From Our Writers

My Prayer

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Patti Bond.

I wish people would be
happy all around us.

I wish the world’s population
would stop fighting and putting
fellow human beings down.

I wish we would be
content.

I wish we would be
heard by all people.

I wish we would listen
to the needs of each other.

I wish we would see people
for who they are.

I wish miracles would happen
every day and that they could
be seen by everyone.

I wish peace and tranquility
for all.

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Writing Tips: Raise or Rise Up!

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Gretchen Keefer.

Raise or rise up? While both of these verbs indicate upwards motion, the difference is in “what” is going up.

Rise, rose, risen: No objects go up. The subject of the sentence is the only thing moving towards the ceiling or sky. The action stays with the subject only.

Gary rose slowly from the recliner and left the room.

Heat rises.

The sun and moon rise daily.

Joe has risen through the ranks to make CFO at a young age.

Raise, raised, raised: Now, something is going up! “Raise” needs an object to lift or nurture, as in the case of children, crops, and animals. Ask the question “Raise what?” and fill in the blank.

  • Raise your hand.
  • Bettina raised her eyes toward the heavens and shouted in hallelujah!
  • Allison raises horses.
  • Mark’s construction crew raised the new building in record time. (Not to be confused with “raze,” which means taking the building down.)

Never Give Up

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Patti Bond.

When you feel like
You are beaten down,
Maybe you are.
Never give up!

You get bad news
Feel like you can’t go on.
Yes, you can.
Never give up!

Given a life-threatening health crisis.
Feel like life will not get better.
Yes, it will.
Never give up!

Berry picker, babysitter, nursing assistant.
Feel like you are
Overworked and underpaid?
Yes, you are.
Never give up!

Wherever life takes you
Remember to never give up
For you never know
What is waiting for you
Around the corner.
Never give up!

A Book Review

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Bev Walker, based upon her review of the book, “Thieves Break In,” by Cristina Sumners, Bantam Books, 2004, a British detective story.

The following are the real, actual Chapter headings of this book.

Chapter 1 – Late July 1997, Wednesday – (In which we are introduced to the victim, one Rob Hillman, who is missing. The last sentence states he’s been found. So far, so good. I look forward to some interesting detective work.)

Chapter 2 – January 1997 – Almost Seven Months Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 3 – Summer 1933 – Sixty-four Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 4 – Wednesday – The Day of Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 5 – February 1997 – Five Months Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 6 – June 1944, Shortly After D-Day – Fifty-three Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 7 – Thursday – The Day After Rob Hillman’s Death, About Seven in the Evening

Chapter 8 – February 1997 – Five Months Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 9 – May 1945, Two Weeks After VE Day – Fifty-two Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 10 – Saturday Morning – Three Days After Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 11 – April 1997, During the Easter Holidays – Three Months Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 12 – June 1962 – Thirty-five Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 13 – Saturday Lunchtime – Three Days After Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 14 – Early July 1997 – Three Weeks Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 15 – July 1963 – Thirty-four Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 16 – Early July 1997, Sunday – Four Days After Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 17 – Mid July 1997 – Two Weeks Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 18 – Spring 1972 – Twenty-five Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 19 – Lunchtime – Five Days After Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 20 – The Monday Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 21 – Twenty Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 22 – Monday Midafternoon – Five Days After Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 23 – A Wednesday in Late July 1997 – Thirty Minutes Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 24 – Winter 1995 – Two Years Before Rob Hillman’s Death

Chapter 25 – Monday – Five Days After Rob Hillman’s Death, Three Hours After Sir Gregory’s Death

Chapter 26 – Minutes Later

Chapter 27 – A Few Minutes Earlier

Chapter 28 – Two Days Later (mystery solved!)

THE END

Dear Writers,

Now, I consider myself only a moderately orderly person. And a fan of detective stories. Especially British detective stories. Any detective story with a sense of humor, but this one really put me to the test.

I’m not adverse to scanning, and dumping, the dull, the witless, the inane. If it doesn’t grab me in the first three chapters, I may give it a spit and polish and go on to other things, but believe it or not, in spite of its time frame acrobatics, this one held me in there.

I read it all, clear to the end, while flipping back and forth to keep reminding myself which decade we were in. It was like trying to read on a bus traveling fifty miles an hour over a very bumpy road.

The author’s first acknowledgement is for her “splendid” Editor, and I quote: “for refraining from murdering me while I kept her waiting an extra year for the manuscript.” One wonders if that editor is still on the job. Or maybe in a rest home somewhere. Or waiting tables in a peaceful kindergarten where there’s regular food fights.

Nevertheless, dear readers, would you believe? This is a good story!

But please, dear writers, have some mercy.

No One Wins Like This

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Alex Davidson.

Don’t ignore their feelings.
Don’t laugh at them but with them.
Don’t fight but resolve.
This is how we win together.

But this isn’t how the world works.

We ignore the helpless and wicked.
We laugh at and bully those
We find different or scrawny.
We fight only ourselves.
No one wins like this.

Peggy, Among the Stars

The following is an excerpt from the new book by Bev Walker, “Profiles…” Bev is a long-time member of Writers in the Grove.

She may be the smartest person I’ve ever met, certainly one of them, and certainly a shining star in my life. And a prime example of how deceptive appearance and manner can be.

The plain house dress and sagging cardigan sweater were always a little rumpled. Some stray pieces of her long thin black hair never seemed to find a home in all the years I new her. The rest hung precariously in a knot at the back of her neck. There was no sign of grey. She was in her nineties, how far, she wouldn’t say. When asked, she’d reply curtly, “Age is irrelevant.”

She was four-foot ten, round, and quiet. Her large sleepy eyes and calm demeanor reminded me of Yoda, the wise old elf of the Star Wars movies. That suited her more than most people realized. She’d been a closet Science Fiction writer as long as she can remember. Not with any thought of getting published, but just because she loved doing it.

When her husband died, she and her four young children moved to Forest Grove, Oregon. She took classes at Pacific University where her guest instructor was famed fantasy writer Ursula LeGuin. LeGuin’s husband was a professor there at the time. LeGuin became a profound influence on Peggy’s blossoming style, a turning point.

“She is a woman of extreme integrity,” said Peggy, “and I learned more from her than I ever had from any other teacher.”

That is tribute indeed as Peggy was a straight A student all her life, an honor graduate of the prestigious Reed College, as well as the Episcopal Church’s Education For Ministry Course (FFM), which is the equivalent to a four-year seminary course in religion.

She and I had been friends for some time when she asked me to help her organize and sort her file of writings. She couldn’t do it herself because she was totally blind from Macular Degeneration. She could type, but she couldn’t see to edit what she’d written, so was in the habit of just starting over, again and again, resulting in many versions, pieces all mixed, some on computer, some in a paper file.

We got into a routine. I’d sit at her computer and read aloud what she’d written. She told me changes as we went along.

She wanted to focus on one novel in particular. It was the romance of an astronaut, born in another galaxy, who discovers a lost world, and the strange girl he falls in love with. It came alive for me in Peggy’s words. Her amazing images sometimes had my head spinning with colorful pictures of a whole new universe unfolding before me. I was mesmerized by her breathtaking adventures among the stars.

Then suddenly there’d be a section where she started typing with her fingers on the wrong row of keys and there were pages of funny paper cuss words! The journey halted in peels of laughter when I told her what she’d done.

Once a week after church, four or five of us went to brunch in the next town. On the way to the restaurant it became a game to ask our personal guru trivia questions. “Stumping Peggy” was always fun, and a challenge. It never mattered the subject, our Peggy had a story, or at least an answer, to engage us. We all came to firmly believe that our Peg knew everything there was to know about everything.

One day, I discovered another side to our friend. It seems that when we thought we were playing games with our brain trust, she was quietly, and with a straight face, happily playing a different game with us. I innocently asked, “Peggy, how did you ever become so knowledgeable about so very many different subjects.”

With those big sleepy eyes and pixie smile, she looked at me sideways and blithely replied, “Oh, sometimes I lie.”

She knew darn well we’d never know the difference.

When Peggy died in 2009, I imagined her out there exploring her beloved universe, going where she’d always imagined going, and smiling as she discovers reality is even more fantastic than she ever dreamed.

Footnote: Today, as I write this, it is the 24th of April 2017, and I’ve been watching the news. By remote satellite hookup, a woman astronaut, age fifty-seven, is being interviewed. Among the records she’s set is one for the longest time living in space. She’s been orbiting the ear in a US spacecraft for almost two years. The newscaster notes, “There’s a Velcro strip on the outside of her pants, probably to stick her to the wall while she’s sleeping.” Her name is Peggy. Peggy Whitson. And I whisper, “Go, Peg, go.”

The Round Tuit

The following was written by Writers in the Grove member, Lorelle VanFossen, based upon the prompt about “someday.”

My father brought home a plaque one day and hung it on the wall in the kitchen. We children stood around it and admired its shiny wood finish engraved with a wood burning tool with the words in burnt black letters, “tuit.”

“What is it?” My brother David asked in wonder.

“It’s a tuit.”

“What’s a twit?” My youngest sister, Cheryl asked with a lisp.

“Tu-it,” Janet corrected. “Toooo-it.”

“Twwwwwuuuu-it. Twit.”

“No, toooooo-it-it-it.”

“Twwwwwwooooo – ”

“Cut it out,” I poked both of them. “Dad, what’s a tuit?”

He leaned in toward us kids huddled in the kitchen, our eyes glued to the round wooden plaque. “This isn’t just any tuit. It’s a round tuit. I always told myself I’d get a round tuit and I finally did. Aren’t you proud of me?”

We turned our gaze from the plaque to him, and he waited.

David got it first and let out a moan, then I, then Janet. Cheryl needed it explained to her. It took about a week, but she finally got round tuit.