A new vinyl banner hung at the entrance to the Parker Ranch Shopping Center all day on Wednesday October 3, proudly announcing to the cars entering the shopping center and those just passing by on the street that our Writers' Voices were going to be raised in story and poetry that very night at the Thelma Parker Library just next door. The banner is a new addition to our promotional efforts and will be used on the day of every Writers' Voices reading as a final reminder that today is the day to come listen.
Ironically, the topics generating the lively discussions centered on illness and death. This was not a themed reading, it was coincidental; but the honesty and bravery of the readers struck a chord with the audience that made communication flow. You can't listen to prose poems with one ear; they demand your full attention, but when you give them that attention, the experience can leave you transformed. Dave is that kind of author.
Here are some excerpts from "A Second Chance with the Dead" to prove the point: "At dusk, memories of people I loved who died rise up more solid and intense than any other time of day or night. My wife, my mother, my father, my brother, even aunts and old friends make themselves known I imagine there existing somewhere out there a peaceful, quiet place that is lined with long rows of doors. And behind those doors you would find someone dear you loved that died, who you thought you'd never see again Diane Revell is a retired software engineer who started writing in earnest after moving to Hawaii from Washington four years ago.
When she arrived wearing sunglasses, I wondered whether she was shielding herself from the intimate exposure demanded by the personal nature of her topic--her participation in an Alzheimer's disease medical study.
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I was wrong; the sunglasses were merely hiding the fading remnants of a black eye caused by distraction due to a pet, her missing a step and a hard landing on concrete. It was the first time Diane had read her writing on this particular topic publicly, but she was open and candid and the audience responded to her willingness to discuss her feelings about the possibility that she might, some day, exhibit clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease as both her parents had before they died.
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Diane read both a poem and an essay about this topic, as well as some other short poems. The essay, entitled "Generation Study My Story" described the experience of her parents, the screening she underwent to determine whether she was eligible to participate in the study to test the effectiveness of a new drug to prevent the development of clinical symptoms of the disease, and the reasons she chose to participate once she was deemed eligible.
Her poem, "Now " was meant as an introduction to the essay, but it revealed her unflinching resolve to face the implications of what a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease might mean for her future. Here is "Now Jim Gibbons is a former newspaper columnist who lived in Northern California for 40 years before moving to Waimea 10 years ago. Jim read an essay from his memoir Flashbacks about his unexpected final encounter with an old teammate from his track team: "Brian Murphy Takes a Hike Dec.
A park ranger had tried to discourage him from going, but the man left anyway and two hours later it snowed.
When the park closed, the man's car was still in the parking lot. A search was organized the next day. Jim had known a Brian Murphy years before. They had been teammates on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee track team and Brian Murphy had often beaten Jim in certain events.
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But Jim wasn't sure it was the same man, until he saw a picture of him with his grandchild on television. Jim tried to follow the news as the search continued, and he did a lot of reminiscing about Murphy, about how cocky and self-confident he had always been, about how Jim would listen to him because--"well, because he didn't really want to listen to me. But there was another man in the group that day who started retelling the story of the tourist who left to hike up the mountain and got lost in a blizzard.
Jim couldn't resist telling them he had known the man, but they either didn't believe him, or they thought Jim was just some "big-mouth bull shitter. Six years later, Brian Murphy's remains were recovered at the 12,foot level about a mile off the trail, suggesting he had gotten lost in the snow storm. He was wearing a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sweatshirt. The North Kohala Library Community Room gradually filled with its usual enthusiastic crowd on September 17 in anticipation of a bountiful Fall harvest of new offerings of original writing by members of the Hawaii Writers Guild.
One at a time, as if showcasing rich and tasty dishes at a banquet, emcee Eila Algood introduced six Guild members from North and South Kohala who offered the fruits of their writing labors to the obviously hungry audience. The first reader called to the podium was Carla Orellana, who has entertained past audiences with tales of her experiences with her boa constrictor partner, Suleman Aziz, when she was a snake dancer. Her piece on September 17 predated her acquaintance with Suleman, however, and took her audience all the way back to the beginning of her belly dancing career with a short essay called "The Dance-OH!
Back in those days the s belly dancers were often confused with strippers, however, and when Carla entered the small living room where she was to dance for the bachelor and his male guests, she sensed the potential for chaos when they began shouting enthusiastically: "Take it Off.
Carla swept around the room and her swirling skirts forced the men to back up against the walls. When a couple of particularly inebriated guests dared to approach her, she dispatched one by the clang of her finger cymbals in close proximity to his ears. When the second approached, she threw her veil over him and herself and, with one hand, "grabbed his nose with those little, metal finger cymbals, pinched hard and gave it a good, strong twist. No one else but he knew what dangers hide behind the veil," but from then on, the men seemed to settle down to watch a young woman perform a sacred feminine dance of ancient beauty, and Carla, noting the transformation in their demeanor, realized she had a more important calling for her dances than she had known--teaching the art of appreciation and respect.
Greer Woodward has written in many genres, but one of her favorites is fantasy. Her offering on this particular evening was closer to horror, however, and writers in the audience could easily discern the frustration born of thwarted attempts to birth a story.
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In "About Your Recent Stories," a tightly-controlled fantasy writer finds his control over his plots and his life slipping away when his main character, a creature who appears in many guises in his stories, infuses him with the desire for revenge after the writer's long-time girlfriend leaves him. The creature, frustrated that the author's stories never let him have free rein to kill and destroy, goads the author as it becomes clear that the girlfriend has been cheating on him.
It complains about the author's plots, where death and destruction are threatened but always interrupted before the end of the story. You hurt me so you could be loved. After she leaves him, the author, under thrall of the creature and his own rage, writes a new story in which the creature, in the guise of a yeti, finally has free rein to kill and destroy; the landscape of the story runs red with blood.
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Now it is time to consider how you might be convenient for me. She read from her new book, The Zone, a historical novel based on actual facts that took place in Nanking, now Nanjing, during the period known as the "Rape of Nanking. Jim Gibbons moved to Waimea 10 years ago after spending the previous 40 years in Northern California where he held a variety of interesting jobs and wrote a weekly column called Footnotes, about running, for The Willits News. The story takes place in February when Jim returns from a vacation in Mexico and needs to find both a new place to live and a source of income.
One friend gave him a guest cottage to stay in and another gave him some extra marijuana starts. He harvested 12 pounds. He earned more money from those plants than he did for his whole final year of teaching in the public school system.
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The friend who gave Jim the starts summed it up: "Growing pot is part-time work for full-time pay. Virginia Fortner, a prolific writer from North Kohala, accompanied by Mike Eaton see picture at left appeared together. The two of them collaborated on a memoir of Eaton's life called A Design of his Own.
Eaton, a sunny-tempered lad who grew up in sunny Southern California during the golden age of surfing in the s, earned a lasting reputation for the unique design of his surfboards, which came to be known as Modern Longboards. During the longboard-to-short era, some designers started making boards as short as 5 feet, six inches, but their performance wasn't smooth and older surfers not in the best of shape found it difficult to control them.
Mike kept his boards around six feet long. Eaton sought out Virginia's help for his memoir after a stroke left him unable to write. But he could still talk, and he soon won her over to his cause. She's published several children's books, some poems, an album of original children's music and several one-act plays.
She is also the organizer of an annual Ten-Minute Play Festival in North Kohala, and she believes ten-minute plays are easy and fun to write. To prove the point, Jan read one of her own ten-minute plays, entitled "The Favor," a fantasy about two Irish men who are old friends talking story in their favorite pub. One thing became clear immediately: Jan does a great Irish brogue!
Jan is currently organizing another Ten-Minute Play Festival, and is looking for both plays and actors. If you are interested in participating, just email her at asch. She asks that your play be about 2, words, not part of a longer play, but a one-act play that stands alone and runs about ten minutes long. If you were unable to attend this program on September 17 and wish you could have heard it, you are in luck. Thank you to Jada Tan Rufo for taking pictures for this article. Contact Joy at jfisher yahoo.
Exciting news just keeps on coming! What a great way to make our existence known to writers from all over the United States!