We had our one hundred and twenty-fifth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, March 11. Thanks to Ida, Cary, Matt H, George, Marc, Salvador, Brian, and new member Paul S for joining me at the Tamale Hut to discuss writing and reading and stuff. Thanks also Jaime and Alex for the comfortable surroundings and the fine food.
As always, we started with some items of note:
– Salvador sent in a note asking, “Is anyone watching The Mandalorian? I saw the first episode and a scene near a body of water reminded me of a story by Matt Holmes that takes place on the beach.” His follow-up e-mail expanded on this: “OK, so more than a whale, it looks like a crocodile, but the basic idea remains. Here is a short video of that scene. The relevant part is towards the end. https://youtu.be/0qBhe0M4G0Y”
– As most of you know, I have a long commute on the days that I need to go into the office, and I listen to podcasts to try to save my sanity. I heard the most amazing old-time radio serial this week. It was on Radio Retropolis and it was 16 chapters from the 1946 season of the Adventures of Superman: The Clan of the Fiery Cross. Yes, THAT Clan. It’s available in lots of places (and DC made a comic book version of the story a few years ago) but I liked the context that the Radio Retropolis host added: https://radioretropolis.libsyn.com/the-superman-radio-podcast-541-the-clan-of-the-fiery-cross-pt-1
– Jaime writes: “Please inform the group the next THC reading will be Saturday March 18th . It will be an all open-mic night”
– In our ongoing conversation about Substack, I found one that I might actually subscribe to.. Brian Michael Bendis has been a professional comic book writer for 30 years and has worked on many well-known characters, including the Ultimate Marvel universe. He apparently was involved in the failed Broadway show Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and is going to be writing about it in graphic novel form on his Substack. https://brianmichaelbendis.substack.com/
– Friday, March 17 on the Movies! Channel (check your local cable listings) is a ‘70s sci-fi double feature. At 7pm is Soylent Green and directly after at 9:05, they’re showing Logan’s Run. Both are movies I first saw at the Brighton Theater! Also this month, Movies! is also showing Harper and The Drowning Pool, two Paul Newman movies based on Ross Macdonald’s hard-boiled detective Lew Archer.
– WTTWPrime is showing a series called Museum Access, in which the viewer is taken on tours of museums, and the one they showed a couple of weeks ago featured the American Writers Museum here in downtown Chicago. I don’t see it listed anytime soon on the channel, but it might be available if you have the PBS streaming package.
– Cary mentioned that he was continuing to work on his film blog and invited everyone to check it out at https://carypohlhammer.wordpress.com/ He’s also been giving Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/) a try by signing up for the Premium plan. He said he would report back after he’s had a chance to see how well it works.
– Marc said that he’s been looking into ChatGPT (https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt) after seeing it all over the news lately. He said he wasn’t too impressed by the answers he got but recognized that it is still early days for the tool.
– Salvador mentioned that in a recent on-line chat about some local schools not having air conditioning, one commenter used the term “wet nursing” as shorthand for being overindulgent with the children and then faced a backlash about the term. Salvador was not familiar with the term, at least not to find it offensive, so he did some research and was surprised that what he thought was an innocuous term was actually deeply offensive to many groups of people. He offered this as a cautionary tale in word choice.
– The Berwyn Library Writers Group will next meet over zoom on March 26. Details at https://berwynlibrary.libcal.com/event/10295312?hs=a
– The next No-Shush Salon will be on Thursday, Mar. 30 at 7pm, in-person at the Glen Ellyn Public Library. Guest performer will be Michael Allen Rose – https://gepl.librarycalendar.com/event/no-shush-salon-open-mic-guest-performers-5
We then discussed everyone’s current reading list:
– Ida is still reading works by Peter Granger, but is also delving into the works of essayist Clive James
– Paul is reading Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant, after he read a recommendation by Ta-Nehisi Coates. He’s also enjoying Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey and Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry
– Cary’s perusing his collection of Chicken Soup for the Soul books and is just starting The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
– Matt H read Turn Off Your Mind by Gary Lachman and is now enjoying Based on a True Story by Norm Macdonald
– George was not impressed by A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson but highly recommended Chicago’s Great Fire by Carl S. Smith, which he said was the best comprehensive book about the fire that he’s seen.
– Marc finished There There by Tommy Orange
– Brian spoke highly of Changi Photographer by George Aspinall and Tim Bowden
– Matt B mostly enjoyed Regards, Ditko by Jaison Chahwala, which he got as a Kickstarter book, but he doesn’t think that he would have enjoyed a mail correspondence with Steve Ditko as this author did.
The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual writing discussions and critiques. It was not surprising that word choice was one of the topics of conversation that came up during the meeting, being that we’re writers and all, but I wanted to mention one such exchange. Someone made a comment about a character in a book having a stutter, and another member asked if it was a stutter or a stammer. I think it’s fair to say that almost all of us thought that the two were the same, but the member stated that there was a difference, that one was a repetition of letters and the other was the blocking of sounds. Unfortunately, no one pulled out their phones and looked on the Internet for the agreed-upon difference. I just did that today, and what I found on several web sites was this:
“There are only 2 ways in which stutter and stammer are different:
– One is used predominantly by American English speakers, while the other is predominantly used by British English speakers.
– One has two extra T’s and a U, while the other has two M’s and an A”
Apparently this is the only difference between stutter and stammer. Something that I’ll probably not forget anytime soon.
Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month. Here’s the schedule for the next few weeks:
– The next Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event will be on March 18 and will be an all Open-Mic evening.
– around March 26, I will send a reminder to everyone to submit some of their work for critique during our next meeting.
– as I get the pieces, I will send them out as quickly as I can
– our next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, April 8 at 2pm, at the Tamale Hut Café
Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you at an upcoming Writers Group meeting or at the next Reading Series night.