A little over eighteen months ago I came up with an idea for a writers group in Winchester. I’ve mentioned it here before, and told you about the writing contest we held last summer, but now I want to share with you some of the talent that the Winchester Writers is blessed with. I found out pretty quickly that this group doesn’t need anything from me. So, we meet and share our writing, and sometimes I give them assignments, but for the most part we share our joy of the written word, and our own unique slants on it.
I asked each member to come to our January 7, 2020 meeting with a paragraph or poem they were working on and I’m excited to share some of them with you today.
Melanie Walker is the published author of The Ones That Live in My Head: A Collection of Short Stories, but she is also an accomplished writer of poetry. Both her stories and poems are hauntingly beautiful, and she always brings a fresh perspective to the group.
With the hot revolver still in my shaking hand, I stare from the woman to the now dead man lying in a pool of blood. I look at the gun again and have no idea how to react or what to say. I realize how foolish and terrifying I must look to the petrified woman. She has no idea why or what just happened. Reaching to the back of my brain, it is certain I am just as clueless, but I can’t let on. I’ve always been a liar. I lie out of necessity, but honestly, I also like to make up crap . I like to see what I can get away with. With smoke still in the air, I begin to wonder if this is one of those things . Hell, I don’t even know what THIS is! As I try to shake the cobwebs out of my head, she begins screaming. Not just yelling, mind you, but full-out primal momma lion, blood-curdling screaming. Who is she and who am I? Looking around this unknown Cracker Jack house, I picture myself as Oliver Hardy – hat, belly and all… shaking my head and declaring, “What another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!” With that, I shrug my shoulders, walking past the screeching woman, stepping over another dead body and out the door. The blue sky and the bright sun now have me whistling Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah with an imaginary blue bird sitting on my shoulder as I make my way to my ‘72 black and silver Cougar.
Beth Moland is a former newspaper columnist, who still does freelance work for our local newspaper. She wants to write a novel, and has great ideas, but like many of us she let’s life get in the way. Below is a poem she wrote about her son’s enlistment in the US Navy.
My Sailor Boy to Man
My “sailor boy” who always loved water,
Took the ultimate challenge of the sea,
He signed up, like his grandfather,
To serve his country’s Navy.
Smooth waters, troubled or strong,
All these, he will eventually see,
Will he survive or flounder
Upon the glassy waves of aquamarine?
I pray he returns a “sailor man”,
After his stint on board,
High seas he found to withstand,
And his soul having soared.
Reaching goals never before dreamed,
Pledging honor, courage, commitment,
When the ship docks, loved ones will beam,
With love and pride for his enlistment.
My little child who once loved his ship toy,
Soon will no longer be my “sailor boy”,
But a “sailor man”, who finds special joy,
In the simple phrase, “Ship Ahoy”!
Don Honenberger is the senior member of our group. A retired engineer he brings knowledge about so many things to our meetings. His wife of 66 years passed away in 2019, and I feel certain that our writing group gives him the interaction with people that he needs. Sometimes I have to work to get him back on topic, but Don loves to write and we’re pleased to have him as one of us.
Just as the clock in the hall struck eleven, Walter Jacobs opened the front door to his friend Harold Johnson and his wife, Carol, ushering them into the small group celebrating New Year’s Eve together. Richard and Belinda Collins had arrived a few minutes before, and now they only needed Fred and Connie Jacobs to make the party complete. Walter’s wife Harriet took the wraps and laid them on the bed in the guest room. The last few weeks had been mild but now it was chilly enough for coats and hats again.
An author friend of mine asked me once what I get out of our writing group, and it took me some time to come up with the answer. Because while I thought I had something to share, I really had lots to learn. For instance Darren Snyder is writing a graphic novel, and I thought that meant sexually explicit! Everyone loved it when I told them that.
Or Jeff Pfohl, who is now the published author of books on Abraham and Jonah. Jeff is a pastor who joined our group specifically to get his thoughts into books. I love that we were able to inspire him to do that.
The Winchester Writers isn’t a critique group, and we know that we’re different from other writing groups out there, but we feel comfortable with each other, and we enjoy our two hours together every other week. I look for great things to come from some of these people, and when they’re famous I hope they’ll remember me.
Until we read again…📚