Michael Czarnecki and Steve Coffman provided a stimulating afternoon and evening with members and new visitors to our Writers’ Group. Michael has been inspiring us with his visits for sixteen years or more. Steve joined him about six years ago. The two of them offer leadership, encouragement and guidance to all who attend. Their annual visits are sponsored by the New York State Counsel for the Arts which funds Poets and Writers, a non profit organization which supports arts throughout many areas of our state.
Michael begins each of his workshops by having all participants introduce themselves and share their writing experience with him. Many of the writers in attendance came prepared to share a sample of their writing and benefit from any critique that Michael and Steve offer.
We had a variety of wonderful and varied pieces. We traveled to Price Chopper while “Window Watching”, observed loons on a nest in a haiku, smelled what seemed to be burning brakes and turned out to be dragging leather, and gloried in the sheer joy of a ten year old boy with his Phantom Schwinn bike. We spent a day at the Jersey Shore, and traveled back to the Civil War era. Two more haikus emerged, a raven in one and another tantalizing us with a fortune teller.
We learned more about Indian Lake history from two local writers. We heard about the Farrel family and the history of the Half Way House. We learned more about McCane family history from Fran who is documenting biographies of so many of her close relatives and extended family. The story of a home destroyed by fire reflects the close connections of supportive relatives who all pitch in to provide temporary homes and sustenance to the victims of a tragedy. Stories like these written by family members provide valuable information to be passed on to one and all who treasure this place where we now live.
Our meeting ended with mention of a possibility of a future Chap Book published by Foothills Publishing Company, Michael’s enterprise. Chris offered to spearhead this event and we will be discussing this at our next meeting.
Later, in the early evening, Michael and Steve provided a reading of some of their work, and also provided others the opportunity to share an additional piece. We were entertained and enthralled by Michael’s numerous and beautiful haikus. Michael’s arm sways as he softly reads these delicious, nature filled poems. We also enjoyed a few chapters of Steve’s book, “Chicken Justice” which caused laughter, surprise and intrigue.
We were delighted by the attendance of a family from New Jersey, a mother and three children, ten, thirteen and seventeen. The oldest, a young man with a serious desire to write and publish, read a piece he has written for several local New Jersey community newspapers. In 800 words Max described hiking in the Indian Lake area, hopefully introducing the joys of the Adirondacks to many New Jersey folks.
Next Meeting: Wednesday, August 21st 1:30 in the library
Next Assignment: Here’s a wide open one— “Movement”.
In Billy Collins’ book, “Sailing Alone Around the Room” his poem, “Walking Across the Atlantic” could fit right into our future assignment of Movement.
Walking Across the Atlantic by Billy Collins
I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.
Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.
But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.