Sisters of the Sentences gather to write–and eat.

January is the month to retreat–from the day to day, from the endless news cycle, from writing alone. The first of my two St. George Island retreats took place from January 6th through the 13th, and  what a gathering it was! Each of the Sisters of the Sentences arrived with a project-in-the-works and the determination to leave with fresh pages.

Here is a photo of the Sisters (and their Oreos).

 

 

Back row, left to right: Sharon, who brought her guitar and a story about “The Boys on Mars;” Mary W., who is usually a poet but tried her hand at fiction; Jamie, who we all decided was funny enough to be a stand-up comic (oh yeah, she also worked on a novel); Mary A., who is writing a fantasy that involves the Salem Witch Trials; Polly, who is new to the group, who will also travel in time, in her case to the Revolution (no, not that one, the Industrial Revolution); and Dr. Joan, who will retire from being a professor at the end of this semester and promises to work harder on her memoir once the job is behind her.

Front row, left to right: Perky, who has organized the retreats for thirteen years and is working on a novel titled, Boxes, me, who swears she will do the last edit on her novel and submit it this year, really; Gina, who has become Perky’s partner in all things retreat-related, and who has an epic novel in progress set in the time of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement; and Joanna, whose novel involves a wildlife biologist, a crow, and a little red mutt. Unfortunately, our dear friend Evelyna was waylaid by illness–she had her packed bag by the door of her home until the very last day.

I taught two workshops a day. We all ate more than was good for us, shared laughter, and even tears.

About the Oreos. What can I say? It is a tradition to take a photo of the group with Oreos–it is more complex than that, but maybe you had to have been there to get it.

Although the evidence of Michael was everywhere on the island: there were blue-tarp roofs, twisted boardwalks, and flickering internet, we all loved our time together–and we all went home with new pages and a tailwind that will, hopefully, carry us toward the goal which can be expressed in two words:

THE END

What I really look like.

Every year as school comes to an end, my singing partner, Craig Reeder (the other half of the duo Hot Tamale) and I play for a really enthusiastic audience, the kids of Crawfordville Elementary.

Here’s what we look like when we are up on that stage playing for K-3rd.

I think those are the notes floating over us. And check out Craig’s slick move with his guitar.

Or maybe we look like this–I never noticed how bald and big-headed Craig is, or how skinny my legs are. Read more

Authors in Apalach!

Apalachicola is a sleepy Florida town famous for oysters and the invention of refrigeration–and a great gathering of authors called “Authors in Apalach.”

(If you live in Apalachicola you shorten it to Apalach).

This is me and my buddy Jan Godown Annino. She is holding up her book, She Sang Promise,  the true story of Betty Mae Jumper, the first elected woman leader of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Before becoming chief Betty Mae earned money wrestling alligators. Check it out!

Summer sure went fast!

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Teachers and students, you are either in school with new back packs, sharp pencils and great lesson plans, or shopping last-minute for school supplies and putting away your flip-flops for the sensible shoes that will let you stay on your feet all day.

I have had a summer of flip-flops, and family, and vegetable gardening, and playing lots and lots of music.

And I finished a new novel which has everything but a title.

It is a YA set in Manhattan and on the Wakulla River in North Florida–and it is incredibly romantic. If only I could come up with the right title. So far the only word floating in my brain is “river,” and that is not enough!

I guess all of us are in the season of homework! Mine is just coming up with that title. It’s harder than it looks.