My first Renton Writer’s Salon Meetup.

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Held in Evergreen building, on September 18th 2016

 

When I come to USA, my greatest thrills are the books, travel and the ‘meet-ups’. – Besides meeting my family and friends of course! Firstly, Seattle is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Spectacularly beautiful! Well, staying in Renton, nearby this time, meant that I looked up a meet-up which is closer to ‘home’. What attracted me to this group were the comments of the members. Specially the words “Let us help one another answer the question: “How to finish my project?”  perhaps, I’d get the right incentive to complete my next four books? I expressed my interest to attend online, and immediately I was accepted as a member. (In spite of my funny pic next to the magnolia flower, which was most un-writer like).  I was so happy.

Well, the Evergreen building was just fifteen minutes’ drive, and it was spooky inside. I mean NO ONE, except these two gentlemen going into the elevator. So, Nataliya and I got in, (I was dying to ask the gentlemen if they were also going to the meet up) but kept my mouth shut for once. Well, Nataliya and I were going to the cafeteria which we assumed would be the meet-up place. (There had been no indication online, about the room. I guess, it was assumed that everyone knew, we had assumed, there would be an announcement at the reception. There wasn’t.) So, when Nataliya and I stepped out of the elevator, on the fifth floor, we saw the gentlemen going into a room with ‘conference room’ written above, and as we looked inside, we saw, some friendly looking faces. So, we asked, and yes. Here it was.

A relieved Nataliya bade me good-bye, she would pick me after two hours. She told me on the side, “I’m feeling very motherly towards you!”  I whispered back, “that’s how I feel towards my own parents too!”

The two gentlemen sat across from each other. Bob, short for Robert W. Cabell at the head of the table, and John C, was seated next to me. The two spoke across the table about that mornings’ under- water film-making session. Then, Bob showed us the ‘promo’ of his up-coming book about mermaids, on his laptop. It made me feel out of my depths with the stuff they were so excited about. The funny parts were laughed about where the wig of the model mermaid in the water, kept floating up… looking like another squid!

There was the question about “A video for a book?” Suddenly, it felt so right.  Well, if songs can have videos, why not books? – Sounded logical to me.

Bob started the session with the introductions giving the new comers a chance first …. Nicole Scoggins, was working on first draft of her first novel. It’s about love, and being single wasn’t helping much. Then it was my turn to introduce myself. I tried to make it brief by telling them about the 700 articles and 4 books published so far. They all listened with so much interest that I had to stop myself from going on and on.

Then, introduction of the regular members present began: Jo J. Adamson, a writer of plays, poetry and novels. She has several stage plays to her credit, as well as a few television programs. She found the humorous ones were the most popular stage plays. Jo believes that learning never ends, and is open to learning new aspects of the craft.

Frank, a police officer who has retired after thirty three years, is now writing his first book about a famous serial killer in this area (everyone nodded, they knew him- yes, the green river killer). Frank has chosen the challenging perspective of writing from the killer’s point of view. He was involved in the investigations, and has known the details of it. The killer was caught after Franks’ retirement.

John was the one in shorts, and a blue shirt. He had written a travel article on Istanbul. When it was published he was asked by someone, “Why didn’t you write on a more interesting topic?”  “What would you suggest?” John asked him, “well, you could have written about stereos!” was the answer! John is basically a poet, writing a series of poems which are ‘zombie’ poems which include different aspects of different topics. Several of them are humorous and others are satire.

On my left sat a cute young girl named Rose Christine North, and she is writing a comic book on strippers. So, that was an interesting aspect of being in Renton. Bob then mentioned how he had known some of them, (male ones) who would come over to his wife and his hair salon in New York. Some would tell how, they are trying to save money to study in schools and colleges. Several lived in Canada, so no one there knew, how they earned in New York! During earlier times, women who earned their money through such means, called themselves seamstresses.

Next to her sat golden haired Stephanie. She showed her book which she has recently published called Displaced. (I felt sure I had seen it displayed in Amazon Books yesterday). She said it was based on her experiences when she was helping Somali refugees here in USA. She felt that in some ways we all are displaced in one way or another. I’d love to read her book.

Bob or Robert W. Cabell – which is his actual name in the gray shirt- the organizer of this meetup, sat and spoke in his casual way, giving us small insights into his very colorful and experienced world. He had just moved  to Renton, last year,  after spending thirty-three years in NY.

Nicole Scoggins, wasn’t satisfied with her first draft of her book about love.  She feels as if … maybe, its’ not good enough? I shared my experience with her, how when my publisher (Zaheer Salam, of Ferozsons) saw my book he said, its’ too large, and each chapter can become a book. So, sometimes the professional editor or publisher can find a good solution, and save your book from getting dumped by you.

Bob added, that one of his books was written with over four hundred pages, and had to be cut down to just a hundred and fifty seven pages.

“Aren’t you scared, if some good parts might get cut out?” I asked.

“Well, one can keep those for the next novel!” said Stephanie.

Earlier, when I had introduced myself, Bob asked me to name two of my favorite articles out of the 700. I pointed out the Belgrade one and the one called ‘Children of a lesser god’ which were very close to my heart. -The latter being on the subject of suicide bombings.

There were snacks on the table, which everyone enjoyed. When Bob spoke, one had a hard time digesting all that he did in his thirty three years spent in New York where he acted on stage, and was a journalist. He prepared documentaries and worked for places like Princeton University. Where, he once got a project to document 22 seminars taking place almost simultaneously.

The topic of this meeting was related to ‘how to complete one’s project’, Bob’s points were great where he suggested that its vital to cut out all distractions, and remove ‘higher and unrealistic expectations’ from one’s own self, and to get on with the job at hand. “Take what you have and do what you can in the shortest possible time.” He said. It is so true. Somehow, all of us have met people who say “I will write a book one day…” Bob continued, “if you have fifteen minutes, use it. If you have an hour use that.  Don’t sit around, thinking ‘if only I had more time, if only  life was more perfect, I’d do it.’ One has to make the best of whatever one has right now.”

If any of you want to see their website, here it is: http://www.meetup.com/Renton-Writers-Salon/members/2024903/

Do keep that laptop of yours, busy with your next project – whatever that maybe. Stay blessed and keep smiling!

 

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