By Linda Donaldson
Our last meeting of the Pearl S. Buck Writers Guild brought a dozen of us to the Cultural Center at Green Hills Farm on Sunday October 15th.
Four people brought work to share, and we began with John McCabe’s new introduction to his collection of short stories about the Market-Frankford Elevated trains. Many voiced a connection to John’s depiction of the silent “rules of the riders” that discourages people from talking to each other on trains. We liked his handling of the protagonist’s reconnection with a childhood pal and their subsequent adult friendship as the “glue” that brings these stories together.
A new member, Jim McColgan, read aloud from the introduction to his book set in Cuba. This first book is part of a trilogy spanning from the Cuban revolution onward. His first scene involving children was tangential to the main theme and did not introduce the main characters or their conflict. Listeners suggested Jim revisit his plot and rearrange the action to begin with some element of the drama that will unfold, and to let us get to know either the main protagonists or villains at the very outset. We eagerly await more of his book and his rework of that scene.
Jane Bleam brought a polished version of her story about the geese family. Anne Kaler asked about what other animals Jane had rescued. Thankfully, there are many more. All listeners agreed that Jane’s stories of her summer home experiences are entertaining and, if illustrated, would make great children’s stories. Jane now has all winter to bring us more!
Meredith Betz said she was taking off her “humorous” hat and trying on a serious chapeau. Her short story excerpts from both the beginning and end of a long piece set the stage by introducing a talented musician with a domineering mother. The girl’s music teacher recognizes her ability and begins an exchange that results in a collaborative musical composition. After hearing the ending, we all want to read the middle, so Meredith was encouraged to send out her complete story.
At the end of our meeting, several members wanted to know if Cindy Louden could find a meeting place at the Green Hills Farm for mid-winter meetings before the Guild picks up again in March of 2018. Cindy said she’d pursue that and let us all know. Look for another post as details emerge.
The Fall issue of the Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal is in the final stages and will be posted in the next few weeks. The theme for the Spring 2018 issue will be announced at that time.