Ode to The California Writers Club: The California Writers Club is our oyster, And we writers the pearls being polished within her. Stephany Spencer 2016
2016 marked the 30th anniversary —
The Pearl Anniversary of the California Writers Club,
San Fernando Valley Branch. For thirty years, this club has been our oyster ranch, And we members pearls growing within her dance. Polishing and developing daily our word-writing romance,
Some works now fairly sparkle and glimmer, Like well-crafted word pearls enhanced till they glitter, Reflecting our club’s lively oyster-shell shimmer. So thanks, California Writers Club —
Thanks for letting us join your Oyster-Ranch “dinner.” Stephany Spencer 2016
I’m so excited to tell you my California Writers Club, San Fernando Valley Branch, has produced another Anthology, this one in honor of our club’s 30th anniversary.
The following quote, taken from the Anthology’s Introductory pages, sizes up our Anniversary Anthology well:
“This collection is a testimony to the power of words, and to those gifted writers who have run them together like strands of precious pearls. Essay, poem, short story — each one sings out and captures our imagination … and our heart.” Victoria Zackheim (Author, Anthologist, Playwright, Educator)
“Through this anthology of short stories, imaginings, and poems,” says CWC Editor, Rita Keeley Brown, “our current members share their adventure of writing.”
A quote from Truman Capote, taken from the back cover of the anthology, aptly sums it up: “What I am [we are] trying to achieve is a voice sitting by the fireplace telling you a story on a winter’s evening.”
I’m so proud to say, I, myself, got my act together, followed my poem’s advice, “Dare to fail, or fail to dare do well,” and submitted three poems for this Anniversary Anthology.
When you buy our work of wonders, you’ll see these entries, as well as many more pieces written and submitted by our club’s gifted and creative writers.
Below is the cover of our Anniversary Anthology, “Cascade of Pearls,” sold on Amazon.com.
Here’s hoping you enjoy it as much as I who am presently snuggled up by the fireplace in the process of reading and reaping the rewards of time well spent within its pages. ~ Stephany Spencer
“Civilization is social order supporting cultural creativity.” Will Durant
*The following picture elicited the poem: “A Letter to My Art Teacher.”
This is a poem I wrote to Mr. Webb, my Hurricane Jr. High eighth-grade Art teacher (because he said he was going to lower the grade on our Christmas-scene assignment if he saw erasures!)
I always got an “A” on my art work. But was very worried I would end up with a “B” on the picture you see below because I had to erase a number of times in an effort to correct the airplane wings. I didn’t succeed, as you can see! But the strong emotion involved in the whole project elicited the following poem: “A Letter to My Art Teacher:
Dear Mr. Webb:
If you’ll take mercy on my age, You’ll excuse the mistakes on this page; But look at it and like it not, The blood in my veins will be running hot!
I thought and I drew to get an “A,” And I expected it to be that way. The smudges and the creases that you see Were made because I didn’t want a “B.”
Don’t see the badness; the goodness instead. I drew it all with a pencil lead. The idea didn’t come from brain, But I drew it’s all just the same.
Isn’t it wonderful? I think it is. The dolly was made for sister Liz; The drum was made in honor of Ted — He does so admire purple and red.
The rest was made because the idea was that way; I think it’s the very image of a Christmas Day. I know, myself, the airplane is queer, But to leave it out would ruin the design so dear.
Of course, if you don’t give me an “A,” It only means you didn’t see it that way. But I spent a very long time on it. For hours it seems that I did sit, Trying to make the whole scene perfect.
If you knew how hard it was to do, You’d take mercy on my age — My inexperience too; You’d think of it my way, And in your grade book You’d mark another “A.”
Note: It seems my lyrical letter worked: Mr. Webb gave me an “A.”
Then wrote a little poem of his own to say:
“You’ve been an outstanding student every day; Your pictures are good and well worth an ‘A’.” Mr. Webb (That made my day!)
(The following is the original poem, written on the back of the above picture. Following this handwritten lyrical letter are some of the pictures I did in art classes, from ages twelve through fourteen.)
I’m sittin’ alone in the moonlight, At the Heartbreak Hotel Café, Abandoned by women and men; And here’s all I have to say, “I’ll never eat garlic nor onions again — Not till my dying day —
NOT if it drives possible friendships away,
Miraculously keeping romance at bay!”
By Stephany Spencer
“One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd, Three on the sidewalk is not allowed.” Anonymous (But have you ever noticed in “Big Love” they might Be doing it behind your back — or closed doors? Step on a crack and try to keep track!)
Please, God, don’t let me be a fruitcake this Christmas; I don’t want to be eaten by one either! Stephany Spencer
When it comes to online dating, If you’re lookin’ for a mating, The odds are good That the goods are odd; So “wrots of wruck” with your mate-baiting! I won’t be holding my bag waiting.
Longing for a Soulmate No More
I used to long for a Soulmate, But I don’t long anymore, ‘Cause I damn well know in my core Who’d get stuck picking up after him … Plus a whole lot more!
For that same reason, In my “Golden-Sage” season, I no longer dream of Mr. Wright Nor a shining-armored knight; I’ve learned they’re all fairytales – No one’s coming to save me;
For sure, no horny, hairy males! And Stupid-Cupid least of all: Cupid’s but Libido and Nature
Having a ball. At long last, I’ve come to see My soulmate’s the other half of me; And it’s well that this should be. So I’ll leave my fate to God,
And what will be, we’ll see!
Me, Myself, and I
Sittin’ alone in the moonlight, I heard a lonesome cry; It must have come from within; There was only me, myself, and I!
Then I chanced to ask it,”Why? Why?!” Spoke the voice in soft reply: “’Because, wherefore, and therefore; That’s why!” So I gathered myself up with a sigh, To face the great by-and-by and cry, Because, in reality, there could only be Lonely me, myself, and I.
By Stephany Spencer (Written at age 14)
Bimbo Speaks: “Love may be blind,
but jealousy and envy sport
wide-angled telescopic vision
with binocular hindsight!” Stephany Spencer
Says Bimbo: “Who cares if four-inch heels Give you bunions, Backaches, ‘n’ achin’ feet?
What’s important is yer legs Look long ‘n’ sleek, And yer ankles slim ‘n’ petite!” Stephany Spencer
“There’s a vast amount of undeveloped territory just below my fancy hat ‘n’ hairdo — right betwixt me ears two!” Stephany Spencer
The Bimbo Class
My claim-to-fame is shoppin’, ‘Cause most parts of me
Are perfect ‘n’ hoppin’; So if it’s all the same to you, I’ll keep right on a-boppin’
In my fancy hat ’n’ updo; Let the intellectuals study it,
If they want to — And the undeveloped matter
Under it too!
But in “Alice, Through the Lookin’ Glass,” It didn’t matter where The Mad Hatter had ‘er — nor ‘er class; An’ it doesn’t matter a hair To the hare, either, what I do — So don’t be a “hare-up-my-ass”! (Well, did you expect better
Of the Bimbo class?!) Stephany Spencer
A Bimbo-Breakthrough: Old age ain’t for sissies …
And neither is bein’ a woman! Stephany Spencer
Bio Ballad of a Cult Survivor: My Bio in Verse, for Better or Worse (by Stephany Spencer)
1-I was born some time ago, way out in the sticks,
In a Mormon cult in Mexico, in nineteen forty-six;
By the time I was eleven, we were a family of twelve;
For everything I ever got, I had to dig and delve. Refrain: Dig and delve? Yes, dig and delve. For everything I ever got, I had to dig and delve.
2-We lived among the hicks; created toys out of sticks,
But we thought we were the best — God’s chosen people!
This was the only life I knew, all the while I grew;
To pass God’s tests is what we were here to do.
Chorus Oh, a hick! Yes, a dad-gummed polygamist hick,
Born into a cult, “Plyg!” was the ultimate insult;
But how was I to know someday I would grow
And leave it all behind, that stoic life of woe? Refrain: Life of woe? Oh, misery and woe –
So I left it all behind, a better world to know
3-A masochistic life of hell we all did sow —
It was the only world I’d ever know,
Till one day I did find these people were all blind —
And sniffing after some false prophet’s behind!
5-So I escaped this fanatic cult — left it all behind;
Into the world I went, a whole new life to find;
I settled in LA, and found a better way;
And now I am a Graduate of UCLA.
6–When I fled the polygamist cult, wasn’t sure what to expect; Times were hard and the wages were too low.
But I kept on keeping on, though progress was slow;
‘Twas better than I got in Old Mexico.
7-Now here I am today, living in a whole new way
From the backward one I started out with; I’m grateful for each day, and the good ole USA,
“You’ve come a long way, Babe,” I tell myself each day. TAG: I am a cult survivor, you sure could say — And a thriver in every way!
* NOTE: I have taken some of my pieces that were published in the California Writers Club’s newsletter, when I was their Program Chair, and put them on this page, sans the full newsletter they were published in.
Sadly, when I copied and pasted my pieces to this page, the photos, color, etc., did not copy and paste here. Therefore the publications mostly look very drab. What a difference images and color make!
California Writers Club – SFV “Serving the writers of Greater Los Angeles”
– established since 1983 –
Vol. XXI, No. 4 www.calwriterssfv.com December 2007
Local Agent Lands Writers on Oprah
By Stephany Spencer
Look out December! Our guest presenter will be literary agent, Sharlene Martin, of “Considerate literary management for the 21st Century.”
The importance of a pre-query game plan will be stressed, as will an outline of the essential elements of effective queries that will generate positive responses.
This event is bound to be barrels of fun, while still offering sound advice. You’ll walk out equipped to generate query letters that truly invite interest. And you’ll find that the sense of knowing how to do it is a sure confidence-booster for the “pitch fest” to follow this session.
Since founding Martin Literary Management in 2003, Sharlene has mounted spectacular successes for her clients, including over 60 non-fiction sales to such major publishers as Crown, Penguin, Putnam, Rodale, St. Martin’s, McGraw Hill, Ballantine, Harper Collins, – and many boutique and independent publishers. She’s boosted clients in Readers Digest, People Mag and the London Times.
Examples of her success in the industry are her client’s book, “You’ll Never Nanny inThisTown Again.” It hit the New York and LA Times Best Seller lists in 2006 and was recently optioned to E!- Entertainment for development as a sitcom. And Brad Cohen’s book, “Front of the Class,” is now in development with Hallmark for a television movie.
In the past year alone, her clients have made appearances on The Today Show, Oprah, The View, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, The Apprentice, 20/20, Discovery Channel, Inside Edition, Donny Deutsch and Fox News.
So come touch base and break bread with the Agent who might be your lucky star. And let’s all look forward to this December. □□
She will share secrets for big-time connections that could make you a star. And she really knows; one of her clients was a guest on Oprah.
Says Martin, “Crazy Queries” is sure to be the best advice you’ll ever get on what NOT to do with your writing career.” Get ready to laugh while you learn from first-hand accounts of misguided queries.
You’re guaranteed to chuckle at queries that make truth stranger than fiction. Says Martin, “Some will seem as if the writer can’t possibly be serious, and some will make you wince to think any poor soul ever thought their letter would get them an agent.”
* * * * * * *
By: Stephany Spencer
Coming In January…
Anthony Flacco: True Crime and Crime Fiction…
“True crime” is all about getting the story rights; choices of action and character are secondary. Crime fiction is all about getting the story right; choices of genre and style are secondary.”
Anthony, an award-winning author, orator, and actor, with a screenwriting background, frequently gives seminars on crime writing. He is a featured speaker on writing for writers’ conferences and clubs. Look for an interactive seminar, answering many commonly asked questions such as:
1- How does one handle legal matters and agreements with the person one is writing about?
2- Do you always need to cut in the person you are writing about?
3- Just what is a sellable idea?
4- How do we find common ground in the True Crime/Non-Fiction market?
COMING IN FEBRUARY...
Kitty Dill: Award-winning Journalism Editor
This will be an exciting interactive seminar wherein Kitty will not only answer your questions about writing Press Releases, getting your pieces on “The Hub,” or in the Ventura County Star newspaper but will also expound on what to do when “60 Minutes” shows up at your door.
These upcoming seminars are sure hits, with something for everyone — so come enjoy, and help make our afternoon a real hit, yourself, by your own presence there. Ciao till next time!
California Writers Club – SFV “Serving the writers of Greater Los Angeles”
– established since 1983 –
Vol. XXII, No. 1 www.calwriterssfv.com January 2008
Who’ll be the Next Star on Oprah? By: Stephany Spencer
Happy New Year to our valued members and guests of the Greater Los Angeles California Writers Club!
We’re starting out with a great program this January 12th featuring the inimitable husband and wife dynamic duo, literary agents, Ashley and Carolyn Grayson.
Dr. Scott Sonders and I have reviewed the web pages of their literary agency and we are impressed and excited with what we see: Ashley and Carolyn Grayson represent literary and commercial fiction and some non-fiction for adults: including business, self- help, scientific, pop culture, true crime, and mind/body/spirit.
They also represent fiction for younger readers. Clients on their fiction list include Isaac Adamson, John Barnes, Andrew Fox, Barb and J.C. Hendee, Bruce Coville, J.B. Cheaney, David Lubar, and Christopher Pike.
The Grayson’s are both members of the Association of Authors’ Representation. Ashley is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And Carolyn is a member of Romance Writers of America.
Since our membership especially appreciates an interactive production that informs and entertains, we know you won’t want to miss the January 12th presentation.
So with that said, let me end my “piece” with this extended “peace” to everyone:
Happy New Year, CWC!
Two-thousand-eight is here,
We’re another year older;
Our membership has grown;
Our writers are bolder.
As we enter this new year,
Let’s make a resolution
To attend our meetings
And be “The Solution.”
And let us spread good cheer
By welcoming each member;
‘Cause, when it’s all said ’n’ done,
That’s what we’ll remember.
Well, happy new year, everyone!
(poem by Stephany Spencer 2008)
Scott A. Sonders, President George Hirai, interim VP1 Debra Zednik, Secretary James Ganatta, Treasurer
Venita Louise, Membership Chair, Stephany Spencer, Programs Chair,
Richard Deets, Critique Groups Larry Fazio, Events Manager
Mike Austin, Development Chair Olivia Mohler, Hospitality Chair Patty Foltz, Webmaster
Farah Khalid, Videographer
Scott Sonders, State Rep2
Lenora Smalley, SFV Spokesperson Bruce Zacuto, Sergeant-at-Arms
Leila Morris, Editorial Megan Masten, Outreach Elizabeth Jaimes, Hospitality
1 also: Editor of the Scribe
2 also: VP of the CWC-Central Board
FAST FORWARD, by Stephany Spencer
Coming in February – Kitty Dill:
Award Winning Journalism Editor…
This will be an exciting & interactive seminar. Kitty gives the inside view about writing and submitting Press Releases and getting those releases into newspapers. She ought to know, she’s an editor for the Ventura County Star and their internet “Hub.” Kitty will also titillate on what to do when “60 Minutes” shows up at your door.
Coming in March – Linda O. Johnston: Attorney and Romance Writer…
A practicing attorney armed with a double barrel shotgun, a B.A. in Journalism and a Doctorate in Law! The amazing “Linda O!” juggles her busy schedule to write in the afternoons and teach in the evenings. We’ve long awaited the info she’ll share on the legalese involved in writing. BONUS: bring your questions about writing PR, mystery and romance.
By: Stephany Spencer March 2008
March 8th will spring into action on the green, while we greet you with a “top o’ themorning,” as gifted attorney, teacher, and writer, Linda O. Johnston, will testify to the legalese of writing… the Do’s and Don’ts that could make or break your writing career.
Linda now lives overlooking Lake Hollywood – the perfect place to turn anything into a Romance, Suspense or Mystery novella. Meanwhile, her two dogs protect her from any real danger – while her Muse has her way with her. And that generally happens every afternoon when she escapes the realities of the true crime at her law office and indulges her fantasies in such endeavors as her latest Kendra Ballantyne,”Pet-Sitter” that recently sold to Silhouette Nocturne.
This amazing “Linda O!” has the writers’ enviable double-barrel shotgun: a B.A. in journalism and a JD degree from Duquesne.
Her writing career began by running a small newspaper. Then she worked in advertising and Public Relations and later moved into her Law Practice. As if that were not enough, The multi-talented Linda also has avocations in writing, speaking, and teaching.
A member of the Mystery Writers of America (Sisters in Crime) and Romance Writers of America, we are pleased to have Linda O. Johnston regale us with her Leprechaun magic and lucky charms. I plan to bring my bag and capture some of it, myself, to take home. It sure beats a trip to Ireland to try to acquire some! ◊◊
Hi! I am Stephany Spencer, Poet, Lyricist, Memoirist, and Musician — a professional Jackalin–of-many-trades. And a retired teacher on her endless summer. Welcome to my own little corner of the world-wide-web!
As we speak, my fledgling Website continues to grow as I continue to develop the skills of a Webmaster, Blogger, and Photoblogger. It’s work so fun, I doubt it will ever be done!
For I do love the creative process — The “one-on-one.” I’m thrilled to share it with you here on my very own little online block of the globe:
My valuable virtual acre of Internet realestate!
I’m looking forward to connecting with you. Till then, feel free to click around and scroll down on this blog site, and also on my Menu Bar, to become acquainted with my Website. It was lovely chatting with you. If you are a follower of my blogs, that’s even lovelier!
Till next time, then, be well and cheers! Your Host, Stephany Spencer
PS: Please note:
Ever a Creative, the world is my oyster
and I a pearl forming within her.
Life is my canvas on which I purposely
paint and spin with gusto,
All the while it takes me along to
new dimensions — then hopefully on
to her “pearly” gates and within!
I have learned: “If you rest, you rust” —
You either live or die. Bob Dylan so aptly reminds us
of this in his lyric line
borrowed from the late great
singer-songwriter, Woodie Guthrie: “If you aren’t busy livin’, you’re busy dyin’.”
And So here’s to life! I’m tryin,’ yes, I am — And though I ain’t thru cryin’, “L’ Chaim,” and cheers, ~Stephany Spencer
PS:On another note,
I am the proud progeny of
a long list of writers and poets: I’ve inherited a bit of their giftedness
for writing verse, for better or worse. This is my double-edged sword:
A gift and a curse.
But Life goes on, comes and is gone … “Sail On,” says my California Writers Club emblem. Now if you look closely, you may see me sailing on, “Writing” “write” now on a song! So “write on”!
“Dwell in possibilities,”
said Emily Dickinson. These possibilities are all that
keep me from falling off
As I get along! Stephany Spencer
Ode to The California Writers Club
The California Writers Club is our oyster, And we writers the pearls being polished within her. Stephany Spencer 2016
2016 marked the 30th anniversary of CWC-SFV, Wherein the California Writers Club has been our oyster, And we members pearls growing within her; Daily being polished till we sparkle and shimmer With illustrious word pearls that glimmer ‘n’ glitter
“Write on” to vocabulary perfection. Stephany Spencer 2016
Advice for Creatives:
Dare to fail or fail to dare! That is, take it on a dare: Dare to fail to do well.
For you must first dare to fail, Or you’ll never discover
If you can do anything well! Stephany Spencer
Advice for Creatives:
To do well, first dare to fail —
or fail to dare do anything well!
Buoyed when Pressfield encouraged creative works,
My own creativity now no longer shirks;
I’ve ceased hiding my light beneath lampshades;
Because today I dare call spades, spades;
I’m beginning to finally face my muse
And my own creative juices use.
‘Tis said one must “paint badly” to paint well;
Or dare to “write badly” to tell a tale;
Where our creative works will lead,
If we but follow our beckoning heed,
We never can know nor can we tell;
All we can do is dare to fail,
In order to find out if we can do well.
In other words, we must start somewhere
Our powers of creativity to share and wield — “Resist resistance,” stresses Steven Pressfield,
In his inspired work, “The War of Art;” If we don’t dare fail, we’ll never start, Never write the book of our heart;
Never let genius do its part.
So dare to break through the blocks:
Whenever your amazing muse knocks,
Win your inner creative battles
By daring to fail to ever do well;
The final outcome time only can tell.
But it’s worth the effort to give your gifts,
For you discover and fulfill yourself as well,
When you create art and tell your tale. Stephany Spencer 2016
1- “Point Blank:” The point at which all thought leaves the frontal lobe
and one comes face to face with writer’s block.
(Author unknown — Dan Pointer?)
2- “Point Blank:” The point at which one’s pen comes face to face with
an empty frontal lobe shot through by the bullet of writers’ block.
Most creatives who’ve achieved monumental fame First had to master their dynamic domain. Stephany Spencer
A song is nothing but a poem set to music. Stephany Spencer
~ I was sixty before my dormant creativity Picked itself up from the doormat Where it pretty much played a passive act … For forty years, to be exact.
( Stephany Spencer)
~ I was sixty before my dormant creativity Picked herself up from the doormat, Dusted herself off and began to shine — After having lain there for forty years Collecting the dust and cobwebs of time. Hallelujah!!NowI no longer need
an X-Ray Machine my muse to find! ( Stephany Spencer)
~ My creativity lay hibernating thirty years In the dusty cobwebs of time, Before it picked itself up and came back out Into the light of day to shine; Now I no longer need a flashlight
my amusing muse to find! ( Stephany Spencer)
~ “Think in terms of possibilities.”
This quote I wrote — I wrote this quote:
Yesterday’s sorrow is the humor of tomorrow; In other words: Today’s sorrow is grist For the humor mills of tomorrow.
Please Note: I wrote each quote; Though the concept has been around a long time, ‘Twas moi who put it to rhythm and rhyme. (Stephany Spencer)
Innovation The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones. ~ J M Keynes
I’m a poet and I know it, But my feet don’t show it: They’re not “Longfellow’s;” They’re “short fellows“! (Stephany Spencer)
Hi, everybody! It’s now January 28, 2018. You have probably noticed my Website and postings continue to undergo a metamorphosis … In other words, they change as I experiment to see what speaks to me and you — what works best now that I have been at this Photoblogging since June 27, 2016.
I’ve now decided to concentrate on writing my Memoir, rather than spend time editing and typing my loads of handwritten poetry, prose, quotes, and anecdotes. This project must be put off. There’s simply too little time for the “Jackalynn-of-many-trades” that I am.
I would love to do everything all at once: edit and type my presently handwritten poems at the same time I’m writing a book and keeping up my Website and all else.
But creating a Website and Photoblogging takes time and is something one builds gradually. The same goes for getting my poems and my books out there.
Though Rome wasn’t built in a day, a part of me wants to build my Website and blog site that way — or at least by the end of this month!
Websites can be a static thing — Set them up and leave them be, depending on what you use your Website for. But blog sites are a different species, an ongoing process. And the whole experience entails a huge learning curve.
So bear with me as I continue to turn that bend. And as I curb the time spent writing blogs and publishing poetry so as to concentrate on getting my Memoir written and published. I hope to see you at the end of the “curve” … or bend!
To dare present your creative works
to the world
And see your artistic creations unfurled, You must start by daring: Daring to fail
And daring to do well,
Or fail to dare do anything well;
Daring to fail is part of daring to do well.
Buoyed whenAuthor StevenPressfield
Encouraged creative works,
My creativity now no longer shirks;
I’ve ceased hiding my light beneath lampshades;
Today I daringly call spades, spades —
I’m beginning to finally face my muse,
And my creative juices use.
We must “paint badly” to paint well,
And dare to “write badly” to tell our tale;
Where our creative works then lead,
Should we follow the muse’s heed,
Artistic natures never can tell;
We can only face our fears and dare to fail,
In order to discover if we can ever do well.
But if creativity we are to wield
We must “Resist Resistance,”
Stresses Steven Pressfield
In his work, “The War of Art.” That is, Creatives must somewhere start In order to their creative gifts impart.
If they don’t dare fail, they’ll never start … Never survive the writers-block dart …
Never write the book of their heart;
Never do their creative part.
So dare to break through artists’ blocks
Whenever your amazing muse knocks.
To win your inner creative battles,
You must do it on a dare: Dare to fail …
Or you’ll never find if you can ever do well.
Daring creates an artistic outpour;
Time only can tell what’s next at your door;
But it’s worth the effort to face “Resistance”
And give your gifts, despite its insistence,
Because you discover and fulfill yourself,
And countless others as well,
When you create your art
And tell your tale!