Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas/Happy Chanukah/Happy New Year. Whatever holiday you celebrate, FOA wishes you peace and creativity this winter.

Our winter project will be creating four 4’ X 5’ canvas panels for Webster House.  We have 6 artists committed for this project.  If you are interested in painting, please contact our treasurer, Linda Feinberg, for design guidelines. Initial sketches are due January 15th.

When the canvases are finished, we will need help mounting and hanging the panels. If you are not a painter, perhaps you would like to help with that. If you are a photographer and would like to see your photo as a painting, please contact Linda for guidelines. If you have materials (or cash) you can donate for creating the panels, that would be appreciated too.

Take a moment to enjoy this beautiful prayer. Deep Peace video with Judy Collins and Richard Stoltzman:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Guest Blogger-Author Joe Smiga

In late October 2005, my wife and I discussed what I might do when I retired.  To make a long story short, she suggested that I write. “I can’t write was my response.”  She reminded me that I wrote a column for the Parable magazine every other month on interfaith issues.  She also told me of all the topics I wrote for the The Jewish Reporter in the past.

She had me, how could I say no.  So at her suggestion I took an English Composition Course at Manchester Community College.  At first it seemed funny being sixty-four and sitting in a class of all young twenties.   By the time I completed my first writing assignment those feelings of awkwardness left me.  I started to enjoy writing.  It took six assignments to complete the course. Getting an A made me realize maybe I can write.

Joining the NH Writers Project I took a workshop on writing short stories.  Near the end of the period the instructor had us create a scene in five minutes, a man and a woman had to be in the scene.  We could use any of the topics she had written on the board during our two hours.

I chose to write a clandestine spy scene between a man and a woman in a booth in the dark shadows of a bar. At the end of five minutes, she told us to stop and asked for volunteers to read their scenes. Two women promptly volunteered.  They were given great comments about their work.

Since no one else volunteered I said to myself, ‘Oh, what the hell, I’ll read mine.’ The instructor’s first reaction to what I wrote was, “Wow!”  Then she gave me some good suggestions and also asked me to stay when class ended.

She told me I have the ability to create good writing skills.  She suggested I continue to write and see where it leads me. Arriving at home, my wife asked how the class went.  I told her and she asked to read the piece I wrote. Upon reading it, she asked, “You wrote this in five minutes?” I replied, “Yes,” to me it was no big deal.

Her next statement was, “No short stories for you.  You need to start that novel you’ve been talking about.”

“Behind the Lies,” was published in May of 2009.  John Clayton of the Manchester Union Leader read the book and printed a review of it in the October 19th paper of 2009.  He gave the book an excellent review and to shorten it for you said the book is worthy of Tom Clancy’s writing.

All I could say was “wow” myself.  Today, I am retired and currently have seven books published. I also do motivational speaking and management consulting.

Joe Smiga    Author-Writer
511 Pickering Street
Manchester NH 03104-2747
603-645-6762  (Hosts all of my books where you can obtain an autographed copy.) (Joe’s Blog)  (Publisher’s Site where you can order e-books)