The Hill Country Women of Words met for their January, 2014, meeting at the EMS Building. We are so fortunate to be able to use this facility for free. This was a special meeting. We learned so much about each other through our writing and I loved it! It really brought us closer to each other.
 
After some yummy snacking and delicious conversation, Barbara Loyd and new WOW member, Sylvia Rogers, told us all about the writers workshop they both attended in Ingram. That’s where Barbara met Sylvia and invited her to WOW. We’re so glad she did!
 
Then we decided to do a writing exercise. Valerie Gaumont normally bring us a story starter, but she wasn’t with us this evening so we had to invent our own. It was tough, but we came up with “The _______ That Was Us” and took off. At the end of our 15 minutes, nobody wanted to stop writing! It was so much fun.
 
Lynn Harris wrote a short memoir for her exercise about “The Ranch That Was Us” (I think that was the title?). As a mom with children, Lynn lived on a ranch in Glenn, Montana, where the outhouse didn’t even have a door, but nobody minded because the view was so good. J That one had us in stitches. Lynn read us a poem she had written titled “Refugees,” inspired by some old WWII movies she had been watching on TV. The poems was long, 17 stanzas. I would say it was a narrative poem. It was moving and suspenseful. We were all anxious as to the outcome. Thank you, Lynn, for giving us a happy ending.
 
Vici Wray wrote a fiction piece for her exercise titled “The Marriage That Was Us.” It was funny, sweet, and sad. Vici assured us it was all made up – not a memoir from her life. Whew. Vici also brought us a how-to craft from her Adventures at Camp Grandma book – making a paper mosaic picture – and she brought us the finished product to admire. This is a difficult genre to write in and give clear, understandable instructions. Vici did a great job!
 
Liz Brookshire wrote her exercise piece about “The Shop That Was Us,” a memoir of her father and her uncle’s business, Krauskopf Brothers, way back when the business was located on Main Street, where Hondo’s is now. Liz also brought us a memoir piece she wrote for her grandchildren titled “Three Churches,” where Liz tells her memories of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Doss, TX, Holy Ghost Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg, and First Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Liz’s current church home. All three churches have been instrumental in Liz’s faith journey. Do you know why Holy Ghost used to be called The Buzzard Church? My grandmother did!
 
Linda Colie wrote her exercise piece on “The Year That Was Us – 1976.” Linda was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she was 16 and in 1976, she graduated from high school. Her friends went on to colleges, jobs, and relationships. Linda started at a small college, but was not able to keep up physically or emotionally. It was terribly difficult for her and she dropped out. Sometimes, my heart aches for her. I am thankful that Linda is in my life.
 
Karen Vanek wrote her exercise on “The Vacation That Was Us,” a camping memoir. Karen has such good memories of annual camping trips with her family. Did you know that’s how she met her husband? Karen also brought us an untitled memoir about her 87-year-old father who lives in Arizona and is suffering from Alzheimer’s. I hate this cruel disease. Karen writes, “I hope he remembers...his life has made a difference.” I hope all our children can say this about us someday.
 
Barbara Loyd wrote her exercise about “The Soap Opera That Was Us.” She described how her father walked out on their family and she did not see him again for 15 years, then not for 7 years, then not for 3 ½ years. What a heart break. Barbara shared another memoir with us, “My Reluctant Resolution,” about her reluctance to make a New Years resolution. I’m right there with you, Barbara! I gave up making New Years resolutions years ago. I don’t think I ever kept a single one. This piece was much happier, like Barbara’s life now. J Check out Barbara’s blog: http://colorfilled.blogspot.com/ 
 
Sylvia Rogers lives in Kerrville and is new to our group. We are delighted to have her. She made wonderful, encouraging remarks about all of our works and had some great critique advice. Sylvia wrote her exercise about “The Time That Was Us,” about Checkers, the sweet stuffed bear she had as a child and the special alone time they had together. I had a stuffed bear, too! Did you? They can be very, very special.
 
Sally Clark wrote for her exercise “The House That Was Us.” For about six months, my husband and I and our two children lived in my grandmother’s little house in Stonewall, TX. I remembered the summer months the most, those hot, cozy days when the kids and I were together more than we ever had been in the city. It was a special time that I will always treasure. I also brought four poems to read. Three of the poems I wrote to submit to Fairy Tale Review Literary Journal, their Emerald issue, on the Land of Oz: “Cycle, Cyclone, Recycle,” “Make Do or Do Without,” and “When Real Estate Falls From the Sky.” I’m sorry to say none of these poems were accepted for this journal, but they may fit somewhere else. I also brought another of my poems, “The Cow Jumps Over the Moon,” just an imagining of what cows might dream about.
 
From the other WOWs, Alice Kolb is still working on her cookbook/memoir. This winter, she hired an editorial team to edit her book. I would love to read some of it!
 
Betty Mucha sent me this email: Hi SaIly, I will miss attending WOW meetings this year. I have agreed to fill a library board vacancy for this year and they meet on 3rd Monday evenings. The group of WOW writers really are WOW! Such a fun and creative group!  I enjoyed being a part of it. Keep me posted on what you are doing. I find it inspiring when folks I know are rewarded for hard work and creativity. Betty I’m excited about Betty’s new library position!
 
Liz Eberle has a new blog post: “14 New Things.” Check it out at: http://myprayingchairs.blogspot.com/
 
Sheila Kale couldn’t make it because she is still recuperating from her mission trip to Cambodia. I hope you got her email with the photos. It was really fun to see.
 
Our next birthday is Megan Willome on January 29th.
 
Until then, write about everything; the weather, the kids, the laundry; whatever fills your life can fill the page.
 
Love, Sally
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