Summer 2019 ♦ Volume 4, Number 1

Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal

Secrets

Secrets – one of the first things we learn as children.

The concept of secrets starts with toddlers being shushed by parents for commenting on someone’s weight or color or disability. They get shushed again for repeating something Mommy or Daddy said. “Don’t tell, don’t say that to Daddy, Mommy, neighbors or doctors.”

As we get older, secrets become more complicated and seemingly more necessary in our lives. We even keep secrets from ourselves by refusing to discuss or cope or change. Yet, we hate secrets too. We struggle to decide which ones to keep and which ones to tell. We bemoan this universal human tendency while we embrace the need for it. We excuse the white lies and feel guilty about bigger ones. We all have secrets we don’t want others to know, private and hidden knowledge filled with power. The secrets might amaze or embarrass, betray, shock or harm. We simply don’t know.

So, what do we do?

Recently, our teenage grandson came into my kitchen just as I finished an edit on a poem. Impulsively, I asked if he’d like to read it. Being both polite and kind, he said he would. The poem describes an incident from my childhood which, through the alchemy of writing, was transformed into something new.

“Did this happen to you?” he asked. “Is it real?”

Then, we talked about prose and poetry being a release for emotions, a release for the demons we all carry or a release for secrets we can’t otherwise share. Those things can be put into words on a page where it may touch a chord in a reader. Through the alchemy of writing, I took an incident and made it new, gave it a different life in a poem. He connected to that and I saw the understanding as it began to show on his face.

Like any art, writing allows you to take a thought or emotion and create something new, something that may or may not have anything to do with the original inspiration. We mine our lives for those nuggets we find useful and transform them into art, music, prose, and poetry. My grandson understood that and likened it to his favorite movies and the stories they tell. Since he enjoys art and music, I suggested he try it himself and one day he may.

Often, writing exposes a deeper truth and the secrets that are kept there. In the act of writing, we may reveal something to ourselves, thoughts or feelings we didn’t know we had. From this, we can learn what themes our life follows and what problems occur the most. That is why writing journals is so useful and why bibliotherapy – the use of poetry or prose to explore feelings — works. We literally see ourselves in words.

Conversely, writing hides secrets in plots or images, which wait to be found by the reader.  That is why mysteries are so popular – we don’t know something, so we need clues to help us find the secret. There’s a reason Law and Order was so popular for so many years. We like knowing secrets, even those of fictional characters. It gives us satisfaction.

Biographies and memoirs reveal the secrets of someone’s life, which can be endlessly fascinating. Even self-help books reveal secrets – Learn to cook creatively! Be a better person! Learn the secret of weight loss!

We chose Secrets as a theme for this issue of the journal because there is something deeply human about them, something that brings out emotions of every sort. It is universally interesting and it inspires all kinds of writing. We have a little bit of everything in this issue, a variety well worth exploring.

So, come – visit our secrets.

Susan E. Wagner
Editor, PSB Literary Journal

(Click title to read selection.
Author’s biography at end of contribution)

Bike Ride

A Poem by Susan E. Wagner

A Sea of a Thousand Shalt Nots

A Memoir by Meredith Betz

A Moment

A Novel Excerpt by Melissa Triol

In the Time of

A Poem by Elizabeth Esris

Secrets – A Play in Four Scenes

A Play by David H. Werrett

The Secret of the Double Knot

A Poem by Anne K. Kaler, PSBVA

Whose Secret Is It?

A Memoir by Linda C. Wisniewski

Secrets Beyond the Windowsills

A Poem by John A. McCabe

Poetry in Brief

An Essay by Susan E. Wagner

In the Garden of the Lost and Found

A Short Story by Meredith Betz

Harry’s Hobby Shop

A Memoir by Fred W. Donaldson

Lost Generation

A Poem by Elizabeth Esris

Winter Roses

A Short Story by Paul Sullivan

Cereal Killers

A Mystery by Ann Nonymous

Ogallala Memories

A Short Story by Bob McCrillis

His Footsteps

A Poem by David H. Werrett

A Women’s Tale

A Short Story by Susan E. Wagner

Nevada’s Light Brigade: A Top Secret Clearance

A Novel Excerpt by John A. McCabe

Keeper of Secrets

A Short Story by Paul Teese

Secretes Continuum

A Memoir by Ronald Scott Price

Sign Up For Advanced Memoir Classes

Need help telling your own life’s story by structuring work you’ve already written, Linda Wisniewski’s Advanced class in Memoir Writing is designed to fit your needs.

Register here or on the PSBI.org website where courses can be found under the Education tab at the top of the home page. See Linda’s biography at the end of this blog with a link to her website. Continue reading “Sign Up For Advanced Memoir Classes”

Writing Center Offers Two Memoir Classes

Need help telling your own life’s story? Whether you’re just beginning the process or need help structuring work you’ve already written, Linda Wisniewski’s Beginners or Advanced classes in Memoir Writing are designed to fit your needs.

Linda’s courses in the past have built up such demand, she is offering two courses this year. Register here or on the PSBI.org website where courses can be found under the Education tab at the top of the home page. See Linda’s biography at the end of this blog with a link to her website.

Memoir Writing Class for Beginners – Six weeks
Wednesdays: April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1 and May 8 2019
1-3pm Cultural Center, 2nd Floor
$150 fee for 6 classes

Course Description:
Have you been thinking about writing your memoir but don’t know where to start?

Join us for a six-week class that will cover all the basics of modern memoir writing and answer all your questions. Learn to write about people, place, work, loss and more.

Each week’s informative lecture and writing practice with gentle, constructive feedback will give you a solid foundation to put your memories on the page for your family, for publication, or for your own good health.

Advanced Memoir Writing Class –
1st Wednesday of the month for 6 months
Wednesdays: June 5, July 3, August 7,
September 4, October 2, and November 6
1-3pm Cultural Center, 2nd floor
$150 fee for 6 classes

Course Description:
If you have some of your memoirs on paper and are ready to learn how to organize them, expand what is significant, and deepen their meaning, this is the class for you.

Within the monthly format of lecture, discussion, in-class writing and constructive feedback, we will cover theme, character arc, dialogue, and more.

Plus, you will be enrolled in our private online Google group, where you can submit your own writing, respond to your classmates’ work, and discuss class readings provided by the instructor.


Linda C. Wisniewski is a former librarian who shares an empty nest in Doylestown with her retired scientist husband. Linda teaches memoir workshops and speaks on the healing power of writing throughout the Philadelphia area. Her work focuses on memoir and personal essays and has been published in literary magazines and anthologies. Linda’s memoir, Off Kilter: A Woman’s Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother and Her Polish Heritage was published by Pearlsong Press. Her unpublished novel based on the life of a 19th century ancestor was a finalist for the 2015 Eludia Award. Her website is https://lindawis.com/.

Fall 2018 ♦ Volume 3, Number 2

Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal

 There are 20 contributions to this Fall issue of the 2018 Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal. The theme of this issue is Transformation. Submissions include essays, memoirs, poems, short stories, and an excerpt from a novel.

Our thanks to authors Dr. Anne K. Kaler, Sandra Carey Cody, David H. Werrett, Jane Bleam, Paul Teese, Joseph A. Vitella, John McCabe, Susan E. Wagner, Joel Mendez, Kat Cerruti, Meredith Betz, Linda Wisniewski, Archana Kokroo, and Bob McCrillis.

Anne K. Kaler, PhD
Professor of English Emerita
Gwynedd Mercy University

(Click title to read selection. Author’s biography at end of contribution)

Transformation

An Essay by Anne K. Kaler, PSBVA

Shadows

A Short Story by Sandra Carey Cody

Sunflowers

A Poem by David H. Werrett

The Baby Squirrels

A Memoir by Jane Bleam

The Naming Project

A Short Story by Paul Teese

Jake Meets Nick Rossi

An Excerpt from a Novel
by Joseph A. Vitella

Sidewalk Sanctification

A Short Story by John McCabe

The Woman Who Bound Pain to Her Bones

A Poem by Susan E. Wagner

An Hour and Forty Minutes

A Short Story by Joel Mendez

From Walking Under Trees

A Poem by John McCabe

Father and Daughter

A Short Story by Susan E. Wagner

Mary Gertrude and the Alligator

A Short Story by Anne K. Kaler

Daddy’s Little Princess

A Memoir by Jane Bleam

A Lesson Learned

A Memoir by Kat CerRuti

White Gloves

A Memoir by Meredith Betz

Lake in the Woods

A Short Story by Linda Wisniewski

Transformations

A Short Story by Archana Kokroo

# Me Too?

A Short Story by Bob McCrillis

Swimming Lessons

A Short Story by David H. Werrett

Other People’s Shoes

A Short Story by Meredith Betz

October Guild Meeting Notes Plus Sneak Peek

By Linda Donaldson

Nearly every attendee to our October Writers Guild meeting brought writing selections to share. All told there were 11 different authors’ works read aloud, and some brought two works. Such a rich array of literary work kept us well past the two hour mark.

We welcomed a new member Archana Kokroo whose first poems proved conclusively that she has much to offer. Other member who contributed were: Melissa Triol, Jane Bleam, Dave Werrett, John McCabe, Bob McCrillis, Paul Teese, Meredith Betz, Kat Cerutti, Joe Vitella and Linda Donaldson. Continue reading “October Guild Meeting Notes Plus Sneak Peek”

Guild Notes, 2019 Class Preview and BookFest

By Linda Donaldson

Cindy Louden opened our August Writers Guild meeting opened with a preview of the 2019 Writing Center’s classes with final dates to be announced.

Linda Wisniewski will offer a Beginner’s Memoir series of classes for six weeks in May and June. She will then offer Advanced Memoir classes monthly from June through October.

Pam Varkony, author, speaker and last year’s recipient of the Pearl S. Buck Woman of the Year award, will teach two classes next year: one on essays, op-eds and exposes, and the other on marketing your writing through web and social media. Pam plans to offer each of these two topics at three different times – morning, afternoon and evening – June and July.

Writers Guild meetings will be held next year at 1pm to 3pm on the third Sunday of the month from March through October. Continue reading “Guild Notes, 2019 Class Preview and BookFest”

Spring 2017 ♦ Volume 2, Number 1

Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal

There are 16 contributions to this Spring 2017 Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal. The theme of this issue is birth, rebirth and renewal. Submissions include essays, memoirs, poems, short stories, flash fiction and an excerpt from a novel.

Our thanks to authors, Anne K. Kaler, Bob McCrillis, Lois Guarino Hazel, Susan Wagner, Meredith Betz, Fred W. Donaldson, Linda C. Wisniewski, Jennifer Yuan, John McCabe, Carol Kretovich, and Judith Wrase Nygard.

 

(Click title to read selection. Author’s biography at end of contribution)

 

Journals – Seedbeds of Memory

ESSAY BY ANNE K. KALER, PSBVA

The Doe

SHORT STORY BY BOB McCRILLIS

Reinventing Judith

SHORT STORY BY LOIS GUARINO HAZEL

The Stitches of Lydwyna the Spinster

EXCERPT FROM A NOVEL BY ANNE K. KALER PSBVA

Rain

POEM BY SUSAN WAGNER

South Carolina Restaurant

MEMOIR BY MEREDITH BETZ

A Letter to My Son

ESSAY BY FRED W. DONALDSON

What a Man’s Got To Do

SHORT STORY BY LINDA C. WISNIEWSKI

Cleaning the Crevices with a Cotton Swab

MEMOIR BY LOIS GUARINO HAZEL

Plum Flower

SHORT STORY BY JENNIFER YUAN

The Irishman

SHORT STORY BY JOHN McCABE

Doug the Foster Child

POEM BY SUSAN WAGNER

A Difficult Journey

MEMOIR BY Carol Kretovich

Achieving Inner Calm

POEM BY JUDITH WRASE NYGARD

You Are Creative…You Just Don’t Know It…Yet

MEMOIR BY MEREDITH BETZ

Two on a Railing

FLASH FICTION BY JOHN McCABE