Shoemaker's Tale, which has been praised by Kirkus Reviews as "a true original." A reviewer in The New York Times said "Mark Ari . . .seamlessly blends Jewish folk tales and mysticism with the universal question for life's meanings, while Publisher's Weekly found said, "A charming first novel. . . Ari deftly presents a series of linked fantasies, fables and surreal vignettes. His style combines aspects of the allegorical tales of Rebee Nachman of Braslav (an early Hasidic sage and storyteller), the Hasidic parodies of Woody Allen and magical realism."

An example of his musicianship may be found on The Rape Poems, a CD collection of poetry written and read by Frances Driscoll.



The second annual Book Island Festival will be held from Thursday, Oct. 3, to Sunday, Oct. 6, on Amelia Island and at FCCJ's North Campus and Betty Cook Center in Yulee. Speakers will include John Dufresne, Janet Burroway, plus many writers and poets from Northeast Florida.

The Thursday schedule will include "The Road to Publishing," with Dickie Anderson,GerhardtThamm, George Furnival, and Glenda Ivey at the FCCJ Nassau Center, along with "The Deadly Divas," at the Fernandina Beach Public Library, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Friday schedule will feature a presentation on "Writing, Polishing, and Publishing Your First Novel," with Denise Swanson speaking at FCCJ's North Campus.

On Saturday, workshops at 9:00-9:50 will include "Author?Illustrator Collaboration," with Freeman/Kennedy; Lenzer/Quinn; Keisers; "Getting to Yes with Agents, Editors and Publishers," with Dickie Anderson, Joan McIver, Perry Buffington, Melody Bussey, Gary Buffone; "How I Uncover History," Stuart McIver, David Ball, Jane Walker; "Light Touch Lit -- Readings by Dominick Martia; Dr. Dennis Fried and Genevieve; "Strong Characters = Strong Mystery Plots," Aileen Schumacher.

10-10:50: "Shhh! Be Ver-r-ry Quiet, I'm Hunting Agents!," with Melody Bussey; "More Memoir Writing," Mary Sue Koeppel; "Capturing a Sense of Place," readings by Janet Burroway, Susan Carol McCarthy, Joan McIver; "Not Just For Children," Children's Fiction Readings," Marsha Freeman and Frances Keiser; "Illustrator Know-How," Patrice Kennedy and Maggie Quinn; "Two Friends from Paris Read Poetry Aloud," Nola Perez and Lise Goett.

1:30-2:20, "Creating Killer Fiction with the Divas," McBride, Kleinholz, Albright, and Swanson; "Sorry! Your Book IS Judged By Its Cover Layout," Skip 'n' Stones Productions; "The Book to Movie Process," Bill Reynolds; "Practical Tips for Fledgling Writers," Dickie Anderson and Carole Crowe; "Accent on Adventure," Walt Larsen and William Kerr.

2:30-3:20: "North Florida, Southern Georgia," Readings by Janet Burroway, Beverly Coyle, Aileen Schumacher, May Lenzer; "Self-Publishing Success Stories," Bill Reynolds, Perry Buffington, the Keisers; "Writing and Polishing Your First Novel," Denise Swanson; "Coming of Age," Young Adult Fiction, Adrian Fogelin, Carole Crowe, Susan Carol McCarthy; "The Conception of a Novel: Developing Historical Milieu, Plot and Characters," David Ball.

3:30-4:20: "Readings by John Dufresne and Nancy Bartholomew"; "The ABCs of Self-Publishing," Sylvia Hemmerly and Barbara Johnston; "Conflict and the Novel," William Kerr; "Turning Real Life Stories Into Fiction," Kathy Mitchell, Aileen Schumacher, Jane Walker.

To check up on tickets for luncheons with the writers and other information, see the Festival homepage at




For women the actual amount of time left after the enormous number of chores we have is nerve-wrackingly sparse. Like most women, I have rooms to keep clean, meals to prepare, and always laundry to wash. Yet, unlike the perky TV ads showing smiling females gladly wiping glass windows into sparkling diamonds, I am not a happy home-keeper. I feel, rather, that the home keeps me. So, I have developed my list of ways to look like the mother of Mrs. Clean and still try to write.

The list will not help men. Men work, and, when they retire, everyone feels sorry for them because they have nothing to do except play boss to the one nearest them. It is especially difficult for a retired person who had his own business.

I have a large house. We built it for a "spec" house and overstayed our speculation. We have over 4,000 square feet (sideways, not counting a double garage we use as a pass through), and that's good. My husband has his offices. I have mine. His are the spare bedroom, the living room (where we seldom live) and my daughter's antique shop nine miles away, his favorite. Mine are our bedroom, the family room, the dining room, and a stifling, air conditioning-challenged loft. The remaining rooms are under construction for some major, dust-creating changes we have been working on for just under a year. The picture is fairly obvious. I had to invent a few cleaning methods or lack of cleaning that give the impression that I can write and still live on the planet with a modicum of decency.

Here are my ideas that can help any woman appear to be a good housewife while stealing away to her computer to compose and a few good tips on making cleaning easier:

--Place packages of new sponges in each bathroom and the kitchen. (Keep them wrapped.)

--Buy casseroles at church and ask the neighbor to store them in her freezer until you figure out how to work the microwave.

--Cut out Heloise articles while your partner, neighbor, or guest is reading the paper.

--Sit next to the step-on wastebasket when you are entertaining guests in the next room and keep clanging the lid up and down.

--Buy a huge, multi-purpose kitchen appliance, shove junk off the counter, and set it there.

--Glue figurines to the tables, and once a month clean with a leaf blower (if you don't have one, use a hair dryer).

--Every time you shop at Wal-Mart buy a mop and sell them every three months when you have a garage sale to get rid of your husband's laundry.

--Recycle paper plates unless they don't hold their shape.

--Chew gum to have repair materials handy in case of drips.

--Buy lots and lots of storage boxes big enough for a person to hide in.

--Tie a long dust rag to the fan or a dog's tail.

--Find out what interesting things will go down the disposal.

--When you want to write, turn on the washer, dryer, dishwasher and lawn sprinkler, so you can feel that things are getting done without you.

--Make your bed while you are lying in it and slip out quietly, so the cat won't know there is a vacant spot.

--Only eat candy that doesn't come in a paper wrapper.

--Borrow the neighbor's kids and say they messed up the house.

--Explain that your furniture had a patina you don't want to disturb.

--Cover the floors with newspapers as if you are going to begin painting.

--Hire the Merry Maids to clean and lock them inside the house.

--Use a flyswatter on lampshades. (Cover your nose with industrial-strength filters.)

--Keep an up-to-date list of deliveries (pizza, Chinese, meals-on-wheels), and visit the Salvation Army shelter.

Now you should be happier than before. . .and ready to write.©



The Book Island Festival (BIF) is still seeking college-age performance poets in a "Rock 'n' Roll Readings" contest.  You just have time to enter the contest.

The contest is open to Northeast Florida college students from ages 18 to 22. Entrants would be reading their own poetry or prose.

BIF says, "We need performers with energy, savvy, poise, and brilliant insight." The key BIF requirements are performance and content that is cool, hip, or amazing, heart-stopping and not-a-drag.
Each entry should be limited to less than ten minutes.

Two performers will be selected to appear at Book Island Festival (BIF) at readings at the Palace Saloon on Friday, Oct. 4, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
They will appear with John Dufresnse and Nancy Bartholomew, faculty authors for the Elderhostel writing workshop which is wrapping itself around BIF this year, as well as slam poet Randy Cappus. The host will probably be Zoo, a New York musician with the band Great Shakes.

Entrants may enter the competition in two ways by a videotape or a performance audition. Either method needs to be completed by Monday, Sept. 16.

--They may send a photograph, a one-paragraph bio, and a videotape of their performance to Contests, FCCJ North Campus, 4501 Capper Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218. Include adequate postage and a mailer for return of the tape and photo.

--They may arrange for an audition at a local poetry venue by contacting either Lynn Skapyak Harlin at or George Gilpatrick at

For more information about the Book Island Festival, check their homepage at


"Writing comes more easily if you have something to say."-

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1--Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875) and Blaise Cendrars (1887); 2--Paul Bourget (1852) and Allen Drury (1918); 3--Karl von Bonstetten (1745), Edwin Honig (1919), and Alison Luurie (1926); 4--Phoebe Cary (1824), Antonin Artaud (1896), Mary Renault (1905), Richard Wright (1908), Paul Harvey (1918);

5--H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886) and Frank Yerby (1916); 6--Robert Pirsig (1928); 7--Willem Bilderdijk (1756), Tristan Bernard (1866), Edith Sitwell (1887), and Taylor Caldwell (1900); 8--Ludovico Ariosto (1474), Siegfried Sassoon (1886), and Ann Beattie (1947); 9--Clemens Brentano (1778), Leo Tolstoy (1828), and Mary Austin (1868);

10--Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli (1791), Ian Fleming (1888), Georges Bataille (1897), Cyril Connolly (1903), and Brother Antonius (William Everson) (1912); 11--Joanna Baillie (1762), O. Henry (1862) and D. H. Lawrence (1885); 12--Julien Auguste Pélage Brizeux (1803), H. L. Mencken (1880), Louis MacNeice (1907), and Michael Ondaatje (1943); 13--Nicholaas Beets (1814), Otakar Brezina (Vaclav I. Jebavy) (1868), Sherwood Anderson (1876), John Malcolm Brinnin (1916), and Roald Dahl (1916); 14--Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486) and Ivan Klima (1931);

15--James Fenimore Cooper (1789), Petr Bezruc (Vladimir Vasek) (1867), Robert Benchley (1889), Agatha Christi (1890), and Claude McKay (1890); 16--Thomas Barnes (1785), Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803), Gwen Bristow (1893), and Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1950); 17--Émile Augier (1820), William Carlos Williams (1883), and Ken Kesey (1935); 19--William Golding (1911);

20--Upton Sinclair (1878), Maxwell Perkins (1884), Stevie Smith (1902); 21--H. G. Wells (1866), Leonard Cohen (1934), Stephen King (1947); 22--B. H. Brockes (1680), Ferenc Herczeg (1863), Irving Feldman (1928); 23--William Archer (1856); 24--William Evans Burton (1804), Ramón de Campoamor y Campoosorio (1817), and F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896);

25--William Lisle Bowles (1762), Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793), and William Faulkner (1897); 26--Irving Addison Bacheller (1859), T. S. Eliot (1888), Martin Heidegger (1889), and Jane Smiley (1949); 27--Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821), William Empson (1906) and Jim Thompson (1906); 28--Rudolf Baumbach (1840) and Ellis Peters (1913);

30--Truman Capote (1924) and W.S. Merwin (1927).

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The Write Staff:

JoAnn Harter Murray, President

Carrol Wolverton, Vice President

Nate Tolar, Secretary

Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor (

Jean Mayo, Membership chair.

Joyce Davidson, Public Relations (

Doris Cass, Hospitality

Presidents Emeritus:

Frank Green, Dan Murphy (, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag (, Richard Levine (, Bob Alexander

NEWSLETTER ADDRESS: THE WRITE STUFF, FCCJ Kent, Box 109, 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.

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 RFT format. We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation for postage and copying. We pay $5 for pieces of 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:

Sat., Sept. 14, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker: Mark Ari
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 4-6: Book Island Festival, Fernandina Beach
Sat., Oct. 12, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker: Harriet Dodson
Sat., Nov. 9, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker: Sohrab Fracis
Sat., Dec. 7, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker: Patti Levine Brown
Sat., Jan. 11, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker: Bill Reynolds
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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 is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family. (Make out checks to WRITERS.)
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 ______________
E-mail address: __________________________________
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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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