Last night was my first meeting of the summer at UNAC in Lakewood, Wisconsin. The group was small, seven adults plus one very well behaved seven- or eight-year-old. This child said not one word, but observed everything through her glasses. I think they were pink, but they could have been yellow, or even green. At one point her gum fell out of her mouth. She looked crestfallen at me across the table. I mouthed, “It’s okay.” She reached into her shirt, found it, popped it back into her mouth, and almost smiled.
The first hour of the meeting consisted of a back-and-forth about writing. One young man has completed five books in a series about how a young girl discovers magic during WWII. He’s been working on this project for eight years. An older man said that he had written a ghost story and sent it out. As yet, he had received no response. This man has written some excellent short stories based on his experiences during the Vietnam War. I think he should put them out as a collection. The UNAC leader is compiling a book about military men killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to go along with the graveyard she started on a little island off her property in Townsend. She’s also written a sequel to a humorous play she wrote about Women of the Northwoods.
I asked one woman I had never met before what she is writing. Her answer: “A book.” Everybody laughed.
One woman I do know is completing a memoir, layering in more historical references. Her memoir is titled The Purple Wedding Dress; at least this was the title last summer.
At the end, I read two short stories I’ve been working on this summer. One is titled “What a Housekeeper Sees,” the other is “The Waltz.” The group liked certain things about the first, such as the character of the housekeeper and the situation in the story. They think this story needs fleshing out; in other words, I am seeing things, the reader is not. They all seemed to like “The Waltz,” which they said they could see and could feel. Someone said it is fraught with tension.