Monday, April 27, 2020

Notes from the "In Between" Meeting, April 23rd 2020

9 members joined our Google Zoom meeting which ran from 6-6;55 pm.

Becky apprised us of a self publishing book prize open to all genres. Find more information at NORTH STREET book prize.

Ev mentioned a Flash Fiction contest sponsored by The Master's Review. Find more information HERE

April is National Poetry Month.  Get involved with the Swanton library poetry contest. Read your work or a favorite poetry piece at a virtual meeting. April 28th.  Complete information found HERE. Submit poetry entries to Abbey Gaudette EMAIL.

Ev read his Flash Fiction piece "Service Visit Survey-How Did We Do?"

Emmet read more of his virus story and the group brainstormed ideas with him.

Kylie read a draft of her query letter for her novel. The group discussed query letters, their purpose and some dos and don'ts.

Don't forget our April writing prompt: "Uphill Tuesday"

Next meeting is May 14th at 6 pm. Virtual or in person TBD.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Meeting Minutes April, 9 2020

Our first Virtual Meeting due to Covid 19.  Here's hoping we can get together in person in May.  Using Google Zoom: Becky, Emmett, Michelle Renee, Caleb, Nancy, Ev, Don, Joanne and Scott (apologies if I missed anyone!)

April is National Poetry Month.  The Swanton Library is hosting a virtual poetry read on Tuesday April 28th 2020. If anyone is interested or knows anyone who is interested in reading, writing, submitting poetry for this event, or sharing their favorite poems please EMAIL Caleb

The Swanton Library is hosting a virtual book club.  So far the meetings have been weekly. A discussion topic is offered and people share their reads related to this topic. The next meeting is Wednesday April 15th. EMAIL the library for details and an invite to the meeting.

We discussed Covid 19 and the effect it is having on all of us. Renee mentioned "Isolation Diaries". The discussion generated a story prompt. "Uphill Tuesday." What does this term mean to you?

Several members shared their current writing projects.

Emmett read a portion of the story inspired by the highway sign mentioned last month. Story idea: a plague that killed everyone except the terminally ill.

Judy read a piece about what happened when she broke her diet and ate meat after a long absence (It wasn't pretty)

Nancy read her 'Things Not To Do' list re Covid 19

Ev read a song about Covid 19.

Caleb brought up the singer/songwriter John Prine and read a portion of the lyrics to "That's the Way the World Goes Round"

Our next meting is schedule for May 14th at 6 pm.  Becky will send out a google zoom invite if we have to meet virtually, otherwise see you all at the Swanton Library!

Meeting notes March 12, 2020

Notes by Becky,

Attendees: Emmett, Scott, Don, Ev, Lynn, Judy, Kylie, Keith, Richard, Becky

Discussions covered everything from coronavirus to writing techniques (important to remember: there are lots of recommendations, but no rules; many roads lead to Rome), Tin House literary magazine (argh; now closing), and Swanton's recycled instrument band (the Social Repercussions: Judy is a genius at names).

Still time to create doll obituaries. Should you desire to kill a doll, EMAIL Judy.

Becky's book After Eli just went into its seventh printing.

Completely forgotten to bring up by Becky, despite her extensive helpful notes: Heather Buczkowski wants to come by and film us for her Swanton video series. How do you all feel about this? I love Heather and her project - but don't want to commit without a group okay. Let me know how you feel about being stars of stage and screen.

Emmett, inspired by a coronavirus warning sign on the interstate, has come up with a brilliant idea for a sci-fi story in which a plague wipes out all but the terminally ill. (Yes! Write it!)

Scott read another song background memoir entry, intended to accompany his upcoming CD. Dark, but evocative, and covers everything from a car wreck to suicide, mental illness, alcoholism, and - ultimately - hope of redemption. There's more to come. Suggestion that he create a blog linked to CD so that listeners can read his background essays.

Ev read an inspirational list poem titled "Some Things to Not Do" - which struck a universal chord. Let's all try one for the next meeting! It was all I could do not to start one then and there.

Lynn read her poem "Dormant," which clearly should be posted at the library every winter.

Kylie read a portion of a chapter of her novel, causing me to totally fall for Jasper the newspaper-shredding cat.

Keith read "The Forgotten Forest," first draft of a hilarious Princess-Bride-like short story, with characters Quagmire and Nintendo.

Richard read three new poems, including his first for children, titled "Can Giraffes Swim." I came right home and looked it up. They can't. Loved that poem.

Next meeting: Thursday, April 9, 6 PM at the Swanton Library.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

What's a Poem

Notes for this entry compiled by Becky with assistance from Josh.


Bluets by Maggie Nelson

Poems in the form of 240 numbered essays or meditations. "Bluets: Maggie Nelson on the Color Blue as a Lens on Memory, Loneliness, and the Paradoxes of Love"

At a job interview at a university, three men sitting across from me at a table. On my CV it says that I am currently working on a book about the color blue. I have been saying this for years without writing a word. It is, perhaps, my way of making my life feel “in progress” rather than a sleeve of ash falling off a lit cigarette. One of the men asks, Why blue? People ask me this question often. I never know how to respond. We don’t get to choose what or whom we love, I want to say. We just don’t get to choose.

"The Collected Works of Billy the Kid" by Michael Ondaatje

Described as a short novel, but actually a collage of imagined interviews, poems, prose, and photos, adding up to a biography of Billy the Kid

These are the killed.
(By me) —
Morton, Baker, early friends of mine.
Joe Bernstein. 3 Indians.
A blacksmith when I was twelve, with a knife.
5 Indians in self defence (behind a very safe rock).
One man who bit me during a robbery.
Brady, Hindman, Beckwith, Joe Clark,
Deputy Jim Carlyle, Deputy Sheriff J.W. Bell.
And Bob Ollinger. A rabid cat
birds during practice,

These are the killed.
(By them) —
Charlie, Tom O’Folliard
Angela D’s split arm,
and Pat Garrett
sliced off my head.
Blood a necklace on me all my life.

"Tender Buttons" by Gertrude Stein

Good faith demands that I include this, but full disclosure, this woman sucks. Okay, that's not fair. A lot of my resentment is that everyone around me always loves her. I have had professors describe her as their "spirit animal." And I am happy to get you their contact information. Because I do not get it. My experience with Gertrude Stein has been like being the only sober person at a party. I end up standing in the corner wondering why everyone else isn't bored. That said, she does something that really sets the fire for some people, and you can't fake that. In the interests of description, I will say that it is considered a modernist masterpiece that uses repetitive language to make the mundane become unfamiliar and uncanny, or so I am told. It's kind of like that thing where you say a word over and over until suddenly it has no meaning. And it's true. That is a thing you can do.

'The Narrow Road to the Interior" by Kimiko Hahn

A poem written as a journal, in this case as an Asian pillow book.

"That This" by Susan Howe

Cross-genre “patchwork poems” – combining, for example, the writings of Cotton Mather and other Puritan ministers, the captivity story of Mary Rowlandson, old bird books, Thoreau’s journals, old municipal histories, and the poetry of Longfellow and Emily Dickinson. Additional article: Susan Howe "Patchwork Poems"

"This Is Not a Novel" by David Markson. Poem as research – communication through data

"The Glass Essay" by Anne Carson. Poem as memoir

Meeting Minutes February 13, 2020

With thanks to Becky for these comprehensive notes as I was unable to attend.

Meeting Notes and comments – 2/13/2020

What is Poetry?

While not all by any means agreed, we discussed a lot of examples indicating that “poetry” is a large and inclusive tent.

Ev recommended blackout poetry by Austin Kleon. Find more info --> Newspaper Blackout.  Becky referenced Kenneth Goldsmith who writes controversial “conceptual poetry.” New Yorker article on the subject --> "Something Borrowed"

Writing suggestion: What if we sponsored a Blackout Poetry Contest?

The group also discussed: Translation, cursive handwriting, the English language, and the size of the universe. Becky referenced Planet Word, a new DC museum dedicated to language, scheduled to open in May 2020. More info HERE

Richard read his poem “Bliss,” his entry for the Emotion Speaks project. Scott read an introduction to his song “Thorns,” and the lyrics to “Thorns,” this last to appear on his upcoming CD. Discussion included possibility of Scott also writing an accompanying memoir in which the CD would be included as a related playlist. Ev read a short-short selection form Lydia Davis’s "Can’t and Won’t" Nancy read a wonderful notebook selection (beginning “on compassion and common courtesy”) that led to a discussion of commonplace books. Kylie discussed the revision process and future of her novel-in-progress.

Flash Fiction Contests

Hobbylark, info found HERE
Book Fox, info found HERE

Recommendation regarding flash fic: David Galef's "Brevity" Tips, techniques and samples

Group Recommendations

Ev recommended Literary Hub an excellent multifaceted literary site with tons of categorized info.

Nancy recommended The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry.

Suggestion: what if we each tried to offer a helpful recommendation for the group at each meeting – a book, website, meeting, workshop, project, etc.?

Next meeting: March 12, 2020, 6-7:30 pm, Swanton Public Library

Friday, January 10, 2020

Meeting Minutes January 9, 2020

Our meeting commenced at 6:05.  We had a large group including a couple of new members who are becoming regulars!

Discussion opened with two announcements for upcoming events.

January 14, 2020 Paula Diaco hosts a seminar on "How to Publish Your Book" The time is 6-7:30 pm. Location: 1 Franklin Park W, St Albans, VT 05478. Synopsis: Invest 90 minutes with professional writer and book coach .Paula Diaco of Write Stories Now. Stop dreaming and start doing. Free Workshop! Read more about Paula HERE 

January 25, 2020. League of Vermont Writers is holding an all day event at the Delta Hotel in Burlington VT. Getting Down to the Business of Writing: New Voices, New Opportunities and Annual Business Meeting from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. You are required to preregister for this program. Find more information HERE

Our discussion revolved around various types of 'writer's notebooks" From handwritten notebooks/journals/scrapbooks to electronic devices such as note programs on smart phones and online resources: google docs, instagram and pinterest. Ev suggested keeping a list of unusual nicknames you encounter as story prompts.  Becky shared her extensive writer's notebook containing notes, quotes, pictures and random facts and stories.

For fun and factual reading Becky recommended "The American Language" by H.L. Mencken. Find more information HERE

Renee recommended a middle grade book entitled "Up From the Sea".  It is written novel-in-verse, which is becoming a popular format. Check it out HERE

Several members read and discussed their work.

Our next meeting will be held on February 13, 2020. 6 pm at the Swanton Public Library.  All are welcome. As per Scott's suggestion, if you are so inclined please bring a random, fascinating fact to share. Might kick off some awesome writing!

Meeting Minutes December 12 2019

Our last meeting of the year commenced at 6 pm.  The group shared some snacks and discussed the writing process and how it is approached very differently by authors.  Some tips given by members included:

Keep a clip file/document: Store sections of texts you've edited from works in progress as well as ideas which occurred.  Some ideas and texts will be useful in other places or may spawn future projects.

To aid in continuity in your work or to prompt ideas: self-drawn maps and diagrams, Reference document to keep track of characters, plot of place specifics. Instagram-beautiful pictures for inspiration/example.

Common Place books: Compilations of quotes, thoughts and pictures for future meditation/utilization in our work. Find a brief topical commentary HERE

The book Exhalation by Ted Chiang was recommended.  Find more information HERE

Several members read their Dead Doll obits and 2 members read their own work.

Next meeting is January 9th. 6 pm at the Swanton Public Library.

Notes from the "In Between" Meeting, April 23rd 2020

9 members joined our Google Zoom meeting which ran from 6-6;55 pm. Becky apprised us of a self publishing book prize open to all genres. F...