Wednesday, March 4, 2020

February 20, 2020

The Meeting began at 6:15 P.M.


Pam Maud, Hardarshan Valia, Al Koch, Dennis Mclean, Sharon Buckman,  Katherine Flotz, Sharon Palmeri, Beverly Stanislawski, Amy Brailey, Marlene Starcevich, Diane Stratton, and Gail Galvin


A vote of approval for the January 16, 2020 minutes was first given by Dennis McLean and seconded by Sharon Buckman.

NOTE: The banquet will be held at Innsbrook Country Club instead of Avalon Manor, which will provide a more cozy atmosphere.  Date TBA.


April 18, Dennis McClean and Al Koch  will be at the Hammond Author’s Fair.  Come out and support them (and buy their books if you haven’t already 😊)

Hardarshan Valia will attend the Big Sur (Oregon Mountains) and Cape Cod Writer’s Workshop.

Sharon Palmeri mentioned the Midwest Writer’s Workshop.  More information to follow

Gail Galvan shared about the 27th Dancing Poetry Contest (Deadline April 15th for entry).  If you win, they will dance to a performance of your poem.  Feel free to apply at

Al Koch responded to Last Sunday’s Arts and Entertainment section’s question about what books you’ve enjoyed.  He responded that he has enjoyed his own book.  So have we, Al!

Beverly Stanislawski had three ranking poems entered in the Texas poetry contest which received two 4th place awards and one 5th place awards.  Congratulations, Beverly!


HARDARSHAN VALIA read a free verse poem entitled “Audacity of Doves” which was based on an idea inspired by Dennis McClean’s writing.  In this poem, he describes how doves dutifully carry on with their obligation of representing peace.

AL KOCH shared “The Gift of March”—a brief history of our calendar and its components are presented for the reader’s review.  The importance of the third month, March, is highlighted and presented with insightful personification and appreciation.

DENNIS MCLEAN presented a reading of “Flatboat.”  While drifting on a flatboat down the Ohio River, Abe Lincoln and Allan Gentry reminisce about their school days.  The speculate on the meaning of the story in the book of Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar casts the three Israelites, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace.

GAIL GALVAN read a poem entitled “Born with a bit.”  Like Mark Twain, we are writers, “born with a bit of his wit” and share our stories and poems.  “We share his love for life’s sunshine and thunders.”

AMY BRAILEY read Chapter 16 of her book entitled Jon Everett and the Hall of History.  In this section, General Braddock’s line is attacked by Native Americans, and Washington’s regiment shoots one of their Indian allies. 

BEVERLY STANISLAWSKI read her three award winning poems.  “Live for Today” (4th place Texas) is a triolet poem (17th century French form where there are two rhymes.  The first line is repeated in lines 4 and 7, the second line is repeated in the 8th.)  This iambic pentameter poem was about not allowing the past to define us.  Her second poem was her 4th place haiku in which a worm tries to escape being eaten.  Finally, “Family is my Hometown” rehearses that there truly is no place like home with family.

DIANE STRATTON read “What’s That You Say?”—a humorous look at old sayings and where they have come from.  So many clichés have illusive meanings.

MARLENE STARCEVICH read a selection of George Joseph the Rescue Cat, sharing her grief about the day her father died.

PAM MAUD wrote a selection entitled “A New Coat” exploring how furniture affects humans and how humans affect furniture.  She examines the stories our own furniture could tell.

The Meeting Adjourned at 8:10 P.M.

Respectfully submitted by Amy Brailey 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

JAN 16, 2020

Katherine Flotz, Beverly Stanislawski, Al Koch, Mike Ripley, Dennis Mclean, Amy Brailey, Pam Maud, Ruthann Graczek, Hardarshan Valia, Marlene Starcevich, Gail Galvan


Philip Wielgus, Diane Alicea 


A vote of approval for the January 2, 2020 meeting was first given by Dennis Mclean and seconded by Katherine Flotz


AL KOCH read his essay entitled “Journey to a Degree” that displayed glimpses of his sojourn to becoming a teacher. It began at age of 23 bringing in life-changing events: socially, economically, and personally. Juggling his way through arduous journey, he was able to fulfill personal responsibilities, obligations, commitments, duties, and promises. However, after more than 50 years, the journey still continues per a stanza in Robert Frost’s poem “ Stopping by the Woods One Snowy Evening:” ‘The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.’

Marlene Starcevich read a chapter from her book-in-progress entitled George Joseph, The Rescue Cat which deals with author’s journey coping with family illness, family death -- and a very special cat named George.  The author poignantly describes a daughter’s dilemma when her 90-year old mother wishes to return back to her own home after recuperating from illness. She reluctantly comes to terms with granting her mother’s wishes. However, dilemma arises when mother asked for one of the two cats that were author’s pet. After much discussion, mother agreed to adopt a rescue cat and proposed the name “George” after her father’s name. The continuity of connectivity to love through generations, and into the future, was movingly presented in this story..

BEVERLY STANISLAWSKI read “The Puzzle Pro” narrating the story of Preston Crawford, a businessman, who has a “silent” battle over a crossword puzzle and the stranger who “stole” his newspaper. The tension builds as Preston is in a race to finish the crossword puzzle before the stranger completes the same puzzle. The desire of revenge overpowers Preston. At the end of the story, the stranger humbly explains his winning strategy to Preston. 

DENNIS MCLEAN read his four short free-verse poems. In his poem  “Directions”  the he laments about the human right abuses that come from all directions.  The next poem, “The Past, the Present, and the Future” describes how broken promises of hope have always been a constant factor in the vastness of time and space.  “More on Time (or Moron Time)” Dennis sheds light on how time creates its own elusive dreams about promises of a better future.  His last poem, “Strange Worlds” ponders upon the perpetual motion of the spirits with no place to call their home.

MIKE RIPLEY read his story entitled “Avoid the Night.” It narrates a mayfly’s flight to the west to avoid nightfall. As nightfall approaches, the mayfly finds beauty of life in the arms of a rose flower. Its end of life metaphor conveyed beautifully that is hard to find in today’s literature. 

Amy Brailey continued with Chapter 15 of her book  Joe Everett and the Hall of History. Marching towards Fort Duquesne, Jon notices Lieutenant Colonel Gage is looking for someone. When two spies return and Gage continues to search, Jon realizes someone has not returned. 

Pam Maud read from Chapter 1, Part 2 of her book-in-progress entitled God’s Fingernail. Linda puts the final touches on the preparation for the family’s last camping trip of the season. In the process, Linda empties a cash box and gives it to her friend without noticing the content of the cash box, which she figures her husband Dale will sort it out at a later date. After the friend leaves, Linda awaits for Dale’s return hoping he arrives early for the trip.

Gail Galvan before reading her two poems “Fiercely at Play” (Dedicated to Max Ehrmann) and “Afternoon Near the Tippecanoe,” She introduced attendees to the writings of Max Ehrmann, American writer, poet, and attorney from Terre Haute, Indiana. He is widely known for his 1927 prose poem “Desiderata” (Latin: “things desired”). In the first poem “Fiercely at Play,” Gail describes how Max Ehrmann’s poem inspired her to heed the simple remembrance of nature’s rewards and heartfelt deeds while taking blissful strides through pathways of her own life. In the second poem “Afternoon Near the Tippecanoe,” the she describes her gratefulness to “all creative life jackets thrown at her during her poetic travels both on land and when tried to walk on creative waters.”

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted by:

Hardarshan Valia, Jan. 20, 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January 3, 2020


Sharon Palmeri, Sharon Buckman, Katherine Flotz, Beverly Stanislawski, Al Koch, Mike Ripley, Bob Philpot, Dennis Mclean, Amy Brailey, Pam Maud, Diane Stratton, Ruthann Graczek, Hardarshan Valia, Marlene Starcevich, Gail Galvan


Philip Wielgus 

A vote of approval for the November 21, 2019 meeting was first given by Al Koch and seconded by Ruthann Graczek


Katherine Flotz reminded members about the membership dues for the year 2020


Beverly Stanislawski mentioned that her poem “Just the Sound of it” received Second Place Honorary Mention in the Florida State Poetry Contest. Her two other poems, entitled “Something Blue” and “Beach Buddies” received Third Place Honorary Mention in the Florida State Poetry Contest.  Dennis McClean has sent his manuscript to The Flying Turtle Publishers.  Hardarshan Valia mentioned about his trip to India where he was emptying his long-departed father’s trunk filled with books and to his surprise he found Hoosier Horizon Children’s Magazine circa 1998-1999 Volume 5 that contained his son’s poem.  Sharon Palmeri then explained the background about the W.O.H. Hoosier Horizon Children’s contest that published winning poems by elementary school students in participating schools of Lake, Porter, LaPorte counties in Indiana and Lake County in Illinois.  She also mentioned that there had been an average of 47 elementary schools who participated yearly from 1993 till year 2000 when W.OH. ceased the publication.


AL KOCH read his essay entitled “2020” that narrated passing of the year 2000 with an amusing look about dire predictions with Y2K ending after 20 years with nothing but a change about date on the calendar about a number 20. He elaborated how the number 20 historically equals a ‘score’ whereas the new year 2020 now can be called “double score.” On a personal level of his, he tied it to good eye vision of 20/20 and how it created hardships during his childhood and the ways he conquered it

MIKE RIPLEY read the opening chapter of “Lake Stories Part 2.” With the first edition of Lake Stories complete, the lake is again the star in the second book in the trilogy.  The familiar narrator opens the winter skating season with a mishap at an ice-fishing hole left to trip up an un-suspecting skater gliding across the ice. He is that skater. The hole traps his leg in the freezing water and has another surprise in store when something underneath the ice grabs his foot and tries to pull him through the narrow hole.

DIANE STRATTON reminded about real meaning of Christmas through her story entitled “Grace Goes Round and Around.” The narration begins with the Faith Formation Director at a church who is busy organizing the collection of gifts for needy. Problems arise when two more people want to donate but there are no more recipients available and also when a gift is provided that can’t be matched to a recipient. Unexpected turns provide solutions to all the problems and grace surrounds them all. 

BEVERLY STANISLAWSKI brought her three beautiful poems that received honorable mention place in Florida Poetry Contest.  The first poem was a free verse entitled “Something Blue” that described how a bride prepared herself using some of her grandmother’s gifts that she herself had used on her own marriage. Getting support from old, something borrowed, how she is preparing to step into the new world filled with love. The second poem was a highly imaginative rhyming poem entitled “Just the Sound of It” that describes various sounds originating in the universe and what role they play while a poet is writing a poem, beautifully summarized in one line “Ears hear what eyes have seen.” The third poem was a free verse entitled “Beach Buddies” that took us through the memory lanes of fun-filled days of childhood spent on a beach. 

DENNIS MCLEAN read “Flatboat” telling of the boat journey along Sugar coast of Louisiana on the Mississippi river that Abe Lincoln took with Allen Gentry in the month of May in 1828. The story shows how Abe and Allen thwarted pirate attempt during the river journey but also describes Abe’s inner feelings and dismay about slavery.

HARDARSHAN VALIA read his free verse poem entitled “Wolves at the Chattisgarh Express” published in The Sikh Review, December 2019. It describes about how a Shakespearean phrase from Hamlet “And to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” was incorporated into his poem.  

BOB PHILPOT continued with Chapter 5 of his novel Strange Friends, Chapter 5 – Double Ranch.” Cob and Zeb on their patrol through the Arizona desert reach a homestead ranch called Hutchison where sheriff’s men were stationed. They were greeted with most of the deputies but with some sarcasm. One even made a crude joke for which both tangled in friendly manner. As the unspoken command held them back, Zeb and Cobb took Sheriff into the next room away from other deputies where each tried to weigh each other’s gestures.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:15 P.M.

Respectfully submitted by:

Hardarshan Valia, Jan. 8, 2020