Last weekend, I traveled to St. Louis to attend a meeting of Saturday Writers, an active Missouri Writers' Guild chapter. The program had been scheduled for months, but an unexpected and especially virulent ice storm nearly caused me to cancel the trip. The roads were clear, though, by the time Bob and I drove the four hours on Friday. The farther north we traveled from our log home in the Ozarks the more beautiful the forest became. What a winter wonderland! For miles and miles, ice on the trees reflected in the sun like foil. That was the good news.
The bad, of course, was that so much of the area, including the city, was without power and many cars had been abandoned in deep drifts of plowed snow beside the Interstate. But power was on in the St. Peters Community Center on Saturday morning when the winners of the annual Young Writers contest arrived with their teachers, parents, and grandparents to accept their awards.
I made a few remarks to encourage the kids to continue writing, handed out their awards, and showed them some of my own writing, especially HARVEY GIRL. Later, I spoke to the writers group about doing research to write a historical novel. HARVEY GIRL has both Southwest and Missouri connections, partly because St. Louis claims Fred Harvey as a once prominent businessman. Many in the group had eaten at the Station Grille in St. Louis Union Station, which is now a shopping mall. The Station Grille was a busy Harvey House. It's open today and continues to display evidence of its former "Meals by Fred Harvey" history.
I signed copies of HARVEY GIRL before thanking Saturday Writers for hosting the event. After I got home, I found that my sonnet "Jabborwocky II, the Sequel" had taken Second Place in its category in the annual Green River Writers (Kentucky) contest and that two of the Saturday Writers I'd met had placed in the contest with a limerick and humorous fiction. Congrats to Donna Volkenannt and Doyle Suit, one of the judges of the young writers contest. Also, thanks to Margo Dill-Basinki, who organized the program, and to the other Saturday Writers who helped in many ways. By the way, my other sonnet, "A Tale of Two..." took second last year in the same contest. Both will be published in the Missouri Association of Teachers of English (MATE) Literary Magazine in 2007. I guess it's time to write more sonnets.