Saturday, October 31, 2015

Coffeeshop Writers Clasp Hands and Pray for Kym

 My feet were killing me yesterday as I made Halloween Cards for a variety of friends. In fact, Carolyn just called me saying she received my postcard.

We lamented that the post office treats postcards with disdain. Yes, it do!

The above card on the right is for Kym, whose cancer has spread. Jeez! She's about 45 years old but Martha Hunter said she's a real fighter and will try alternative treatments.

Good for you Kym!!!

 Yes, I signed the pledge! Gotten at the Upper Moreland Library this morning where about 8 of us attended the kick-off of November is Novel-Writing Month.
Judy wrote a beautiful prose-poem called "Cicada Killers." Oy veh! We've all had experiences similar to the narrator's who pees her pants in gym class. (My experience was in kindergarten at Taylor Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. It actually felt great to let loose, but my socks got wet, in addition to the puddle on the floor.)

The gym teachers in Judy's story were mean with icy-cold eyes. Same here, Judy! Well done.

Martha who's eating some tuna fish read several pages from her marvelous new novel "Naaman the Princess." Very visual we all agreed about relationships, Judy noted, between characters.

Judy asked Remington Murphy what name he likes to be called. "Rem," he said, "b/c it's short for Rapid Eye Movement."

I remember once when I met him at the Abington PO -he's since been transferred to Roslyn - I asked him if he was a member of the great band - now retired - R E M.

Sadly, he disabused me of this notion.

Once again he read us a terrific set of couplets called "Trumpery." He said he's been working on it for months and had a tough time with the conclusion, which was perfect.

We did talk politics at this point. Many folks believe Hillary will be our next president. YES. We all love Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a socialist. Rem had a good point. He should promote himself as a socialist like FDR and also Teddy Roosevelt.

Linda Barrett's imagination was on fire with the first chapter of her novel, "Finding Larry." We were all impressed that the main character Queenie, a dog, was the only character who had any sense.

In fact, Linda once had a dog named Queenie. The owner of Queenie was a man who smoked "funny cigarettes" - you guessed it - and also loved to drink. His wife was off fighting in Syria - good luck, woman! - and she had specifically told him not to bring any of his friends in the house.

Imagine, a man acting like a teenage mutant!

The group liked the first chapter of my novel, called "It Can't Happen Here."

Rem said this was a novel by the Nobelist Sinclair Lewis, famous for his Babbitt, Main Street, Arrowsmith and Elmer Gantry.

During my teens and early 20s, when I was on a reading frenzy, I read the first three books. Darn! the woman in Main Street, I remember, wanted to leave her doctor husband for a more exciting man, but reason prevailed and she never did.


Rem said Linda's story, from the point of view of a dog, reminded him of a Japanese novel called I Am A Cat, a satire wrin in 1905 from a cat's point of view. Linda has also written short stories from a cat's point of view.

Scott and I are going to wedding this evening, leaving home at 4:45.

We wear black. I'm wearing a polka dot outfit that's very comfortable and I'll wear black-painted sneakers. Plus the scarf Iris Arenson-Abbot gave me when she visited.

I was never a scarf wearer until now. I am so friggin' hip! Your average psychotherapist wears a scarf.
Here's the email Kym sent out about her condition.

Black attire requested at the wedding. The daughter of Scott's childhood friend, Paul, is getting married.  The wedding is at the Northampton Country Club.

Image result for northampton county prison    Oops, this is the Northampton County PRISON. Look at the tiny windows. 

Image result for northampton country club

In case you're thinking about getting married, Roberto, here's the link.

I told Marf who will never finish her tuna salad

that some of my writing was accepted by - is it Page and Spine? I always try new lit mags.

She rejected all my poetry. Then she rejected a flash fiction piece about my late father, saying "This is a love eulogy, far too personal to publish."

Fifteen minutes later I prepared myself for another lousy rejection with commentary when she wrote me, they're accepting Saving Charlotte and In Pursuit of Happiness, calling em 'absolutely beautiful' or some such.

Thing is - and I'll be paid when published $20 - that it's far off in the future.

Okay 17 more minutes until lift-off.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three good books to read tonight!

I met Jonathan Katz at Goddard Goddard in Plainfield VT in 1964, the year I graduated from high school. He tooled around in a new blue Corvair.

Image result for blue corvair     The car was written up, along with other cars, in Ralph Nader's "Unsafe at Any Speed."

I last saw Jonathan when he and his wife Suzie summered in a lovely home in Upper Black Eddy, PA.  I drove down while everyone in the car yelled at me.

Do this, do that, don't do that. Don't worry, I did a great job driving.

Then, one foggy Pennsylvania afternoon, I get an email....

Jonathan P Katz has been awarded a doctorate degree from Goddard College, which you may watch here.

Image result for jonathan p katz He's always been a wiz with electronic equipment. When he did comedy skits here in Philly, he played a song with his - mandolin? - called Pussycat Polka. He penned a lot of tunes.


Scott made this scarecrow.

And I made postcards today.

This is an old Sunbeam hair dryer I used to blow-dry some acrylic paint.

My neighbor Julien Dinerstine and I met when I was running down the hill, my blond braids flying, of my neighbor Linda.

Julien was walking Roxie, the big dog, and - ach! almost remembered the name of the lil dog. I didn't see him and I heard someone say, Hi Ruth.

What, I thought, someone knows me?

After I explained my plight, Julien said he'd bring me his mom's old hair dryer. He took soooo long that in desperation I put the two huge punkin paintings in the oven and by the time he got here, they were dry.

But I needed it for one other pumpkin for Terry Pointer.

 How would I make one more punkin?

Raced over to Scott's house next door where he has a drawer-load of greeting cards. I found two blank matching pages, stapled em together and cut out a punkin shape.

Then raced upstairs to type up the address on the front and a saying on the back.

The house was littered with scraps of paper but I was pressed for time.

The Abington PO closed at 4 pm, altho the Huntingdon Valley was open until 5.

Where, I wondered, is the Abington. Aha, I said, It's on the way to the church.

Off I flew sans seat belting myself in.

When I got there, Stacy said the various post offices wouldn't be able to tell the front from the back.

C'mon,, Stacy, I said. You people are smart. I've done this many times before.

Image result for the nazi officer's wife  Reminded me of the incredible escapes Edith Hahn made in her quest to remain alive during the Holocaust. Finished this excellent book this morning, a gift for Dan's 39th bday which I can now present to him in the original B & N plastic bag.

Am not reading anything now so I went to the Upper Moreland Library

and checked out three new books. I paged through the one about the Koch Brothers, which read very well, and also the new book by Kazuo Ishiguro -  (I must read the Guardian article about how he wrote a book in four weeks - and also a set of psychotherapy tales by Irv Yalom.

I cannot wait to climb into bed and read.

Amber, the librarian, at the libe, told me the bed is her fave place to read, b/c it's warm. Me, too. I told her the difficulty of leaning against the wall - I don't have a headboard - and she suggested I stack it with cushions, which I will. I'll use some of the many blankets I have.

Told her I've gotta think of a topic for my novel. I no longer wanna write about a Holocaust survivor.

At one point she was telling me about her new kitten, who is tethered in the back yard. He knows nothing about cars. Once he escaped, ran in the street, and lay under a parked car. Her other two cats are streetwise.

In the kitchen when I cook I'm nearly done with

Image result for the end of life book club       It's quite good and not at all sad. Read about it here.

Am gonna 'like' it on FB.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I Forgot to Buy Fruit!

Sun, Nov 1, 2:00 AM... so that's next Saturday night.

I made a pledge to Barry Bush.

I'd help him get a new kidney, I said, b/c, like mine, his were destroyed by lithium.

This afternoon I wrote letters to three churches and will mail them tomro.  I'll keep sending letters to churches.

My letters begin:  We're looking for a Good Samaritan. 

My friend Freda gave me a popcorn popper she didn't want.

Scott showed me how to use it. Since it doesn't pop ALL the kernels at once, I simply send them back down the hopper.

Since popcorn is a starch, I add protein to it - peanuts - and then I have a 'complete meal' or snack.

Front door thru which I passed to go shopping at the Giant this evening.

I could go no further when I saw this tree.

Grabbed my camera, took a photo, put the cam in pocket and off I went to the Giant.

In the early days of my manic-depression, I remember looking out my window and thinking that this very same tree looked like a little girl, probably me.

There's a word for that.... my then-psychiatrist Alex Glijansky taught it to me... an illusion.

Scott n I walked The Pennypack today. He had to buy 4 bags of bird seed and I bought a $100 cash-for-causes card to shop at The Giant.

While at the park I found this huge feather.

What kind of feather is it?

Circle one:

Hawk - Vulture - Turkey OR dodo-bird.

You can see my feather jar in a lovely container from a French exchange student who stayed with us when Sarah was in high school.

Here's my new Bissell Sweeper as my other one dropped dead.

Of all the household tasks, which one do you hate doing the most?

For me, it's vacuuming. Why? B/c I have to move everything off the floor.

Just got an email that should put things in perspective about our lives: Philadelphia is the poorest big city in America.

Is that you, Janice, I say?

And yes it was, in the Bin Aisle at the Giant.

We had a lovely talk. She showed me what she bought. This is also a line from a Hollies song.

She had some beautiful Comice Pears that I said I would buy in the Produce Dept. Outside her house they have a whole tree full but ate em all.

Image result for comice pear

And what did I do?  Forgot to go down the Produce Aisle.

Image result for tearing hair out

In answer to my question, here's what ABC writes:

Halloween is no longer just about costumes and candy.
It's now the second-biggest decorating holiday of the year -- right behind Christmas.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Full House at Writers Group

 I read Floyd's two-page true story "Engineer" out loud to the group.

Very good!

He said, it was a good thing he kept a diary during the many years he worked at the water treatment plant. He wanted to show us what a civil engineer does. A bulwark of civilization.

Next to Floyd is Bob, Donna Krause's brother. He wrote a true story titled "Despair." His best friend moved to Ohio at the behest of his family.

We all have choices.... we can listen to what our families want or we can ignore them.

Apparently Alz Disease runs in the family, so the Ohio kin wants their relative there so they can take c/o him. Bob speaks to him every day.

The story was very well-done.
Steve Marino wrote about his best friend.... God and Jesus.

Martha, you look great in black. I'll enlarge the photo so I can see the front of your shirt. From here, on my red couch, listening to the jazz station, it looks like human anatomy.

Martha is also writing a novel for November is Novel-Writing Month. I don't know how Marf finds the time to read books, compose, and work as a substitute child-care worker. In fact, she read a brief poem she composed in the car before she got to work.

"Sans Coat" was about the common dilemma - do I need a coat? Last line reads "putting it away in my trunk with the pants, blouses, shorts, ripped underpants, ready for the next lapse of judgment."

Her novel is called "Naammen, Chosen by the King." Naamen is a biblical character, one of King Solomon's concubines, and practically nothing is known about her, so Marf can make it all up!

As with her long pieces, she knows exactly what's gonna happen and has wrin more than one chapter which she presented today. We all loved it.

Main man, from Russia, is called Sergei. Here's how to pronounce it.

Like the victorious baseball team The Mets, she's off to a great start.

We loved the title of Linda's story:  Finding Larry.  Larry hasn't make an appearance yet. It takes place in Abington, PA

If you click the above link you can take a tour of the township from the bottom line. Takes a while to upload but you can bet I'm gonna do it!

In her first chapter, she discussed Daddy's friends, who, from the point of view of the dog Queenie, smoked weed and did drugs.

Donna wasn't feeling so hot but she came anyway to encourage her brother and also to offer her comments.

Same with Beatriz, who sped out to her car, in the Giant's wheelchair.

Leave it to my camera... the photo of Rem didn't show up, but luckily I'd taken him before.

What a gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous poem he wrote.

"His City" was about Vegas. "He watched his city grow during the boom years/every year in the 90s/a new kitschy-themed casino.

He had a great line about new developments unfinished, rearing their heads like unfinished skeletons. Wish I could remember those great lines.

He and his late wife Valerie drove there many a time. "After she died, he could never go back/ Too many ghosts.

Very effective writing in the third person. 

Read about the former mayor of Vegas, Oscar Goodman, who Rem referenced as an attorney who defended gangstas.

Last night I went to the Willow Grove Bible Church Social where Kim Ruby used an expression - Jesus spoke to her - that I used in my short story "Kafka's Other Woman."

I don't particularly like the title. It's about one-third finished.

Worked on it this morning. I get so anxious when writing it, I keep checking my emails while writing. Will work on it over the weekend. But now am going to Scott's. We watched a terrific film "Far From the Madding Crowd" and wanna continue with the special features.

After I read my short story, Marf said I must read The Road to Wellville.

Image result for the road to wellville book  Holy cow! It's by one of my fave authors.... T C Boyle!

C'est moi.

Visited Mom. She's drinking hot water, like Dad used to do, to hydrate herself. Doctor's orders. She fed me

Beet borscht, made by Kamelia, little David's mom. Mom called me earlier to say Tyler, David's dad, called to say David is walking. He's not a year yet.

Mom and I took a walk up n down her long driveway. She used her walker and was very good with it.

Image result for old lady and walker