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Writers Groups

Philadelphia has a writers group, and I've tried to make a go of it for the past couple years but I dropped out today. I went to a few meetings but didn't get much out of it. The group is too large for productive critiques, and it was difficult to connect with people.

Interesting article I found today on writers groups: http://hollylisle.com/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-or-how-to-choose-a-writers-group/.

This entry was originally posted at http://ladychapel.dreamwidth.org/29266.html. I have invite codes if you need one.

Holiday Cards

I just finished delivering my holiday cards. Well, most of them. I've received very few this year. I think most people send holiday greetings online now and since I'm a techie, I wholeheartedly support that. I have to admit, though, that I miss receiving cards. They make very pretty decorations, and I like hanging them on my fridge with magnets.

I'll be off to my parents for the traditional seafood dinner later and then Midnight Mass. Dad doing ok. He actually walked a few blocks to the doctor's office last week for an appointment using his walker of course.

Enjoy your Christmas, folks, and the rest of the holidays!

This entry was originally posted at http://ladychapel.dreamwidth.org/29158.html. I have invite codes if you need one.

Dad's back home

Well, my dad came back home last week after spending close to three months in the hospital and then in a short term care/rehab facility. He didn't do terribly well with his physical therapy so he is still weak. I think he is happy to be home, though. The rehab place was depressing him.

The job is going well. I'm learning a lot, and I'm very pleased with the company.
Originally posted by kmessner at Created in the Path of Irene…An Invitation

Hey, writers & illustrators!


Yes…I mean you…whether you are ten years old or thirty-seven or eighty. Whether you are published and award-winning and best-selling or whether you just like writing poems or drawing sketches in your notebook sometimes…


Many of us are about to have a shared experience, in the form of a big storm that’s barreling up the East Coast.



First of all,  stay safe. FEMA has a page with lots of tips and safety information.


Second…would you like to be part of a collaborative writing experience? This storm is poised to affect millions of us, all up and down the East Coast.  So here’s the invitation part…


Write or draw something as the storm passes through.  Maybe by flashlight or candlelight while the power is out…maybe in between trips downstairs to bail out the basement. And then, let’s gather all that writing and art together to see what people created  as Hurricane Irene passed through.


A little background… I’m a bit of a weather geek. I’m married to a meteorologist, so it’s not uncommon for cold fronts and funnel clouds to be dinner conversation at our house.  And I wrote a book about storms;



So I’ll be writing this weekend.  On my laptop, as long as the battery lasts, and then if the power goes out, I’ll be scribbling in my notebook.


Want to join me?  Here’s what I’m thinking…



  1. Create something – a poem, a description, a short story, a dialogue, a song, a comic, a sculpture, a drawing, a scarf, a piece of jewelry, a quick scene for a movie, a dance,  a collage…whatever you want. Create it while you’re waiting for the storm or in the middle of the storm, or after the storm has passed.  (If you’re not in the path of Irene, that’s okay…you can write about what you see on the news or hear from relatives & friends.)

  2. Please keep your creations appropriate for audiences of all ages. (Obviously, you’re free to create whatever you want – but I want to make sure the posts that I share here are appropriate for teachers K-12 to share in classrooms. Thanks!)

  3. Share what you created  on your blog or your Facebook page or Google+ or wherever you share things online.  If it’s art, you can share a photo. If you’re a kid, you can ask your teacher or librarian or a parent to share it for you. If you don’t have a blog or another place online to share writing, just come back here and paste what you wrote into a comment, and I’ll share it for you.

  4. Include your city & state, plus the date and time you created the work.

  5. Come back to this post and leave a comment with a link to what you shared. Also, let me know who you are (i.e. author of XYZ series, 5th grader in Quincy, Massachusetts, Librarian in the Outer Banks) Names are optional.

  6. Next week, after the storm has passed, I’ll create a big post with links to all of our work that was “Created in the Path of Irene.”  It’ll be kind of like a Hurricane Irene Online Museum.


Author/illustrator friends…when you post your storm writing & art, you may want to include a quick bio and information about your books; some folks who come to see your storm creations may not be familiar with your other work.


And everyone… please feel free to share this invitation far and wide – and teachers, I’d love it if you’d extend the invitation to your students, too!  It would be great to see what younger writers come up with, and I think it would be really cool for kids to see their hurricane reflections shared alongside those of published authors.




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East Coast Earthquake

Is it wrong that I thought it was generally exciting and rather fun? It felt weird, though. It wasn't a strong tremor in terms of being stronger than a heavy vehicle passing or anything but weird that the vibration was coming from underneath and all around as opposed to coming from one direction.

This entry was originally posted at http://ladychapel.dreamwidth.org/27667.html. I have invite codes if you need one.

FILM: Oliver Stone's Nixon

Geez, what a dour movie but it's a dour subject. This was made before Oliver Stone toned down some of his conspiracy-mindedness so it's full of innuendo and speculation, especially regarding Nixon's possible ties to the JFK assassination. It all feels muddled.

I like his biopic of Bush better, but I like that Stone tried to portray Nixon as a complex human being. I even felt moments of sympathy for him, particularly in his obvious difficulty connecting with people. One scene that stuck in my mind was the depiction of Nixon's visit to the Lincoln Memorial. You could see him longing for the adulation that Lincoln receives but uncomprehending about how to attain it.

This entry was originally posted at http://ladychapel.dreamwidth.org/27275.html. I have invite codes if you need one.

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I conquered the white whale

I finally finished reading Moby Dick (after putting it aside several times.) Thanks to all who put up with my commentary on each chapter when I first started reading it. I discontinued posting about it here and switched over to making handwritten notes in each chapter as I finished it. Doing that helped me stay engaged with the book. I've heard that's a good approach to tackling any challenging novel. I might try that when I make another attempt at Ulysses.

TV Tropes summaries Melville's work this way:

"Described by many as the greatest American novel, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, by Herman Melville, is either a story about the hunt of a wicked whale by a madman that shows Melville's work, or an encyclopedia on whaling and cetology with a Framing Device. You choose."

That's a valid observation. The seemingly endless chapters on whale biology are where I get bogged down in the book and not because I'm not interested in the topic. I'm fascinated by whales and actually took a class in marine biology in college.

It is also a strongly masculine book. There are no female characters of any consequence. That can sometimes make it a little difficult for me to get into a book.

Overall, though, I am pleased to have read it. The parts that focus on Ahab and his obsession and Melville's existential musings make it unforgettable.

This entry was originally posted at http://ladychapel.dreamwidth.org/26918.html. I have invite codes if you need one.

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I'm crossposting from Dreamwidth again.

I'm also looking for another technical writing assignment again. I completed the one I posted about earlier this year. It ran for eight weeks. It was at a tech start-up and it reminded me of how screwy and ridiculous tech start-ups were. I worked at two of them, and they were just as goofy. At this latest one, I also had the dubious pleasure of working with one of the biggest jerkasses I have ever met in my life.

He was a "senior VP" at the company. That's far less impressive than it sounds. Since this was a start-up, they had a grand total of about 30 people working there, and the group he was VP of had about 10 people, all of whom had very little work experience. This didn't stop his inflated title from inflating his ego.

Anyway, I completed the project and got paid so I'm on the hunt for my next assignment.

This entry was originally posted at http://ladychapel.dreamwidth.org/26747.html. I have invite codes if you need one.

S.E. Hinton

One of the few things I like about summer is that it's traditionally re-run time, time to revisit old shows and old books. I never plan to do so but when hot steamy weather rolls in, I always find myself drawn to a past TV series or books that I haven't thought of in years. Last summer, it was the Brady Bunch, of all things, which was hilarious. I re-watched it YouTube. Oh, the campiness.

This year, I'm finding myself drawn to the Outsiders and its sequels by S.E. Hinton. I'm rewatching the film as well courtesy of NetFlix, which was re-released a few years ago on DVD with scenes that had been previously (and inexplicably) left on the cutting room floor. This version is much better than the original and does the book better justice. I decided it was worthwhile to add to my permanent DVD collection so I just ordered it on Amazon.

I also re-read The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, and That was Then, This is Now. I have to say that for Young Adult books, these are quite good. Hinton is an excellent writer.

New Writing for the Spring

I have some new writing projects coming up. My editor asked me to write a series of articles on social CRM. I'm pleased. That's one of my favorite topics.

At the end of April, I also will be starting a two-month technical writing assignment at a company in University City. It's an open-ended project, meaning it could possibly go longer than two months. We shall see.