|(with the brilliant poet/writer Esther Leiper-Estabrooks)|
So much has changed in recent months. Not taking into the equation the lurking malevolence of a cranial cyst that landed me in the hospital for four-plus days, those changes have been mostly for the better. We love our new life up here in the Great White North of New Hampshire, our beautiful new-old house, Xanadu
, and the many new friends we've made -- not a full day in town, and I was seated at the monthly meeting of the local writers' group, where it was my pleasure to meet the legendary Esther Leiper-Estabrooks
, who has since become a vibrant source of inspiration. And one of the things that remains the same in this new life is a love for breaking bread and sharing stories with my creative comrades, and so a week after my release from the hospital, we hosted our first writers' group(s) open house, and seventeen lovely scribes -- faces both familiar and new -- graced us with sumptuous offerings of food and fresh pages. It was, in a word, spectacular!
The theme for the day's readings was 'Rebirth' (or variations: 'Spring', 'Resurrection', 'Renewal'). A week after our momentous move north from our former world to this big, bright new adventure, I sat in our living room and wrote a shiny, fresh idea based upon the cobalt blue lamp in our bay window. The story, "Occupy Maple Street", inspired the theme, which seemed appropriate given our renewal here in a formerly sad old house that rises daily from neglect, and now -- dare I think it? -- smiles
as a result of the happiness of its occupants.
The buffet was incredible. Among the many offerings, which stretched around our kitchen (you grabbed a plate, hopped in line, and traveled along counters, stove top, table, and finally the drinks station set up atop our big antique server with the marble top) were: maple-glazed pork roast, baby sausage torts, stacked, stuffed sandwiches, salads (potato, pasta, and green leaf), baby rolls and butter, perhaps the best dip for chips I've ever tasted, creamy mac & cheese, and an assortment of desserts almost too sinful to imagine -- berry pie, pineapple upside-down cake, and delicious little vegan-friendly coconut cupcakes by the fabulous Judi Calhoun, author of the Ancient Fire
series. In honor of the last big writers party
we hosted, I made the same chocolate coconut cake, which suffered a bit of a volcanic meltdown during the baking process. However, there's no cake snafu that frosting can't correct, and it was scrumptious.
While a warm, sunny day blossomed outside the house, and a sweet green breeze stirred the living room curtains, we read our stories, novel excerpts, poetry, and even staged part of a play penned by the brilliant Jonathan Dubey, Arthurian
, which is being performed in town this coming August. Six of us assumed roles and the results were delightful!
|(Writers Kyle Newton and Lorrie Lee O'Neill)|
Five of my favorite writers from my beloved Southern group made the long trek north -- the lovely and talented Lorrie Lee-O'Neill, with whom I share cover space in the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction series
; Philip Perron, who runs the Dark Discussions
podcast; the luminous Brad Younie
and Ralph Mack, and Douglas Poirier
, who always surprises and amazes me with his creativity. The fit with the many creative geniuses from my new home realm was seamless, and many new friendships resulted. The day was about celebrating the writing, and we did so with verve!
And we'll do it all again in September -- if not before!