Category Archives: Meeting Notes

Two Words

At the meeting of the writing group on 4/14/16, the writers completed an exercise where they each wrote a story based on two words they drew out of a bag. Here are their stories:

(Elvira’s two words were “boat” and “sinks”)

Boat                 sinks
no life preservers
women and children lost
the poor —       they don’t exist —
the Mongans die
together —
because of an endearing LOVE

Band director –           play
so those left will hear
angels’ voices
Tears –                        regrets
“I should have taken the other ship
but I wanted history!”

So, terror in the cabins
leads to:          music
Let’s find         the Goods
and become
Boat                 sinks
People die
People cry
Pointed fingers
Never              bring                them back

(Sally’s two words were “boat” and “hose”)

I rented a small boat to go fishing. It was a small lake, but I heard it was pretty good if you wanted to get your supper cheap (well, renting a boat, and getting tackle and bait isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s a good way to spend the day). I threw my line in and waited.

Not anchored, the boat drifted a little, but that was okay with me. After an hour my line got hold of something. I started to pull it in. Whatever was on the like wouldn’t give in. In fact, it was moving the boat towards itself.

Finally I was able to bring it in. “Ah, supper,” I thought. But when it came to the surface, supper was not in sight, only an old torn up hose. As I pulled it out, there was supper. A small fish came sliding out into my lap. I could have done better at the super market.

(Vicki’s two words were “tree” and “seed”)

From a little seed a tree will grow. But the seed alone can’t create the tree. It needs good soil with nutrients in it, water, and sunshine. And it needs these things in the right amounts – too much water, too little water, too much sun, not enough sun, sandy, poor soil – any of these things can cause the seed not to grow into a tree. And then sometimes even when everything is perfect – along comes a rabbit and eats that wonderful green sprout – and then, no tree!

Afternoon at the Center for Creative Photography; coffee at Bentley’s

Monday, July 13, 2009

While the United States Congress and Sonia Sotomayor began their display for the American public, and the Tour de France cyclists discussed the possibility of a strike at the start of stage 10 in Limoges due to their objections to a proposed radio ban at stages 10 and 13, Lend-A-Hand Senior Writers paraded themselves among the famous  — Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop, David Hockney, Yoko Ono  — through a stunning exhibit of portraits by the late Robert Mapplethorpe, photographer.

Portraits’, an exhibit currently showing at the University of Arizona, Center for Creative Photography, allowed each of us a moment to peek through Mapplethorpe’s lens. His self-portraits offered a glimpse, too, of a life cut short by an untimely death.

Although it may not appear (by our serious portraits) that we had a good time, we did! The show was informative and interesting– a dramatic exposition. Later, we hopped the elevator to see the Ansel Adams and other photos, upstairs. Then it was off to Bentley’s for refreshments and chatter. Wonderful afternoon! We plan to meet again this Thursday morning, this time at the Mid Valley Athletic Club, just south of Broadway, on Tucson Blvd. We’re signing up for Silver Sneakers! More to come. . .

July 6th, 2009



A wonderful meeting packed with writing and sharing, a little yoga, and, of course, food! Michele presented us all with a writing exercise that caused us to think about economizing our words, to become succinct and then very specific about our thoughts. Excellent!

We shared our writing, which was naturally the highlight of the afternoon. Liz, our newest member, shared her thoughts about the groups’ recent experience at the De Grazia studio.  Betty, Ruth, and Jim also wrote about the trip. Betty read a crisp reflection on the Winterhaven Fourth of July celebration, and her piece called A Nightmare in Reality’ … which it was! If you could only imagine being stranded in 103 degrees F… .

Planting seeds for all of us, Jim wrote and read his quick piece personifying seeds (a great pleasure, as always), and simply by coincidence, Betty had written a piece about Jim called The Master Gardener’! Could it have been planned any better? Read and enjoy them both here. Then, let us know if you think they planned their work together, or if the two just happened to be thinking along the same lines.

Ruth has added Chapter 9 to her book. She taught us what was meant by the expression “born under the veil”… Do you know what this means? She read the chapter’s first draft to us, and says would like to work on it a bit more — so that it more to her liking. You will all have to wait patiently to find out about ‘the veil’ and the new adventure before it will be posted here. Unfortunately, Ruth’s elbow still pains her from her fall. The pain affects the speed and duration of her writing, which she does all by hand.

To check out new work by individual authors, click here.

Come Join Us. . .

We have a good time!


Summer Session has begun… but it’s not too late!

Senior Writing Project

Lend-a-Hand: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

2848 N. Mountain Ave

Tucson, AZ. 85719 248-6882

For further information on joining this writing project, or for transportation to the writing group’s meetings, please call one of the following people:

Jim 405-1291

Michele 248-6882

Lesley 302-5517

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s up the Canyon we go

May 11, 2009

Sabino Canyon Day Trip… And so we did. Two of us could not, for one reason or another, make it on our fieldtrip, but three of us did and we had a spectacular experience. (Yes, we missed our friends and spoke of them during the entire excursion… we even brought them souvenirs.)

Spottings of the Northern Cardinal and several other birds were noted at our lunch spot at Tram Stop No. 6. We met a few people there, as well.

Two of us took off our shoes and waded in Sabino Creek. The water was warm.

We had a jolly ride up and back on the Tram and wandered about the Visitors’ Center in the cooler air. Perhaps the evening spin up the Canyon on Laura’s birthday is in order!

May 4th, 2009


Ruth is Back!

What a lovely surprise to see Ruth at our meetings, once again! As some may know, Ruth had broken her elbow in a fall and has been slowly but surely recuperating. The fall apparently hit hard so it has taken a while for Ruth to get back in the swing of writing her book. Be sure to read her latest chapter, “Wading In the Ocean”!

Jim reports that he has been having fun with writing stories from ‘given’ words. He and Laura’s son have been exchanging lists of ten words each, only to compose short vignettes with those very words. “It’s tricky stuff,” Jim tells us, and he enjoys it immensely. He read two.

Betty’s daughter Wendy has returned to NYC, so Betty writes “Alone Again”, a heartwarming piece about all that’s changed. She also talked about the harrowing journey home for Wendy… a nightmare of weather too bad for flying and airplane delays.

Next Monday we will be on a fieldtrip to Sabino Canyon; our tram ride is in order, along with a picnic lunch; more on this upon our return.

Writers’ Update

April 20, 2009


Back at our usual meeting place, Lend-A-Hand Senior Writers conducted business as usual… well, almost! We discussed changing the time and or date of our upcoming Tea, but decided to leave things as they were. We talked a bit about what we could do and say to encourage other Seniors to join us. We’ve decided to offer a writing game and talk about our experiences in the group during the Tea. How better could we encourage others!

Jim and Betty both read their latest work, which had obviously been prompted by our recent trip on the City bus to Downtown Tucson and the Main Library. You can read and enjoy these under New Work on their individual pages.

Speaking of field trips, Jim brought a list of ideas for future excursions we might take and Betty set a weekly itinerary that included something for us to do each morning. I know of no better writing prompts than our experiences with the world! So, we shall go and we shall do, and at the same time we’ll read and read – all about the world and, in that way, ourselves. Then we shall write!

Next week Ruth will be back with us and we will meet in the usual place to do some long awaited catching up.

Celebrating National Library Week

American Library Association’s celebration of National Library Week, Sunday, April 12 through Saturday, April 18.

Today’s meeting was an outing to the Tucson-Pima Main Library, Downtown. We took the SunTran city bus (well, most of us did), and the drive was just a pleasure. It was a lovely breezy day – not too hot and just perfect for our short walk to the Café 54 on Pennington Street, for lunch. It was there that we discussed Wilke Collins, our future writing excursions, pick-up trucks older than Laura, the neighboring City High Charter School, and the delicious tomato-basil soup on the bill-of-fare.

While at the library, Jim picked up a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and a flyer containing a short history of Tucson’s downtown area. It was full of surprising and interesting facts about local buildings and the businesses they replaced. Jacome’s Department store stood where the new downtown library now does – Steinfeld’s not far away. The old Main Library was located in the same building as the Children’s Museum does now. Betty recalled window shopping at Cele Peterson’s and parallel parking on downtown streets, long ago.

Our next meeting will be Monday, April 20th, at the Church.

Lunch at Green Things Nursery



March 30, 2009

Fresh air, luscious fruit, great conversation, and wonderful writing, shared; can you beat that combination? I think not.

Lend-A-Hand Senior Writers’ fieldtrip to Green Things Nursery was simply a brilliant afternoon experience – a gentle breeze graced our company under the ramada where a table had been set for us. Thank you, Jim, for your suggestion to have lunch in such a lovely atmosphere.

The writing we shared was equally captivating: Betty’s piece on the environment (Earth Night) stirred much talk about sustainability and using our common sense to reduce waste contributions. Laura brought up several authors currently writing about similar topics. Jim’s latest vignette, Games People Play, is posted on his page – wartime, childhood memories, and well worth the read (as usual).

So good to get together and to have Sherri back with us after her absence last week. Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 6th. In the meantime, it’s the usual trip to the library on Friday. Thanks, Laura! You are truly beautiful! (and your fresh pear pie: seductive!)

2nd Session Reflections…


After the completion of Session 2, Lend A Hand Senior Writers were again asked to reflect upon their experiences with the group. Here are some of the things they had to say . . .

Question: This group session was useful because:

“It’s useful to me because it gets me out of the house and I like to talk to people.” ~ Jim

“Encourages me to get out — develop new friendships; I enjoyed new ideas. Makes me stop in my tracks and ponder what I read, what I hear, what I see. Thankful — how thankful I am.” ~ Betty

“Communication between students and teachers develop. Different areas of writing presented; different ways to prompt writing.” ~ Vivian

“I really felt I was seeing more insight into writing.” ~ Ruth

“Friendships deepened.” ~ Sherri

“It allows for time to write and share.” ~ Lesley

Question: This class taught me _________ and/or helped me to better understand . . .

“It has helped me with description in my writing.” ~ Jim

“. . . much: how reading develops a motivation to try writing — how words I read pop up in what I write. Writing for me is truly addictive — always was — always will be.” ~ Betty

“Develop my writing [based on] what I learned in Session 1 and improve. Learned how to expand [my writing]; to use the computer [for my writing]; to write more objectively and connect the story with description.” ~ Vivian

“Writing isn’t just putting sentences together; it’s more — much more. [Good writing] puts the reader at the scene with feeling that appeals to their senses.” ~ Ruth

Question: If I could change one thing about writing group Session 1, it would be . . .

“I love the group just as it is.” ~ Jim

“Not a thing! Truly, not a thing. Lesley is terrific — encouraging, humorous, brilliant in organizing prompts — ‘Gentle editing!’ ” ~ Betty

“More writing, less chatting, especially when we are writing. Have difficulty when others talk and writing is required in class.” ~ Vivian

“Perhaps if we had longer sessions, more could be accomplished. Seems the time just flies.” ~ Ruth

“. . . the two meetings I missed!” ~ Sherri

“Increase the allotted time.” ~ Lesley

Question: If I were to compare Sessions 1 & 2, I would say I enjoyed Session __ more because . . .

“Session 2 because of seeing my work on the computer.” ~ Jim

“I have totally enjoyed every moment; I look forward, all week, to Monday. The laughs and the constant chatter are a true blessing in my lonely life. I’m learning much about writing — much about great literature — and I’ve made good friends.” ~ Betty

“Session 1. More people had concentration during class. Session 2 was friendly and educational, yet frustrating at times due to not enough focused time or clarity of homework.” ~ Vivian

“I enjoyed both classes equally.” ~ Ruth

“Session 2; everyone’s more comfortable with each other — more relaxed. ~ Sherri

“Each session had its value and place in the evolution of our writing group.” ~ Lesley

Question: My goal(s) for group Session 2:

“To really do a lot of writing on my novel.” ~ Jim

“For the group to continue forever. For the facilitators to know how truly helpful they are.” ~ Betty

“To develop the story. To take the descriptive writing and create a story that develops into something longer than one or two pages.” ~ Vivian

“Perhaps to further my writing and completing my book (a mystery). Maybe copyrighting it and putting it on the Network with the help of Lesley and Sherri. I really appreciate all their work and effort.” ~ Ruth

“To do more writing myself.” ~ Sherri

“To work on plans with enough reading and writing materials so that our group may continue to meet, ‘a thousand times’.” ~ Lesley