We had our seventy-sixth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, January 12. Thanks to Kathy, Sean, Vickie, Brian, John, Matt H, Marianne, Salvador, and Lisa for joining me for a snowy afternoon of conversation and critique. Thanks, too, to Jaime for pledging another year of support for our Saturday afternoon get-togethers.
As usual, we started with a few agenda items:
– The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention (http://windycitypulpandpaper.com/home/) will be on April 12-14 this year, which happens to be the second Saturday of April. I asked if the group wanted to have the meeting without me or if we should reschedule, and reschedule got the unanimous vote. The April meeting will be on April 6.
– Those Were The Days (http://www.nostalgiadigest.com/those%20were%20the%20days.htm) on Jan 12 ran the radio version of Casablanca from 1943, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid recreating the characters they played in the film. On the 19th TWTD will play the 1944 radio version, starring Alan Ladd, Hedy Lamarr and John Loder. You usually can stream the last two episodes od the program from the site, so the 1943 version will be available for approximately another week as of this writing, and the show containing the 1944 version should be posted by Tuesday and remain up for two weeks.
– Kathy mentioned that she found the results of the Reader’s Flash Fiction contest in the Dec 27 issue of the weekly newspaper. All the entries from the paper, and five Internet-only stories, can be found at https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ArticleArchives?category=62219548 (and we should keep an eye out for the contest next year, which looks to have been announced in November.)
– I received e-mail from five people interested in joining our group. I think the snow kept some away this month, but we did get a visit from Jennifer from a new Writers Group at the North Riverside Library (http://www.northriversidelibrary.org/events/writers-group/). She said that they were looking to move their monthly meetings away from the second Saturday, which would avoid conflicts with our group and allow writers to attend both if they wish. She said she would let me know their new schedule and I’ll share with the group when she does.
– Salvador send in the following: Some may remember a children’s story that I wrote some years back and submitted to the group, which I titled The Boy Who Would be King. Some thought that the title was rather odd and long. Guess what all! A movie is coming out soon with a very similar title. Here is the trailer: https://youtu.be/Cg-h8TwQCgs
We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Kathy read Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich, and The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
– Sean picked up a copy of On Writing by George V. Higgins, and likes how the author uses actual examples from published novels when making his points. He’s also picked up complete works anthologies by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Oscar Wilde, and is reading Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard. He also purchased and e-book collection of Nick Fury comics with art by Jim Steranko.
– Vickie is reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. She also read Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance and Knit Two by Kate Jacobs, the sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club
– Brian is in the middle of Conundrum by Jan Morris, an author whom he’s spoken highly of at past meetings.
– John really enjoyed The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson
– Matt H read The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien, but didn’t really like it. He did like The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty, a writer he likes a whole lot better than Tolkien
– Marianne hasn’t been reading for pleasure, but she’s been reading a lot for research for a project she’s working on.
– Salvador was finally able to finish The House of Broken Angels by Luís Alberto Urrea. He said that despite the section in the middle where the story wandered off on a tangent he thought distracted from the rest of the book, overall he liked it.
– Matt B liked The Worried Man by Lisa M. Lilly, one of the books offerred during the Chicago Authors event last month. He’s now reading Roscoes in the Night by Robert Leslie Bellem, a fun collection of Dan Turner stores from the Spicy pulps. He also recommended Impossible Dreams, a short story available on the Escape Pod podcast – http://escapepod.org/2018/10/25/escape-pod-651-impossible-dreams-flashback-friday/
Internet Notes for this month –
– A new weekly series begins this month at the Black Gate web site, where regular contributors at the site will be reviewing each of the 21 Conan stories written by Robert E. Howard. I don’t know if there will be a link that points to the entire series, but here’s the first: https://www.blackgate.com/2019/01/14/hither-came-conan-bobby-derie-the-phoenix-on-the-sword/
The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual varied discussions about general writing topics. One topic that was discussed at length was an article that Molly had sent in (http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2016/06/20/how-to-write-protagonists-of-colour-when-youre-white/) about “writing voices outside our own.” We talked about our own attempts to write characters of color or of different ethnicities than our own, and how easy it was to inadvertently slip into stereotypes. The gist of the article, to me anyway, was that you must have a good reason if you want to write a protagonist not like you, and if you do, you need to do your research, and reach out to people in the demographic you are referencing, to make sure that you do the group justice. But as one member put it, “if I only write characters like me, my story will be full of middle-aged white guys, and who wants to read that?”
We also had a discussion of the use of the word “bohemian” in reference to Salvador’s piece. He has since sent in a little more detail about the original Bohemian Toast:
“It is effectively classified as a poem. The original author was Guillermo Aguirre y Fierro, born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in 1887. Only three names are presented: Raul, Juan and Arturo. The other bohemians in the group are nameless.
Bohemian in this context, is used to describe the lifestyle, not ethnicity or nationality. WIki defines it as such: Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may or may not be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds
Here is a video that recites the original poem in Spanish, with text captions. I recognized the cover of the LP; it is the same one that my mother had: https://youtu.be/uXIyA02sPQs ”
Thanks for the follow-up, Salvador.
Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month. Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– around January 27, I will to send a reminder to you 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, February 9 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café.
– The next Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event will be Saturday, February 23 at 7PM. Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you at the next Reading Series event or at the next Writers Group meeting.