2020 Update on Guild and Writing Center Press

By Anne K. Kaler

So you thought that we were celebrating and/or napping over the holidays . . . but here is an update of our most recent accomplishments at Pearl S. Buck Writing Center.

The Writing Center Press is proud to announce the publication of two important books this November, both memoirs/autobiographies worth reading:

A Rose in a Ditch is the memoir of Julie Henning, a thirteen-year-old Amerasian orphan from South Korea during the North Korean and Chinese communists invasion of South Korea in the 1950’s. After her mother died, Julie was in the Pearl S. Buck School in South Korea when Pearl herself was so intrigued by her intelligence and personality that she brought Julie to America as an “adopted” daughter.  Julie’s relationship with Pearl developed into more than a mother-daughter bond and ended up in a life-long friendship.  With the help of others after Pearl’s death, Julie survived, married, and thrived in our local area as a math teacher in the Souderton school district.  Her story has been told to the many public events where Julie explained the role of God and people’s kindness in her life.

In The Letter Men: 40 Years of Brotherhood by Ronald Scott Price, a Guild member, he wrote about the strength of male bonding with his fraternity brothers over forty years of their bi-annual letter exchange. So strong was the bond which the men formed that Ron saw to it that the men were never out of touch with each other. The tales of their lives, separate but united in commitment, enabled them to celebrate the good times and console in the rough times.  Ron’s masterful prose drew from the stack of forty years of letters a strong argument for the moral and helpful support of long-time friends. His book is full of pictures illustrating each of his friends’ lives as they develop over the years.

Here’s an up-to-date list of the other books by published by WCP so far with brief descriptions:

Tracks Through Our Lives: Stories Told on Philly El Trains by John A. McCabe has written a book of interconnected short stories taking place in neighborhoods near stations on the elevated trains of Philadelphia. John has seen his book have great acceptance by libraries, the Philadelphia Prison system, and local bookstores. John has another book of short stories to be printed as well as his major work The August We Are Remembering: And Our Grey Pennies, a novel about the Nuclear Bombing of Japan.

Unmuted: Voices on the Edge by Susan E. Wagner is a book of poems from a mental health professional’s  family relationships and therapy theme. Sue is an editor of WCP who has at least two more poetry books almost ready and a mystery tale of the Jersey Pinelands.

From Cobbs Creek…to the Rhine: My Stuggles in World War II 1942-1945 by PFC Harry J. Houldin with an introduction by his daughter Madeline M. Marr is the original diary of a Philadelphia soldier’s WWII memoir through North Africa & European theaters, with pictures of some scenes.

Gabriel’s Christmas Journey: The First Advent by Dianne Spotts is a vividly illustrated retelling of the shy angel Gabriel’s involvement in the Christian Nativity. Illustrated by John Conning.

Matthew, Mark, Luke & John by Pearl S. Buck, illustrated by Mamoru Funai, as the 50th Anniversary Reprint , tells the story of four children who bond as orphans on the streets of South Korea. It is a story of adoption of Amerasian children, a charity which Pearl endorsed.

A Woman of Worth: A Memoir by Laura Mitchell Keene with Linda C. Wisniewski, editor, is a memoir of an African American woman’s life-memories of her childhood in Philadelphia, her accomplishments at Spelman College, and her marriage to a Tuskegee airman. Her travels with her artist-husband led her to the Paris art world and Picasso, plus other lands, then returning to Philadelphia to raise their family.

Harmony Theater Inc. presents Stories from the Hearts of Harmony, edited & compiled by Cynthia L. Louden. Cindy’s book is a non-fiction large-sized book of inspiring profiles by family members and pictures of the developmentally delayed adult actors, all of whom are part of the Harmony Theater Group which presents concerts at special events. The Group has been in existence for over ten years.

The Irishman’s Song: A Story of Love and Rebellion by Paul Sullivan is a novel of an Irish family in the early 1900’s, their life in America and a son’s return to Ireland during “the troubles” in 1922. Paul has written many books for adults and young adults about his visits to many places – seal hunting in Alaska, Incas in Mexico, etc. – all of them available on Amazon.

The first book of short stories by Bob McCrillis Puckerbrush: Milestones on the Journey to Manhood is about a central character Puckerbrush and his journey in a family setting in Maine. His second book of short stories – Peace, Love, and a ‘59 Plymouth: A Journey to the Summer of Love – was published this past year. The character of John Bennett who is waiting to be called for the draft after his high-school graduation, decides to head west coast to experience the hippy life in all its glory. His journey becomes an odyssey of adventures which help him mature in several ways.

Other books are progressing at different points within the WCP process of publishing but we wanted to give you a small taste of each work to keep you up to date:

Sue Wagner has a long book of poetry tentatively titled The Old, the New, The Now which will include similarities between happiness and grief through the ages.

Jennifer Klepsch is working on the final version of her first installment of her planned Five Doors Series.

Joe Vitella is refining his urban gang mystery story, chapter by chapter.

Melissa Triol keeps finding ways to have her characters physically or psychologically abused bit by bit. Each month we learn more about what really happened in her novel, or did it?

Meredith Betz finds new strategies to enhance her memoir of Endel and is planning much lighter subject matter to come.

David Werrett always has something fascinating planned to tempt the Guild each month – a stunning poem or a memoir piece or a mystery. His book Abort! Abort! Voyage to Save the Mind is on Amazon.

Jane Bleam continues to pursue memories of her nursing career, her childhood summers and her interest in animals.

John McCabe always has something new. He already has two books in line to be edited and published.

Julie Tomlinson recently finished The Tomlinson Family History and is ready to publish. For 54 years she has collected family stories and photos, interviewed older relatives while they were still alive, visited small historical societies, exchanged information by email with distant cousins, and used other written sources. Going back to the 1700’s she found ancestors involved in Lexington & Concord, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Western Expansion, and the Civil War. It shows how people’s lives were affected by good or bad economic times. Julie is currently working on Letters from WWII. Lt. Col Shell & General Patton. Her father was an aide to General Patton in WWII. Julie’s mother saved all of his letters from 1943 – 1945 from North Africa, England, France, Germany, Belgium and Czechoslovakia. Many letters were routine because he could not write about his location or any military planning. However, some have interesting or humorous stories. For example, during the “Battle of the Bulge” he wrote:

Just to tell you what good care I take of my men, last night we slept in a castle. The drawbridge didn’t work, so I put a man over the bridge and told him to shot at anything coming over the bridge. When we woke up, we discovered that the moat was frozen over, which of course we could not have seen in the night. Any German troops could have simply walked across the ice.

Joel Mendez, a long-distance Guild member living in Singapore, is working on a rewrite of his futurist novel about a quest against power used to control. Joel plans to submit a story to our next Journal on the theme of Visions.

And so it goes, as the author says . . . never enough time to truly appreciate all the work that our authors challenge us with, never enough time to explain a fact or a question or a comment, never enough time to finish a written piece to our satisfaction – never time enough.

The answer, my friends, is that we all share the same amount of time here on earth so push on with your writings so that you can be remembered as a writer who actually wrote.

Happy Leap Year!

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