Monthly Archives: August 2015

Mumblings of an Aging Writer

Sometimes I get so discouraged I can hardly go on. I wonder how other people keep going. I don’t want to fall into self-pity here but come on…

When I woke up my neck hurt and my right hip stung and burned. I had to leap out of bed anyway because I had a Charlie-horse in my right leg. Then I stumbled when my leg gave way (sciatic nerve) as I raced to the john.   Phew.

Mug of coffee in hand I sit to write my morning pages, I’m a page and a half in before my writing hand goes to sleep. I quit to do some stretching.

Now, at my computer I try to print the pages I wrote yesterday for editing. Error message; printer can’t be found. I’d hoped it might heal itself after many unplugging’s, restarts, and a night’s rest; I’d even made a trip to Wal-Mart yesterday to buy a new router, maybe that was the problem. Nope. Meanwhile, a few more stretches and I pick up my iPhone because my VOIPO (voice over internet phone service doesn’t work either because it can’t find the internet). I make the dreaded call to customer support.

I know they will tell me to unplug, and restart everything, which involves getting on the floor behind the TV with the flashlight and magnifying glass; then the biggest challenge at my age – getting up off the floor again.

Well, Canon customer service was wonderful. They are in America! We had no trouble understanding each other. Problem fixed!

Next I need to call Brighthouse to find out why my internet isn’t working and then I still have to call VOIPO where they will tell me to get back on the floor and unplug everything again. I just want to go back to bed, but then I think of everyone else who is facing their day, especially the workers who try to lead me to technology nirvana, and most especially all my aging soul sisters who think I’m their computer guru. They leave me no choice when they call me their shining example.

Boot up and write.

Categories: Story Circles | 8 Comments

Upcoming Story Circle

This is the announcement sent by Sheila for our  meeting Agust 19, 2015

Hello Writers,

We are all writers, regardless of being published or not. We write because we have a story to tell. The story can be about your real life, a memoir, or one that you make up, a novel. You choose to write because you have to.  Most of us have been writing, as Jan likes to say, since we could hold a pencil.  I hope you have been spending the summer enjoying yourself and writing.

I know it is hard to find the time when often we are busy with our lives, but make the time.  When I complained to my sister, Sharon, a few months ago about not having time she suggested I get up early. Since I already get up at 6:30 or so, I wasn’t too thrilled to get out of bed any earlier.  But, I did. She and I made a deal we would both get up earlier to accomplish our goals.  We send a text that states “I am up.” No more. We then get to work.  The positive result of that not so gentle push from my sister is that I have finished my book. Jan has her book almost completed.  We are going to the Florida Writers Association Conference in Oct to find ourselves an agent to represent us.

We both believe being around other writers gives us focus, helps us learn our craft and provides encouragement.  That is what the Story Circle Creative Writing group is all about.  We want you to join us for the meeting at the beautiful Safety Harbor Library on Wednesday August 19thfrom 6:00 to 7:45 PM.

Writing Assignment for August

Assignment for August 19th:  it is summer! Time to relax and have some fun so Spend one day this month exploring a place you’ve been meaning to visit but haven’t yet –– a local museum, art gallery, beach, take a boat ride, watch a sunset at a beach bar ­­–– or whatever. If you didn’t get out to a new place tell us about an adventure from a past summer. Tell us about it in 600 words or less.

All Writers Welcome 

We invite all writers from just thinking about writing to published authors to attend the class.  If you are just starting out you will learn a lot from the information provided as well spend time with the wonderful people who happen to be writers too.  If you have friends who write, please forward this email to them.

The Story Circle, a creative writing group, meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month at the Safety Harbor Library located at 101 2nd Street North, Safety Harbor, FL 34695  727-724-1525 from 6:00 PM to 7:45 PM.  We would stay longer but the library closes at 8:00 PM.  Each month we provide a writing assignment with a maximum word count of 600.  Everyone who wants to can read their story and is given gentle feedback from the group.  After all the readings we provide you with a short lesson on some aspect of writing.  Dialog, editing, creating the scene and opening paragraphs are a few of the topics we have covered.  No reservation required and no cost to you.

Jan Golden                                                                              Sheila  McNaughton                                               

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Another book chapter. I’d been on the island about one week.

I wasn’t eager to leave my new found paradise this morning but had to go to Georgetown to turn in my rental car and find a used one to purchase. I picked up a copy of the Cayman Compass, the lone local newspaper and searched the classified ads. One read: school-teacher leaving island, for sale 1979 Honda, standard shift, no a/c, $800 US.  I arranged to meet her and test drive the car. She told me she was sad to be leaving the island, but her work permit hadn’t been renewed. I bought the car chuckling because the total cost was about the same as a one-month payment on my leased Jaguar in Lynnfield. I’d turned it in when I left the states. I named my little Honda Amelia (Earhart). This was my solo flight, too.

I grabbed a few groceries and headed back out to Cayman Kai, about a twenty-five-minute drive. A stop at the North Side Post Office was on my list, we have no street addresses and therefore, no mail delivery on the island. The tiny cement block building, maybe 6′ X12’, is on the left, behind it is a playground full of children at recess, then the elementary school. Inside behind a wooden counter sits a grandmotherly white-haired woman.

“May I rent a PO Box?”

She smiles, I have one open,” she said, “Its fifteen dollars CI per year.” She put aside her crocheting to give me the form and a key.

“What are you making?” I ask.

“A bedspread, it keeps me busy between customers, we only get a few. I’m open from 8 AM to 11, and from 1-2:30 PM, Monday through Friday.”

Behind me, out the front door and across the narrow road is a small beach with sea grape trees and the sparkling sea stretching out to the horizon. It’s a breathtaking view with the sugary white sand, green sea grape trees and turquoise water.

The Postmistress and I had many chats over the next few years, as she filled me in on lots of history of the island and people of the North Side. Nettie McCoy is called Miss Nettie and she lives about a mile down the road. She told me when she first began working here years ago the mail came from Georgetown by canoe, and later, once there was a sand trail, by a mule.  The marl road was put in when the Cayman Kai Community was built.

I bought some stamps. They are a bargain at five cents for local mail and have a picture of the Queen. Cayman is a British Crown Colony and the Caymanian’s love their Queen Elizabeth. One day when I brought in a letter to mail, and slid it across the counter for Miss Nettie to stamp the postmark, she looked up at me, eyes wide, tapped her gnarled finger on the stamp and scolded, “The Queen is upside down.”  I never made that mistake again.

Several years later, Miss Nettie retired and her daughter Virginia McCoy became the new Postmistress at North Side. At her retirement party, held by her family, I asked Miss Nettie, “What are you going to do now that you are not working anymore?”

“Lord child,” she said. “I dunno but it sure will be good to be out of the rat race!”

Categories: Story Circles | 7 Comments

Welcome Breakfast in Grand Cayman

Here is a chapter from my soon to be completed book An Unfinished Woman. The banner photo on this blog is the beach across the street from my house there. I’ll appreciate comments!

I am finally here! It has been a grueling and exhilarating year. I’ve sold my house, quit my job after 30 years, left family and friends behind, and moved my life and belongings to Grand Cayman, the island of my dreams.

My furniture hasn’t arrived yet. I walk every inch of the  screened in two story house surrounded by huge, graceful Australian Pines and walk down the rickety deck to the canal. It’s so quiet here, no sound other than an occasional fish plopping.

I’m so excited I don’t know what to do first so I unpack my suitcase. Pull on my blue bathing suit and long tee shirt and cross the road to the beach. The turquoise water that mesmerized me when I vacationed here welcomes my return. It surrounds and caresses me. The sun sets in a blaze of glory as if signaling the end of my journey.

I open all the sliding glass doors and gaze at the twinkling stars in the inky sky. I’ve rarely seen the sky so dark there isn’t even a street light on this end of the island.

My sleep is as deep and restful as a baby’s. I wake to a soft Caribbean voice calling – “Miss Janet, Miss Janet.” Stretching on my makeshift bed on the floor, I stand and go out to the balcony. Carlos is standing on the sand below waving a lobster in each hand. “Have you got a pot? I brought you breakfast.” How does he know I am here? Word travels fast on the ‘marl road’ the locals say. I’ve been out on catamaran trips with Carlos on earlier trips.

I search the cabinets, find a pot and go downstairs. Outside, beside the canal, Carlos has gathered some big stones and aging coconuts. I watch in amazement. He holds a coconut in one hand and with one swift swing of his machete, cracks it in half to pull out the web-like fiber. He uses the fiber to start a fire under the stones he has piled up to hold the pot, and then he dips the pot into the canal.

“These are best cooked in sea water,” he says, plunging the lobster into the boiling water. I watch them turn from brown into a bright red. Cracking one open, he hands the luscious meat to me.

“Welcome to Grand Cayman.” A huge grin spreads across his face.

I am not sure who is more pleased, him or me.

Categories: Story Circles | 5 Comments

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