Writers’ Round Table and The Pulitzer Prize

The writer’s group to which I belong sponsors a variety of activities. I usually participate in meetings when a guest author or editor has been invited to speak. I tend to avoid sit-around-the-table discussions. What I have learned about this kind of activity is that most listen and a few dominate the conversation.

Even with having prior knowledge concerning discussion groups, I decided to attend a group that was meeting at a locally owned bookstore/restaurant. I knew that even if a few dominated the conversation, I could still be a participant as an eater.

This meeting had no topic or agenda. The facilitator simply asked, “What do you want to talk about?” Then she went around the table beginning with the person sitting to her right and asked each of us to answer the same question.

As you might suspect, there were many topics introduced. Some folks were frustrated with literary agents and editors; some held up copies of recently published books and provided us with a story synopsis; some publicized their book cover design and editing services; and several complained about how our organization is administered.

In short order, the evening became a bit of a drag. A few people went to the restaurant to purchase drinks that were somewhat stronger than coffee. I assume they were attempting to make the self-promotion and complaining more bearable. But about three-fourths of the way around the very large table, one lady got our undivided attention. She began by stating that her most cherished dream was to write a novel. But she had a problem. She had never had anything exciting happen in her life, so she didn’t have anything about which to write.

Questioning by the facilitator revealed that she thought a novel had to be something that had happened to the author. With patience, someone explained that a chronicle of happenings from one’s own life is a memoir and that fiction is an imaginary tale. Her response was, “You mean all of those stories I’ve read were made up? Do people just get those things out of their heads? I couldn’t do that. I can’t write lies.”

As the lady looked around the table, I was sure she was saying to herself, “Liars, liars, liars!”

But the evening was not a total waste. I learned that anyone can nominate a novel for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. One in the group shared that he had nominated his own novel. There is a fee, but he apparently thought being able to say his book was nominated meant money well spent. Since no work of fiction won the prize for 2012, I have to think that maybe the judges were unable to make a decision because they were so overwhelmed by the many self-nominated works.

When I was young and would make the mistake of bragging about something I had done, my dad would say, “Blessed is he who tooteth his own horn, for if he tooteth not his horn, his horn shall not be tooted.”

Though tempting, maybe I won’t nominate my own novel for the Pulitzer Prize.


God’s Billboards

Recently, I’ve seen several billboards that were, ostensibly, signed by God. One such billboard read, “Don’t make me come down there. – God”*

Given that I’m reasonably certain God didn’t place these billboards along roadsides, I've thought them to be somewhat irreverent. But just this past week I decided they might actually convey needed messages. This happened during church.

We were singing a song, aka “praise chorus,” during worship service when the words that came up on the screen caused me to stop singing and think about meaning. The song started out: “Oh, the glory of Your presence…” I took for granted that we were singing to God since we were in church and “your” was capitalized. I sang along, trying to find the tune, until “Come and rise from your rest and be blessed by our praise…” ** appeared on the screen.

So, assuming that “Your” (with the capital Y) was referring to God, we were telling Him to get up and be blessed by us. Not even a polite “Please?” This is where the need for a new billboard from God came to mind. Surely God must have a message for people who make this kind of demand!

I know what I think should be on the billboard, but was wondering what message my readers might suggest. (Or maybe I just need to enroll in a good theology course and discover how this song relates to scripture!)


Picture - Washington Times

*This project was anonymously funded. An advertising firm in Florida, the Smith Agency, is responsible for the campaign’s design.

**Words by Ron Kenoly



Often I receive email messages written by people who seem to be in panic mode. These messages encourage me to do a variety of things lest I contribute to the destruction of my lifestyle, the economy, the environment, or everyone’s freedom. I’m admonished to take an action, include something in my routine, eliminate something from my lifestyle, and, always, to sound the alarm for others. Each caution seems to imply that I either can’t or don’t read and, thus, keep up with what is going on in the world. Or maybe it’s just that many people love me bunches and want to be sure that during my very busy life I haven’t overlooked some important information. I’ll go with the latter since I like that option better.

Recently I received a warning about purchasing clothing at Walmart. The person sounding this alarm is certain that people who buy affordable products found on the shelves of Walmart stores are pretty much responsible for the destruction of our economy. After all, many of those products are made in other countries.

Having been duly cautioned, I went to my wardrobe to read the labels on various fashions there. I wanted to affirm what I already believed, that by purchasing my clothing at department stores and boutiques, I was helping to save the economy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Walmart is not single-handedly eliminating American jobs. Partial results include:
  • Jones of New York®; TAHARI by Arthur Levine®; Peter Nygard®; Preston & York®; Pendleton®  – made in China
  • Coldwater Creek® – made in China/Guatemala/USA
  • Talbots® – made in Korea
  • West Bay® – made in Mexico

So what to do? Make my own clothes with imported fabric? Go with made in the USA items my internet search turned up: sleepwear, beachwear, denim attire?

I probably will not be wearing such casual items when I go out to dinner or to church, but I do have new respect for the high school girls I see at the shopping mall who are clad in pajama bottoms and tees. They are our future; the ones who will rescue our economy.

Now off to Walmart to find something affordable to wear!


Beautiful Weekend/Beautiful “Greats”

Yesterday we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, at our church. It was a beautiful and moving service.

We also now have the newest pictures of our great-grandchildren – numbering four. How incredible is technology?

My dad always called his great-grandchildren his “Greats” – in my opinion, a very fitting designation. Our Greats are an extraordinary gift to us! How thankful I am to be privileged to live to old age, no, what I really mean is “to the mature years” and to have the privilege of holding my beautiful great-grandchildren in my arms.

Over the years I have prayed for my children and grandchildren, and now my great-grandchildren that they will come to know and love my Risen Savior. That is my utmost desire.

So now a little great-grandma bragging! From youngest to oldest:

Newest Great, Sophia Alexandra Fuller (four months), is dwarfed by the big Easter Bunny
Great, Sawyer Brent Walker - Mr. Happy Guy (six months), is the only boy.
Great, Emma Ruth Powers (one year), at church in her Easter outfit.
Great, Olivia Jean Walker (three and a half), ready to attend Easter service.


What To Do On Monday (WTDOM)

Daughter’s (Coleen) flight arrives at Denver International Airport at 8:15 this morning. So, since we will already be in the city, it seemed a great idea to stay for the day. Denver has lots of attractions, but Denver has a problem with Mondays.

Coleen suggested visiting the Molly Brown House Museum. Molly was a colorful figure in history, so that sounded like a great idea! Problem: Closed Monday.

I thought we might eat at the White Fence Farm. Problem: Closed Monday.

A visit to Red Rock Amphitheatre would work well into our schedule. Problem: Mountain snows in the forecast.

Maybe the Governor’s mansion? Problem: Tours just in the summer.

Okay, so Denver has a great Art Museum. You’ve got it! Closed Monday.

Clyfford Still Museum? Since you may not know, I’ll tell you. He was an artist. “Abstract Expressionism” is the term most often used to describe his works. Even after his death, he is still an “in” guy. The museum is closed on Monday.

But we outsmarted those who are attempting to wipe Monday off the calendar in Denver. At the Denver Botanic Gardens, we will admire the beauty and have lunch in one of the nice restaurants there. Then we will head out to explore the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall. (No doubt they could not figure out how to close an outdoor mall – even on Monday). Following the mall adventure, we will stroll around Denver’s Historic district. Finally, we will end our day at Casa Bonita to be entertained and eat Mexican food.

Hello, Denver! In spite of the fact that you are not Monday friendly, we WILL have a good time.

Coleen at the top of Pikes Peak, July 2011.