We had our ninety-first Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, May 9. Thanks to Brian, Lisa, Sean, Matt H, Michelle, Jennifer, Kathy, Aaron, and Salvador for joining me on-line via WebEx for conversations about our creative efforts while we’re all confined to our homes. Thanks to Robert for checking in via phone at the very beginning of the meeting.
As usual, we started with a few agenda items:
– Errol wrote in to say: I will not be at the meeting today. I am starting a new project – a one-man show. I start today meeting with a friend who is going to help and will be taking two of her classes through the summer at Chicago Dramatists (all virtually, of course). And she is only available to meet Saturday afternoons.
Please send my gratitude to the group for all of their support and feedback. It has been an amazing education. I will keep you all informed of the book’s progress. I am querying daily. I will also let you know if and when the one-man show evolves – right now titled “Delta Boy”. Maybe, I will catch up with the group in September.
Everyone stay safe, well and creative.
– The North Riverside Writers Group meets next on Thursday, May 21 at 6pm on Zoom. Details and registration information are at http://www.northriversidelibrary.org/events/digital-programming-writers-group/
– Local independent bookstore Anderson’s Bookshops has a GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-keep-anderson039s-bookshops-here) that’s raised $84K of a $100K goal to help them survive in these dire economic times. I also saw an article in the Tribune that said that before the Coronavirus shutdown, management told employees that the LaGrange location would be closing in July when the current lease is up. Some people in the article say they are conflicted about contributing to the store if they’re just going to close. Apparently the plans to close the LaGrange store are not set in stone, though.
– The Printers Row Lit Fest is now tentatively scheduled for Sept 5th & 6th – https://printersrowlitfest.org/
– The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention has been postponed until Sept 11-13 – http://windycitypulpandpaper.com/home/
– Lisa sent a notice: North Street Book Prize for Self-Published Books – Enter your self-published book into the sixth North Street competition, sponsored by Winning Writers and co-sponsored by BookBaby and Carolyn Howard-Johnson (author of The Frugal Book Promoter).
Choose from six categories: Mainstream/Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction, Creative Nonfiction & Memoir, Poetry, Children’s Picture Book, Graphic Novel & Memoir
The top winner in each category will win $1,000, one grand prize winner will win $5,000, and all will receive additional benefits to help market their books. Any year of publication is eligible. Entry fee: $65 per book. Deadline: June 30. Winning Writers is one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” (Writer’s Digest).
– Lisa also sent in a note about upcoming webinars offered by the American Writers Museum:
– Catharine Arnold – Pandemic: 1918 – May 26 11:00 a.m. Central
– Dr. Manisha Sinha on the Enduring Legacy of Frederick Douglass – May 28 6:30 p.m. Central
– C Pam Zhang – How Much of These Hills Is Gold – June 4 – 6:30 p.m. Central
Details for these events and more are at https://americanwritersmuseum.org/calendar/
– She also received an e-mail from the Writer magazine about the Summer Festival of Writing from JerichoWriters. She wrote “It is about $185, but I figure that if I am stuck at home all summer, it is less expensive that all the concerts I’d be going to.” Details at https://jerichowriters.com/festival-of-writing/
The conversation then drifted into television shows, since most of us don’t have the attention span these days to read anything substantial:
– Lisa mentioned that she’s really enjoying “Nebula-75”, the new series from Century 21 Films Ltd., the studio behind the Supermarionation series such as “Thunderbirds” and “Captain Scarlet”. You can read all about how the show was produced by only a few people cooped up in their apartment, and also watch some episodes, at https://www.filmedinsupermarionation.com/nebula-75
– Matt B mentioned that The Movies! Channel shows lots of good old movies, something like TCM but with commercials. They have a regular Noir Thursday feature, as well as showing Hopalong Cassidy films on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They are channel 363 on Comcast and channel 32.2 over the air – https://moviestvnetwork.com/
– Aaron has been watching “Lassie” reruns on YouTube, and recommends watching the series in order from the beginning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXquPCNsPzM
– Salvador offered this YouTube video, a Jupiter 2 liftoff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4rDZhsgn9Q
– Michelle recommended looking up videos of Coconut Leo, in order to see what she was describing in her story this month. Here’s an example – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa6xbk0-1_c
– I then floated the idea of trying to help out the Tamale Hut in a more tangible way. We’ve been supported by Jaime all these years, and I thought we could do something to give back just a little. Since it’s taken me so long to write up this recap, we’ve actually run a little fund raiser and many generous people in the group kicked in $445 to help out the Tamale Hut with a catering order, and to provide lunch for the Emergency Room staff at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. Details of the fund raiser are on our web site at https://thcwritersgroup.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/tamale-hut-cafe-writers-group-pitches-in/, and the results are here: https://thcwritersgroup.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/tamale-hut-cafe-writers-group-helps-out/
There will hopefully be more pictures coming, but in the meantime, Jaime sent a note thanking the group on his behalf and the THC.
– Last month, we decided that our next Group Project would be for everyone to write a story based on a photograph. We’re still scheduled to be the feature at the September Reading Series night, if that even happens, but even if we’re doing it just for ourselves, it should be fun. After much deliberation, Stephie picked the photo. I showed it to the group on the call, and you can see it here:
Now let’s get writing!
We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list, such as it is in this time of short attention spans:
– Brian spoke highly of Normal People by Sally Rooney, which has been made into a TV series
– Lisa is still working on Nine Shiny Objects by Brian Castleberry and is impressed with the writing, considering it’s his first published book. She’s also watching lots of B horror movies
– Sean is dividing his time between Matthew and Empire by Warren Carter, Trouble is my Business by Raymond Chandler, and Night Squad by David Goodis
– Matt H says he’s not up for reading, so he downloaded the audio book of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick from LibriVox and is remembering why he always liked that book.
– Michelle is not reading much, but has been doing a lot of jigsaw puzzles to relax
– Jennifer again highly recommended Shatterday by Harlan Ellison. It’s a collection of short stories, and while she said that they were not all her cup of tea, the first and the last stories in the book blew her away
– Kathy liked Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, and also read Home by Harlan Coben, Enchantress by Maggie Anton, Escaping Into the Open by Elizabeth Berg. She’s also been writing some Covid-inspired haiku
– Aaron is enjoying Dragons Can Only Rust by Chris Cymri, the first book int he “Gonard’s Journey” series
– Salvador had nothing to report
– Matt B liked The Great Express Robbery and The House of Mystery, both by Grace Miller White, Rescued in the Clouds by Franklin W. Dixon, and The Man from AVON by Michael Avallone
The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual general writing discussions and critiques. It’s funny, but when I sat down to go over my notes to write up this recap, I remembered one of the attendees showing something to group, and I thought that it was funny that they brought the item to the meeting, only to catch myself when I realized that they had the item at their own home, and we were all seeing everyone in little windows on a computer screen. Several times while writing this, I would have sworn that we had met in person. Maybe it’s a function of me writing this so late, or maybe I’m getting used to seeing friends and family on a TV screen instead of in person. I honestly hope it’s the former.
Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month. Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– The Tamale Hut Café Reading Series has been put on hold until the stay-at-home order has been lifted and life resumes some normalcy. Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for announcements of upcoming events.
– around May 31, I will send a reminder to everyone to submit a piece for critique during our next meeting.
– as I get pieces, I will send them out as quickly as I can
– our next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, June 13 at 2PM on-line via WebEx.
Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you on-line for the next Writers Group meeting call, and in-person at the next Reading Series event, whenever that may be.
Stay indoors, stay healthy, stay sane, and keep writing!