May General Meeting
From Life to Page
Author Catherine Astl-Henshaw will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at Carrollwood Barnes and Noble.
11802 Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33618.
A Tampa Writers Alliance member from a decade ago, Catherine took her life experience and crafted from it two highly informative books on the paralegal profession, which became well-respected college textbooks (a great way to generate streaming income). Then she took her life experience again and turned it into her latest novel, “Three Gates: Lessons in Humility, Virtue, and Honor,” recently released by Brighton Publishing, LLC.
“Fueled by poignant characters and an awe-inspiring journey of personal discovery, author Catherine Astl delivers a masterfully crafted novel—a remarkable tale of revelation and contemplation,” said Kathie McGuire, director of Brighton Publishing LLC. “Paying homage to popular inspirational novels like Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, Astl’s Three Gates: Lessons in Humility, Virtue, and Honor is an emotionally gravitating novel rarely found in the current market.”
Cathy Astl’s powerfully written allegorical tale is distributed by Ingram, the world’s largest book wholesaler, on-demand from the Espresso Book Machine, and in popular e-book formats.
Catherine Astl-Henshaw holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English-American Literature from the University of South Florida and is a graduate of the International Summer Schools Shakespeare and Literature program at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.
Ms. Astl is the author of two non-fiction books, Behind the Bar: Inside the Paralegal Profession and Behind the Bar-From Intake to Trial, as well as having authored over twenty-five published articles. She lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida with her son and husband.
Sandhill Writers Retreat
A faculty of nationally acclaimed Florida authors includes fiction writer Karen Brown (The Longings of Wayward Girls, Little Sinners and Other Stories, and Pins and Needles: Stories); creative nonfiction writer and editor of Florida Review Jocelyn Bartkevicius; poet Michael Hettich (The Animals Beyond Us and Systems of Vanishing); Tampa Bay Times columnist and bureau chief Ernest Hooper; and young adult writer Amy Christine Parker (Gated, and the sequel, Astray). These renowned writers will be joined by Saint Leo writing faculty members Dr. Patrick Crerand, Gianna Russo, and Dr. Kurt Wilt to guide attendees through lessons in craft and imaginative exercises that lead to new works. The retreat will also include a faculty reading and book signing, a reception, and an optional lunch-time open reading for participants. Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch or order a box lunch for an additional charge.
A very limited number of private one-on-one manuscript consultations are available on a first come, first served basis. There is an additional fee for the 15-minute consultation of up to 10 pages of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
Late registration, from May 1 to 12, includes an additional fee of $15 per registrant. To read more detailed information and register online, visit http://www.saintleo.edu/academics/schools/school-of-arts-sciences/the-sandhill-writers-retreat.aspx.
For more information, contact Gianna Russo, retreat director, at (352) 588-8282 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Spring Cleaning is Important
–Sandra Kischuk [email@example.com]
Over the years, I’ve noticed how easy it is to accumulate ‘things.’ A friend goes on vacation and brings back a souvenir from a place where I’ve never been. Another friend gives me something that doesn’t go with a thing in my house. I’m encouraged to participate in a holiday ‘gift’ exchange to receive something I would never have gotten myself. My tables get buried under magazines I haven’t read. I ‘win’ a prize someone has carefully selected from the dollar store. My shelves get full of books I only bought one at a time. I receive one more framed “certificate of appreciation.”
Getting hit with boredom, I think of acquiring that little something, subconsciously accepting the media hype that buying something will placate the gnawing emptiness. Usually it’s just a matter that my body/mind is telling me I need to do something or stop doing something, not a real matter of needing to continue to crowd my environment.
Occasionally, I slip up, and I have one more ‘thing’ that owns me. (We don’t own things, they own us. Think about it!) My excuses? It’s cute, it’s new, it won’t take much space. The reality? If it’s alive, it needs to be fed, watered, pruned, walked, or taken to the vet. If it’s inanimate, I find myself dusting it, washing it, repairing it (or paying to have it repaired), or horrors! replacing it when I wasn’t sure I wanted it in the first place.
If it’s mechanical, I may delude myself into thinking buying it will solve a problem, but guaranteed, it will find the most inopportune time to stop working. After all, the dishwasher didn’t decide to break until it was absolutely full. I have found that if I rely less on some of those things I used to take for granted, my life becomes simplified. For seven years I have done my dishes by hand. The house is quieter.
If I’m realistic, breaking at the most inopportune time isn’t always the case. Years ago, my car died on the way to church. Things would have been a lot more exciting if it had choked to a stop during rush hour, and if I hadn’t been able to floor it into a grocery store parking lot. Later, when I went back to clean the last of my things out of the trunk, the car was still making sputtering noises all on its own. I felt like a crab, shedding a too-small shell, and leaving behind an empty discard. I felt an odd sense of loss.
Shedding the material things in life, the odd little accumulations, gives us the opportunity to grow. Doing without, or not adding things, lets us redefine who we are. But in the redefinition, are you moving closer to who you really are, how the world tells you to define yourself?
What, in your life, do you take for granted that you don’t really need?
What are you adding to your life as a substitute for what you really want?
As a writer, are you letting too much of the outside world define how you should live? What you should do? And how you should define your own happiness?
If you are a writer, the best thing you can do is let go of the confusion, the things, the distractions (mental clutter) and let the writer do her work.
Far better to be owned by your craft than by your things.