Here are my 10 top reasons for Attending Writer’s conferences


underword: flash fiction

underword: flash fiction (Photo credit: piglicker)

Today I went to a Writer’s Conference in Columbus, Ohio. It was a high quality conference held at Columbus State University.  The price was very reasonable. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you. How about $15.00 for breakfast and lunch? (Someone was very generous.)

There were high quality speakers: a poet laureate ( J. Patrick Lewis),  a Pulitzer Prize winning poet ( Tracy K Smith)  a Memoir writer ( Mary Anne Benedetto) and a writer and  Fulbright professor ( Professor Christine Buuck)  from The Ohio State University (she taught us a little bit about flash fiction.)

I received helpful handouts, recommendations of  good websites, several chances to write after some brief instruction, and an opportunity to buy books at a reasonable price.

1.  I met other people who share my interest.
2. I heard talented people talk about things they’ve done to further their careers
3. I learned some more about what websites are good for exploring the craft of writing.
4. I got the chance to buy some terrific books at very reasonable prices.
5. I learned about how to market from an expert marketer, John Kremer, http://www.bookmarket.com.  He also shared some great tips about exploring the internet.
6. There’s nothing like getting a poetry lesson from a Pulitzer prize winner, Tracy K. Clark. She also did some moving readings from her Pulitzer Prize book.
7. The writer’s answered questions, and were very thoughtful with their answers.
8.  Everybody is willing to network.
9. Attending these type of activities stimulates your mind, challenges and encourages you

10. The food and coffee were terrific, and it was just plain fun!

 

A little humor about being 60+: Wishing I was a Khardashian


Image representing Meetup as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

September 14, 2012
I
s there a country where it’s cool to be older. If there is, I think I would like to move there. The only thing getting older gets you in Columbus, Ohio, is 10% off Tim Hortons and White Castle.  I have to admit .90 is better than $1.10 for coffee. What’s even more insulting is that I don’t even have to show them my “Golden Buckeye” card. They literally take me at face value.

I met with a Meetup Group called “Senior Women”. It was not a happy experience. First of all, they looked older than me, and were trying to find exciting things to do together. They thought going to an outlet mall together would be a rip-roaring time. They glared at me when I told them I still had a husband. “What do you want one of those for?” asked one woman.

Another one said, “You talk really loud.” Then she kept pointing out I wasn’t smiling. Would she be smiling if someone was insulting her. I chalk it up to some kind of disorder. I think it’s called being rude.  They all were older than me, but not by much. Yikes!

Believe it or not, I watched the Khardashian reality show today,  and actually felt jealous of the head mama. Not only does she keep her kids around her, but she’s made them all millionaires. And what do they do? Nothing much. They stand around and look great, take expensive vacations, and constantly eat fancy food. They also look good in their clothes. Wouldn’t that be a great life? Maybe that’s why their show about absolutely nothing is popular.  I am not completely ignorant.  I know they have to come up with scripts about doing nothing every week.

Me? My wardrobe consists of workout clothes, and not much else. The last classy vacation I took was to Myrtle Beach. I was happy to take it too. Even though it was August, and during the biggest drought in the summer. There was a drunk couple in the pool who were loudly throwing each other around in the pool. It wasn’t like Tahiti or wherever the rich people go these days.

And I am getting older. Like it or not. And this society does not celebrate bags and wrinkles, but things could be a lot worse.

I guess I better try looking at the bright side of life.

I have a nice husband, and great children. I own a computer, and have a blog where I can write my deepest darkest secrets.  I have a house to live in, and great friends. And I can save 10% at Tim Hortons, and White Castle.

So I’m not rich and famous. I would probably hate the paparazzi anyway. Look at Princess Kate. The poor girl can’t even bathe topless on her terrace without somebody taking her picture with a camera that can see miles away.

At least I don’t have to worry about that! Life is good!

Guys and Dolls: The 1955 Movie: They don’t make em like that anymore!


Guys and Dolls (film)

Guys and Dolls (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Columbus, Ohio, the Ohio Theater ―a palatial old refurbished theater—plays old movies in the summer. Sometimes, it is fun to watch the old movies in a big beautiful theater with a big screen. It’s usually fun to watch them with other people too.  Chances are, they’ll be your age. In this particular theater there is a fine musician playing the organ before the show and during intermission

I had seen the musical, Guys and Dolls,  in various school productions, and even in a semi-professional theater when I was a teenager.  I knew all the words to all the songs, and I don’t even recall consciously learning them.

I enjoyed this movie. First of all, there was a young Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jeanne Simmons. They all had chemistry and stage presence that popped out from the screen. It also starred Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye, and Sheldon Leonard.

The choreography, scenery, costumes and acting were good enough to make me forget it was 2012.

It really brought back the old days. Another time with old over-sized cars, men wearing actual hats, and women wearing dresses.

The main characters even took a trip to Havana, Cuba, to have a romantic interlude. There were no bedroom scenes, only a kiss.

It  portrayed Jean Simmon’s character as being very naive. Luckily, women’s roles have changed in 45 years.  Her character didn’t know that milk laced with alcohol would get her drunk. Maybe there are still naive women like that out there, but I doubt it.

There was also nothing but white actors in the movie. Back in those days, the races didn’t mix. In that respect, times are better.

it proved to be a very sentimental escape from me. It brought back memories of my childhood and family. It brought back the days when my life was ahead of me, and I could fantasize about what would happen to me when I grew up.  It was fun to connect with my true inner child.

If you get a chance to rent this movie, turn off the lights, and maybe you’ll go back in time too.  Sometimes, it’s fun to revisit the past. You never know what memories might surface.

Saw some dolphins!


English: three dolphins at pacific ocean

English: three dolphins at pacific ocean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love, love the ocean. I wonder if I’d get used to it if I lived by it.  Probably not. I guess it’s never too late.

When I was on Vacation,  I saw some jumping dolphins! How excited we were! I guess when you’re older, witnessing nature gives you joy.  I was just happy that they weren’t at Sea World and were free on their own. But, I was afraid they’d get beached because they were so close. I was cool how many there were, and in those big black pods underwater. So cool!

At first, my husband said, “this is why I tell you not to go out in the ocean. There are sharks out there.” He just likes drama, and being the big protector.

After a few minutes, everyone got used to the whole thing, and started grumbling about not going into the water.

Do you have a good fish or mammal story to tell?

Please share!

It’s Great to Call Columbus, Ohio, Home: Another Harmony Project post


]I am fortunate to live in Columbus. Why, because I am in a group called the Harmony Project.

Today, we gave a concert that we’ve been practicing for since February. It’s now July 18.

With a group of 200, we sounded really good. It was just fantastic. I’ve been in the group for 2 years, and this particular concert was the best ever.

Nobody in the group has to audition. I’ve listened to a lot of people in the group sing, and I haven’t heard anyone who can’t at least carry a tune. Some of the people in the group are musicians, and naturally some are better than others. Others are just ordinary people like me.

The director of the group, David Brown, is the secret ingredient. I don’t know how he does it, but this guy is loaded with charisma. Not only does he have charisma, but he has the largest heart in the world.  He knows how to motivate others, and let me tell you, he does it. You can attend a rehearsal feeling horrible, but by the time you leave you feel optimistic again. It’s like having a little shot of positivity.

He started the choir because he wants to help other people. There’s nothing more to it. He wants to raise money to help people and the city of Columbus, Ohio.  He uses the choir as a vehicle to do this. We sell tickets to the concert, but in the meantime we all have to do some kind of “sharing” project. Some people share more than others.

There are other fundraising projects and big sponsorships that are now in the mix.

One of the things, we as a group, want to do is end homelessness. We raise money for the Columbus Shelter Board, and we’re doing it. Not only that, we’re  including people who are getting second chances into the choir.

You know, all of them are really talented in their own ways. Most of the ones in this particular group, the Unison Project, had responsible jobs before they were down on their luck. You can see all their leadership skills and creative talents blossoming again. It’s a great thing to watch.

Anyway, we had a concert tonight, and it was beautiful. The crowd loved it. We loved the crowd. It was great!

It doesn’t hurt that there are some professional musicians in town who are in the band that accompanies us. They are all fantastic!

There’s one more concert on Thursday. Then it will be over, but only for a little while. We’ll have another concert in September.

I’m glad David Brown decided to make Columbus his home.

Addition: Tonight there was another concert! I had the most fun I’ve ever had. What an enthusiastic audience. It was great!

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10 reasons I don’t like it 104


Lillies

Lillies (Photo credit: firexbrat)

1. It’s scary, it’s never even been 100 in Ohio! It’s been 104 for a couple of days.

2. I can’t take my 3 mile walk. Too steamy hot.

3. The electricity went off for 24 hours. Living life without TV and the internet is Hell.

4. I am hot, and I never get hot! It’s hotter than Hell! If Hell is like this, I am going to be very very good!

5. People are grumpy.

6. I don’t like to sweat. It’s messy.

7. My air conditioning never has gone all the way to my upstairs, and I like to sleep covered with blankets. I also am a big cuddler, but not in the heat!

8. I can’t ride my bike, cause I’ll get dizzy and pass out. (Almost did! )

9. My flowers aren’t happy. (They refuse to bloom like usual…my Day Lillie are pretty upset. They’re all closed up.

10. There are little noisy creatures swimming in the indoor pool at my Health club. I think they refer to them as children.

Creative Giving: Another Harmony Project Post


Here’s another post about the versatile Harmony Project in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the organization that can do and does! We get to sing in a harmonious choir, give performances and make all kinds of new friends. There is commitment involved, but nobody minds. Sing, serve, and share is the motto.

Today was a spa day for the Unison Project, an essential part of the choir.  The people who belong to the Unison Project live in housing, especially sponsored by the Columbus Shelter Board http://www.csb.org.  There are people who have been homeless, but have the courage to take the opportunity to improve their lives. (Not all have been homeless, some have disabilities and other problems that qualify them to live in the facilities.)

Today, a generous spa, the  Ericka Taylor Salon and Spa donated their  services to members of The Unison Project.

They received manicures, facials, hair treatments —color, cuts, blowouts, highlights —and were photographed when it was all over. All the professionals in the spa donated their services. They worked their magic, and brought out the beauty of each person. People left the salon with a glow and a new look.

The pros at the spa did their work with joy. It was inspirational. They were even kind enough to throw in a few manicures to some of the other members of the Harmony Project.

First, we all had a delicious meal “The Little Palace” located on S. Fourth Street.  I would highly recommend that eatery . It was simply delicious.

David Brown, of The Harmony Project planned the whole outing. He did it with great style.

You can still buy tickets for The Harmony Project on July 18, and 19th!  Go to CAPA. It will be a great concert, and you can catch the joy!

It will bounce off the walls of the Southern Theater!

Pictures generously provided by Michelle Herman and Jan Leibovitz Alloy

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Saying goodbye to a friend, Barbara Perrin


I got the news of my friend’s death through an email. That is now life in the 21st century. In case you may have known her, her name was Barbara Perrin. Maybe you ran across her in the writing community.

My friend wasn’t my closest friend. We didn’t call each other on a regular basis, or go many places together. But, the relationship was getting warmer. She had a subtle sense of humor.

We attended a 3 day writers group together several months ago. We talked and talked in the hotel room. She was really proud of her son.  I felt like I could tell her anything. How many people can you trust like that?

I met her at a  casual writer’s group several years ago. She’d come every week, all the way from Westerville, Ohio to Reynoldsburg, Ohio. I could depend on her walking in every Thursday, getting some coffee, and sitting down at the table in the back of the room.

She was an editor by trade, and edited some things I wrote. It was something you’d expect someone to charge for, but she generously did it for free. I learned more than a few things from her.

She was a kind and gentle person, one who knew how to be tactful and get along with others. She seemed to have all the patience in the world.

Her stories were really different, and she had a wonderful way with words.  Her stories were about different types of things from an angle you wouldn’t expect. They were quite artistic. One of her stories was published in the last Columbus Creative Cooperative, and she was so excited about it. The editors were looking forward to the one she was writing for the Bicentennial edition.

When they didn’t receive it, they kept trying to contact her. Her only son called them, and gave them the news. That’s why I found out about it through email. The editor sent out the news to everyone who belongs to the group.

There was no obituary in the newspaper. She died like she lived, quietly.

Today, I went to the writer’s group where I met her.  Only one other person who knew her was there.  I missed her so much, especially her kind blue eyes. The group, like all things, changes with time. Both of us felt so  sad about her death.

She was missing. And the fact is she’s not coming back. We both kept hoping maybe she’d show up, although we knew it wasn’t logical or possible.

That is what happens when someone dies  They are missing.

Barbara Perrin is in the top row on the right. She’s wearing denim and a scarf.

Rest in peace.

Bill Mahr—Love him or hate him?


I put a blurb on Facebook saying I was going to usher at a Bill Mahr appearance in Columbus, Ohio.  I was putting it there to notify my daughter that the concert didn’t conflict with a birthday party she was throwing.

I couldn’t believe the reaction I got to that little comment. People either hate this guy or they love him. I find him very funny. He cracks me up. In these times, we all need a little humor.

Personally, I just loved his movie on religion, Religulous (2008) – IMDb. It made sense to me. But, I know it offended a lot of people. I guess it all depends on where you stand on religion. If you are a  very religious person, and don’t want to question your faith, don’t see this movie.

It just typifies what is going on in this country now. How is this constant quarreling ever going to end?

What mystifies me is how people can listen to the same speeches, be in the same circumstances and have such different reactions.

If you believe in freedom of speech it shouldn’t matter who says what. And I have to say I’m really intolerant to the Fox Station. I feel it’s nothing but an anti-Obama propaganda machine. I’ve felt that way since he’s taken office on the first day. They never gave him a chance.

Cover of "Religulous"

Cover of Religulous

I don’t remember a time when people differed so much in their political views.

I thought it would all end when Barack Obama got elected. But, now it’s worse than ever.

Do you think it will ever end?.

The only thing I can do is not watch TV, listen to the radio, or talk to people who don’t share my point of view.

This could prove to be very tricky in my situation. I do have friends and relatives that do not share my point of view. But, I love them just the same.

I, for one, do not believe in censorship. Everyone has the right to see, hear or watch whatever they want. Then, they can make up their own minds.

I guess it all makes life more interesting.

Post Script: I don’t get to go because my aunt is celebrating her 90th birthday, a much more important event.

The Harmony Project gives me joy! Stay tuned…


This a wonderful project in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been involved with it for two years. I get to sing on stages like The Southern Theater, Lincoln Theater, and all over Columbus. The ticket sales raise money for different philanthropic endeavors in the city. It’s great fun, and it definitely brings me joy!

Next, we get to sing with The Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

The person narrating the video is David Brown, the leader of this whole project. It’s been a terrific experience. He is like the Pied Piper!

Watch the video. It’ll tell something about this project. This is a series of videos. This is the first one. Please share!