Monthly Archives: October 2014

A painting, a bull, and memories

Last week my afternoon took on a whole new texture when I opened an email from the Tallahassee Writers Association (Florida) announcing first place for my short story entry, “The Bull and the Kitten.” The story is about coming to terms with the life you have and finding connections in it.  It’s a tale about enduring, about simple joys.

The idea for this tale came from artist Andrew Wyeth’s painting of his friend Christina Olsen and her black kitten.  A frequent subject for Wyeth, Olsen is best known in the painting “Christina’s World.”  A kitten lies asleep on Olsen’s chest; she is looking down at the small creature.  Something about the picture struck a chord with me as I reflected on country living.

I grew up on a farm in north Florida where my daddy owned a registered Hereford bull, M. C. Bacca. We called him Mac for short.  He was a handsome bull and occasionally placed in area stock shows. A gentle giant, Mac is unlike the Guernsey bull in my short story. He was easy to manage with a slow lumbering manner.

My short story emerged from the painting, my memories of Mac, and thoughts on the ebb and flow of farm life.  My critique group helped me pull it into shape with an eventual submission to the Seven Hills Literary &Penumbra Poetry Contest.  This award means publication in the Seven Hills Review 2015. I feel humble and electric.

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Writers need readers. . .

By nature, writing and reading are solitary activities.  A critique group, the first place a writer meets a reader, fills that gap between being alone and person-to-person feedback.  A reading circle, critique group, or writing collective, while similar to herding cats, offers creative synergism through different perspectives as well as calisthenics for your writerly activities. They can become an indispensable tool, a gift from fellow travelers along your literary road. Explore the local community for in-person or online groups by checking out bullentin boards at the junior college, community center, public library, cyberspace, and word-of-mouth. Take advantage of writing conferences, regional gatherings, and local workshops to network with others in the pursuit of a group that fits your needs. Link-up. Utilize available resources. Write.

 

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