Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Literary Connections

The past week has been packed with literary activities! And the activities—or at least the folks therein—have been connected. Sort of.

Last Saturday, my Lake Writer buddy Karen and I attended the Sedalia Writers Conference. While attendance was sparse, the event was worthwhile and informative. There I procured a copy of Rex Bowman’s new book, Blue Ridge Chronicles, spent the next two days reading it, and wrote a review for the Smith Mountain Eagle. My review in next Wednesday’s paper will scoop other reviews in the area. (I loved the book, and not just because my picture is in it.)

Wednesday, I went to Salem for the monthly meeting of the Roanoke Valley Branch of the League of American Pen Women. I like to hang out with a bunch of artists and writers anyhow, but this meeting featured the announcement of winners of our poetry contest. The winner Jennifer Hollingsworth-Austin) was from Roanoke—and she was someone I knew because we used to keep our horses at Hunting Hills Stable—and I taught her husband in junior high. Her poem was absolutely wonderful. The judge, Maurice Ferguson, attended and spoke about poetry judging.

Thursday, Amy T. and I put into action our plan to have a kiddie lit critique group. (We’ve been wanting to start a crit group since we went to the SCBWI meeting two weeks ago.) Claudia and Amy H. joined us at the Franklin County Library, and the four of us worked out a plan of action to motivate each other to work on individual projects as well as how to critique each other. We all write such different things that we should be able to give plenty of diverse opinions. (The two Amys were members of another—recently defunct—writers group that I dropped out of several months ago. Claudia is a fellow member of Lake Writers.)

Friday, Lake Writers met earlier than usual to select winners of the Lake Writers Student Fiction Contest. (Claudia—from the kiddie lit critique group—rode with me.) As contest coordinator, I had been circulating packets of stories to other members, so all stories had been read by a minimum of four writers prior to the discussion. (Note: Rocky Mount Kroger is a good place to hand off packets to other members.) The high school winner was easy (Everyone agreed—a rarity!) and the first two places in middle school weren’t too difficult. From there we diverged, but we didn’t argue nearly as much as we have in previous years. Anyhow, we have our winners and two honorable mentions. Now, (via email) we’re working on a date when most can attend.

For the last three days, Franklin County Book Festival business has been conducted by email. We had a slot for a Friday night coffeehouse reader suddenly open up. I made a suggestion and others agreed. The coffeehouse readings are August 8 at the Edible Vibe; the main speakers are the following morning at the FC Library.

Today, I spent a delightful four hours reading from More Peevish Advice and generally hanging out at Cottage Curio in Salem. Owner Peggy Shifflett is president of the Pen Women and one of the readers at the Franklin County Book Festival. Rex Bowman will read from his book at Cottage Curio in July. A couple of the Pen Women—Mary and Ethel—popped in to say hello and to partake of Hilda’s wonderful peach cobbler.

This week has been fun, intellectually satisfying, and really busy. Interesting how the same people keep popping up.

Now, “Duke”(my detective buddy)—if you’re reading this—I really will get back to critiquing your mystery novel. But I have to take time out on Wednesday for a book club meeting at the FC Library. They’re discussing my favorite, Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith, and my Lake Writer buddy Marion will be there (she's also on the FC bookfest committee). Thursday, there's a meeting of Valley Writers. . . .

Today marks the sixth-month anniversary of the day my tombstone went missing. No, it hasn’t come home yet.



Blogger CountryDew said...

You have had a very good - and very busy - week. It was nice seeing you at the Pen Women meeting.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Amy Hanek said...

I love busy days too! I had a great time on Thursday and lots of ideas cropped up.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

Good gracious Miss Becky, how ever do you find the time to WRITE?

5:55 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

WRITE? Oh, yeah. I knew I forgot something. . . .

7:17 PM  

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