Member Monday: Due for Discard by Sharon St. George

XG8D1047 web email 100dpiWelcome back to Member Monday.  Today we feature the work of Writers Forum member and Program Chair Sharon St. George.  Enjoy an excerpt from Sharon’s first book, Due for Discard.

Due for Discard (Chapter 9)

by Sharon St. George

Saturday morning I checked my disguise in the mirror. In my shortest skirt, highest heels, blue contact lenses and a blond wig left over from a grad school Halloween party, I was ready to visit the Natural History Museum where Bonnie Beardsley had flirted with her alleged stalker. Odds of running into him, if he existed, were astronomical, but I liked the museum and had nothing better to do.

After an elderly gentleman docent gave me an absurdly detailed lecture on the skeletal structure of turtles, I wandered over to the aquarium’s viewing wall to wait for a highly-touted visitor favorite: fish feeding time. The gathering crowd squeezed together for a better view of the fishy antics. Feeling slightly claustrophobic, I tried to step back, but whoever was behind me didn’t budge. Meanwhile the space in front of me had closed, and I couldn’t step forward. The body behind me wasn’t quite making contact with my backside, but I definitely felt my personal space being invaded. The mini-skirt that barely covered my behind wasn’t helping.

A low voice spoke near my right ear. “Awesome creatures, aren’t they?”

I responded with a barely perceptible nod of my head. This was creepier than I’d expected. What would I do if this was the stalker?

After a few minutes of watching various forms of marine life snatching and gobbling their breakfast, the crowd dispersed. I wondered if the man behind me would make a move. I didn’t have to wonder long.

He stepped alongside me, still watching the fish-viewing wall. I was surprised to see how harmless he looked. Probably in his late thirties, only a couple of inches taller than my five foot four, he was slender, clean-shaven, and handsome verging on pretty. His clothes were Eddie Bauer. His light brown hair was thick and well-cut. The term metrosexual came to mind. A straight guy, apparently, but with a flair for grooming and style. And not creepy in the least.

He turned to me. “Hi. Do you come to the museum often?”

“Once in a while,” I said.

“Do you live in the area?”

“Uh, huh.”

“I hope you won’t think I’m too forward,” he said, “but I haven’t met many people since I moved here. Could I buy you a cup of coffee? Pick your brain about things to do in Timbergate?”

The museum cafe was a short walk within plain sight of staff and visitors. I figured that was safe enough, so we headed for the coffee shop where we found a free table.

“I should introduce myself,” he said. “I’m Arnie Palmer. No relation to the golfer. I suck at sports.”

Holy crap. Of all the fish exhibits in all the natural history museums in the world, Arnie Palmer had walked into mine. He had to be the Arnie Palmer from Manton who popped up in my online search. And he was a guy, so he sure wasn’t Arnetta, but was he Bonnie’s stalker?

“And you are . . . ?” he said.

My mind raced in warp speed as I tried to invent a name for myself. What came out was really stupid.

“Ingrid.”

“Ingrid . . . ?”

Damn, I needed a last name. A lock of hair from my wig tickled my cheek.

“Wiggins,” I said, feeling a little faint. “Ingrid Wiggins.” A waitress came by to take our orders. I asked for coffee and apple pie. Arnie ordered green tea and pecan pie.

“Lots of apples where I live,” Arnie said.

“Oh?” I played dumb.

“Manton. Thirty minutes east of here. Up in the pines. Do you know it?”

“I’ve heard of it.”

“Not much to do there, but it’s cooler than Timbergate, and the rent’s reasonable.”

I took a tiny bite of pie and washed it down with coffee. I was torn between the need to know more about this guy and a yearning to get the hell out of there, but there was one question I had to ask.

“We have a newscaster here named Palmer. Are you related?”

“No.” He shrugged. “I get that a lot, though. It’s a very common name.”

True. I’d discovered that during all those people searches.

I glanced at my watch. “You asked about things to do in Timbergate. I have a couple of suggestions, then I have to be going.”

“So soon?” His obvious disappointment was flattering, and just short of pathetic.

“We have community theatre, a concert series, a convention center, art exhibits, a sports arena, but you said you suck at sports, so I guess that’s out.” I took a breath, trying to slow my rapid-fire delivery. “Anyway, you can get more information at the Visitors Bureau. When you leave the museum parking lot, make a right at the intersection. It’s just down the street.”

“Any singles bars in town?”

“Probably, but I don’t do the bar scene, so I’m not a good person to ask.” Considering my mini-skirt and four-inch heels, he probably found that hard to believe. “It’s been nice meeting you, Arnie, but I really have to go.” I stood. “I’m meeting my boyfriend for lunch at the gun club. He teaches marksmanship there.”

“No problem. In fact, I’d like to meet your boyfriend. I just bought a gun and I could use some pointers. Can I get your phone number? I’d like to follow up on this.”

Mr. Harmless just bought a gun? Great. “I just moved,” I said. “I don’t have a new phone number yet.”

“No cell phone?”

“Sorry.”

He looked disappointed, then brightened. “What’s your boyfriend’s name? I can call the gun club and ask for him.”

Would this never end? “He doesn’t like me giving out his name. He’s a little paranoid. Besides, anyone at the gun club could help you.”

I walked out of the coffee shop, pinched toes screaming in pain, stomach growling protest at the apple pie I’d left behind.

What a fiasco. Ingrid Wiggins with a paranoid, gun-totin’ boyfriend. Not the alter ego I’d have imagined for myself. Worse, I had no hard evidence that Arnie Palmer was the museum stalker. And yet, there was the bizarre coincidence of his name. I sensed there was something connecting Arnie to Bonnie Beardsley, but short of seeing him again, I had no idea how to figure out what it was.

 A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

In Memoriam: Magical Shoes by Gayle Madden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s with heavy hearts that we feature a piece by Gayle Madden.  She recently passed away and we offer our sincere condolences to her husband, Michael.  While we mourn Gayle’s passing, we celebrate her life, a life well-lived indeed.  This is the second of two pieces by Gayle we featured this month and we encourage you to read more of her body of work at her blog, aptly titled The Sweet Life: La Dolce Vita. -Writers Forum Board of Directors

Magical Shoes

by Gayle Madden

Walking a mile in my Magical Shoes

I finally know what it’s like to walk a mile in my shoes!

In January of 2011, my husband, Michael, bought me a new pair of pretty RED ones as a surprise.  The surprise turned out to be I wouldn’t wear them until recently, 14 months later.  But what a sweet walk it was!

The shoes are magical.

Just ask Debbie, our adventurous friend who joined us.  She has a pair of magical shoes, too.

Magical Shoes are made to keep a traveler afloat in a storm.  I wore out my last pair!

You might think I need a really big size to weather my current storm, but part of the magic is that one size fits all.  Another part of the magic is that we all have magic shoes.

What color are yours?

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

In Memoriam: Backpacking the Trinity Alps by Gayle Madden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s with heavy hearts that we feature a piece by Gayle Madden.  She recently passed away and we offer our sincere condolences to her husband, Michael.  While we mourn Gayle’s passing, we celebrate her life, a life well-lived indeed.  We’ll be featuring another of Gayle’s pieces next week and we encourage you to read more of her body of work at her blog, aptly titled The Sweet Life: La Dolce Vita. -Writers Forum Board of Directors

Photo courtesy of Gayle Madden

In what poets refer to as the dead of night, poets who obviously have never slept beside an alpine lake in the high country during a warm summer night, I got up and stepped out of the tent.  I gazed skyward, looking into the purple-black heavens in absolute awe, breathing out slowly, imperceptibly.

Stars hung low, big, bright, too bright to even twinkle, more like a glow.  Silent stars tinkling their songs over the millenniums like sirens, luring, rendering one powerless yet powerful at the same time.  I called softly to awaken my husband, luring him out to see the starlit sky.

He stepped into the night and scanned the sky with the practiced eye of a pilot and the heart of a mystic.  “Look,” he whispered, then nodded.  “The Big Dipper.”

There it was.  Not only huge in the sky but closer than I have ever seen it, dipping perfectly into the outline of the black-inked mountaintops, cradled like a babe held tenderly in arms, resting before resuming its eternal journey in the sky.  It was in that moment that I saw what I had never seen before.

The smooth black water of the lake transformed into sky.  The Big Dipper, along with hundreds of other stars, glowed golden white in the watery sky.  A perfect mirror image of the lights rose from the bottom of the liquid blackness, mysteriously dancing.  I stood frozen in time, gazing into the bigness of nature that man has gazed into since the beginning of man, the Bigness that fills man with a sense of being a part of something greater than himself. There I stood, with ancient man, with every man, filling myself, feeling myself.  More than myself.  Alive.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Harvey by Mary Chase at Riverfront Playhouse

Looking for something fun to do in the new year?  We’ve got the perfect idea.  Writers Forum is selling tickets to the play “Harvey” by Mary Chase.  The play will be performed at Riverfront Playhouse on Wednesday, February 11th at 7:30pm.  Tickets are $20 each and all proceeds benefit the Writers Forum Scholarship Fund.  To purchase tickets, please email writersforumpresident@gmail.com or writersforumtreasurer@gmail.com.  Better yet, buy your tickets at the January 10th Writers Forum meeting.  Tickets purchased at the Writers Forum meeting are only 2 for $30-what a steal!

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the storyline of “Harvey”:

Elwood P. Dowd is an affable man who claims to have an unseen (and presumably imaginary) friend Harvey — whom Elwood describes as a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall pooka resembling an anthropomorphic rabbit. Elwood introduces Harvey to everyone he meets. His social-climbing sister, Veta, increasingly finds his eccentric behavior embarrassing. She decides to have him committed to a sanitarium to spare her and her daughter Myrtle Mae from future embarrassment. When they arrive at the sanitarium, a comedy of errors ensues. The young, handsome, and very flirtatious Dr. Sanderson commits Veta instead of Elwood, but when the truth comes out the search is on for Elwood and his invisible companion. When Elwood shows up at the sanitarium looking for his lost friend Harvey, it seems that the mild-mannered Elwood’s delusion has had a strange influence on the staff, including sanitarium director Dr. Chumley. Only just before Elwood is to be given an injection that will make him into a “perfectly normal human being, and you know what bastards they are!” (in the words of a taxi cab driver who has become involved in the proceedings) does Veta realize that she’d rather have Elwood the same as he’s always been — carefree and kind — even if it means living with Harvey.

Still not convinced?  Here’s Jim Parsons in “Harvey”:

A Message from the President: January, 2015

It is a good month to be a writer.

Our January Program is a recording of a Webinar about Creating an Engaging Premise. Featuring Lisa Cron, author of Wired for Story, The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence, it is a combination Power Point with Live Audio. Lisa Cron has worked in publishing at W.W. Norton, as an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency, as a producer on shows for Showtime and CourtTV, and as a story consultant for Warner Brothers and the William Morris Agency. Since 2006, she’s been an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Her speaking engagements include being part of a student-run TEDx event affiliated with the Furman Creative Collaborative at Furman University (it is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74uv0mJS0uM).

Previewing the Webinar (and maybe editing it for time; the entirety could be available in our members area of our Website), I have already changed my thinking. That is the purpose of TED and its independently run TEDx events—change thinking by exploring the convergence of Technology, Entertainment, and Design by spreading ideas in short, powerful talks 18 minutes or less. Since 2011, Redding has hosted six TEDx events with a variety of topics that initially were held at the Library and have grown in audience size to filling the Cascade Theater. See https://www.ted.com/tedx/events?autocomplete_filter=TEDxRedding for more information.

Hungry? For Global Access to TED/TEDx clips, you can find most on YouTube.

Meanwhile, keep your fingers on the keyboard…