Author: ralphcuellar

Ralph Cuellar lives in Oregon, and loves nature and politics, and is usually in conflict over both. He is a writer and has played around with software and hardware a little too much in his life, so he left that world behind after a little dance.


Prompt from Monday’s meeting, 1/28/2019:

Write about something hidden in your closet or under your bed. It could be from childhood and it could be something real or imaginary.




The prompt is to write about something you had to let go of, or had taken away from you.

Is there something you had created and put your soul into and then you then found you were no longer in charge of? Was it something you passed on to someone else or had taken away from you?

How did this experience make you feel?



The Forest Grove Senior Center will be closed for observance of Martin Luther King holiday on Monday, January 21st, so the weekly meeting will be hosted by Parks and Paula Adams at their home in Forest Grove at the regular time of 9am.

Afterwards there will be a short pot-luck gathering. Most people bring a small snack or some food or drink item to share. Hope to see you there!


This prompt for this week came from a blog posting by Susan S:

Seminars over the years have given the same advice in millions of different ways, but the gist of the hours of speeches boil down to “finding your passion.” Once that passion is discovered, there is no end to the fantastic things that you can accomplish.
Out digging in the garden I discovered a root vegetable that found his passion.


It seems that this carrot not only found his hidden ability, he took that ability and over-achieved his goals.
It can be said that my carrots have a hard time containing themselves. I think that maybe this one deserves an A (from beta-carotene) for spectacular growth along with biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin K and potassium.
If a vegetable can do it, what are YOU waiting for?

The prompt is to write about your passion.


The following was submitted by Writers in the Grove member, Bev Walker.

News Update

5 Jan 2019
A month or so ago I read a piece I’d written, titled “The Artist”, at the weekly meeting of the Senior Center Writers group. It was about my mother’s low opinion of people who take up such an occupation, and my deep desire to do just that. It was prefaced with a sub-heading of, “(Did) Your mother ever spit on a hanky and then wipe your face with it? Yeah, well…,” which met with agreeing laughter.

A few days before, I’d asked the same question of a group of people where I live with the same reaction, and the comment, “They all did that!” Well, this is an update.

The twenty-eighth of Dec, (or so) I woke early and surfing around found a morning news magazine show just ending. The reporter said, “And here’s a final note. Scientists have now verified the discovery of the best stain remover in all the world. You’ll never guess what it is. Your mother’s spit!” That’s right! All those times my mama spit on a hanky and wiped your face with it she was using the best stain remover known to man! All this time I’m thinking ‘Hanky spit! Disease! Bacteria! Germs!’ Turns out it was good for you.



The prompt for this week’s meeting is a poem titled The Refugees, taken from the book, Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems.

The Refugees

Into the wild and painful cold of the starless winter night
came the refugees,
slowly making their way to the border.
The man, stooped from age or anxiety,
hurried his small family through the wind.
Bearded and dark, his skin rough and cracked from the cold,
his frame looming large in spite of the slumped shoulders:
He looked like a man who could take care of whatever
came at them
from the dark.
Unless, of course, there were too many of them.
One man he could handle…two, even …,
but a border patrol…
they wouldn’t have a chance.
His eyes, black and alert,
darted from side to side, then over his shoulder,
then back again forward.
Had they been seen?
Had they been heard?
Every rustle of wind, every sigh from the child,
sent terror through his chest.
Was this the way?
Even the stars had been unkind–
had hidden themselves in the ink of night
so that the man could not read their way.
Only the wind …. was it enough?
Only the wind and his innate sense of direction …
What kind of cruel judgment would that be,
to wander in circles through the night?
Or to safely make their way to the border
only to find the authorities waiting for them?
He glanced at the young woman, his bride.
No more than a child herself,
she nuzzled their newborn, kissing his neck.
She looked up, caught his eye, and smiled.
Oh, how the homelessness had taken its toll on her!
Her eyes were red, her young face lined,
her lovely hair matted from inattention,
her clothes stained from milk and baby,
her hands chapped from the raw wind of winter.
She’d hardly had time to recover from childbirth
when word had come that they were hunted,
and they fled with only a little bread,
the remaining wine,
and a very small portion of cheese.
Suddenly, the child began to make small noises.
The man drew his breath in sharply;
the woman quietly put the child to breast.
Fear… long dread-filled moments…
Huddled, the family stood still in the long silence.
At last the man breathed deeply again,
reassured they had not been heard.
And into the night continued
Mary and Joseph and the Babe.



The two prompts given today were taken from the book MosaicNew and Collected Poems, by Robin White Turtle Lysne.

1) This is the first stanza from the poem, Finding Each Other.
Consider the way streams, people or ideas can flow together.

How can I speak
about the way two streams
fall from the same mountain,
meet, mix and flow together.

2) This is the poem titled, Ashes.

We threw them into the salty sea and wind,
her tiny bones clung to my socks, my shoes
I could not, would not shake them off.

We turned back from the sea,
from the waves,
from the eternal night.

We pressed our palms
to the wind, blowing us into
horizontal sea spume.

Her heart floats between
stars somewhere,
mine remains in the raging sea,

yours in the eternal night.
Her bones
are blue.



Writers in the Grove is pleased to host the WINTERSONG 2019 public reading event at the Forest Grove United Methodist Church on Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 10:30 AM to about noon.


This event is open to all ages. It is free to enter and to attend.

The location is:

Forest Grove United Methodist Church
1726 Cedar Street
Forest Grove, Oregon.

Submission Guidelines and Entry Form is located here: (more…)