A great group came together on Saturday, November 7th to learn more about vivifying their writing, and they did just that. We discussed what makes people lifelike, the best way to create a story timeline, what an effective title includes, effective ways to open stories, how to capture the feel of a place, and many other topics.
Darlyn Finch Kuhn, award-winning author of Sewing Holes, read a passage from her amazing book and talked to us about the difficulty she experienced in writing this story as memoir. Her decision to change names and circumstances freed her up from the truth, which had become a burden, and enabled her to write the story she truly wanted to tell.
She also focused on the importance of making our writing sensual, tapping into our less mentioned senses of smell, hearing, touch, and taste, and including the main character’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the situations in which she finds herself. Thanks, Darlyn, for a wonderful glimpse into the writing of an important work.
Special thanks to Norma Beasley, Robin Ogilvie, Jim and Elsie Doherty for sharing their awesome vivified stories for us to enjoy.
Death Brings Peace by Norma Beasley
It was Friday morning, October 9, around 10:00 a.m. when the phone rang.
“Norma, I have sad news. Mom passed away Wednesday. Can you come to the funeral?” It was Annalee, a first cousin of mine.
“Let me see about travel arrangements, then I’ll get back to you,” I said. “E-mail the details. Sorry for your loss. Bye.”
I went online to make reservations with the Hotel Morgan, Morgantown, West Virginia’s version of a grande dame hotel, eight stories high, located on High Street in the heart of the downtown area. The ninety-year-old icon, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, featured a high-ceilinged wood-paneled lobby and a three thousand square foot ballroom. A chic top-floor restaurant with an open-air patio, heated bathrooms, and rich 19th century style décor in the rooms waited for me to enjoy…read more.
Puppy Dog Tales by Robin Ogilvie
Just how far can yarn stretch before it breaks? Terry the Twoth’s second litter nearly found out. They were adorable two-month-old Great Dane pups, four of them, and, as it turned out, just the right number. Have you ever seen four puppies plot evil? Well, I did that afternoon.
It was 1958. Fall in New Jersey enters with beautiful colors and cool weather. Sweater weather. Our family practically lived in the basement. In those days, twelve by twelve inch squares of vinyl tile covered floors as the new thing. It came in all colors and even decorative designs. Plain green tiles covered our basement floor. Dad’s pool table took up most of the space as we entered from the garage. But if we walked downstairs from the first floor, Dad’s bar and the huge painting of George Washington’s dream of West Point filled the first area. Further along, an upholstered bamboo couch, two chairs and a couple of end tables took up the space in front of the color television. Definitely comfortable and not your 1930’s concrete basement full of pipes and boilers. This is where the puppies were born and spent their first fourteen weeks…read more.
Bats Under My Seat by James G. Doherty
“Rudal, come looking for me if I’m not back in two or three hours.”
“Yes Mr. Jim. Sure Mr. Jim.”
My guide,Rudal, was waiting for my return outside the hole I had crawled through. Climbing down rock ledges, and picking my way past seemingly bottomless black holes with a headlamp as my companion, I wondered how difficult it was going to be to get back out of the inky darkness of this cave. Except for the bats and other unseen creatures I was alone in this quiet blackness. I was carrying thin bamboo poles, mist nets, a butterfly net, and a small wire cage to hold bats, if I was successful in catching any bats while in this cave…read more.
One Step at a Time by Elsie Doherty
On an early Saturday morning in 1964, six Peace Corps volunteers; Betty, Fay, Dave, Dick, Jim and I, stationed in various parishes of Jamaica gathered at a meeting point in Kingston to join Don, a Canadian with the Bank of Canada and Bruno, a French artist who lived in Port Antonio. The eight of us were going on a hike!
We squeezed into two tiny cars, a British Hillman Minx with a convertible top driven by Bruno, and a German Volkswagen bug driven by Don, along with our supplies, mainly food, to sustain us during this two-day adventure. The Hillman led the two-car caravan to begin the journey which would test our physical and mental stamina and will power…read more.