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    Writers publish treasury of works


    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000

    TARPON SPRINGS -- It's 10 a.m. on a Friday morning, and the members of the group are doing the same thing they always do at this time, the thing they love best.

    They are talking about the written word: a story one group member will have published, a novel by another, an e-novel by another. And, of course, they are talking about the book.

    "Howard, could you sign my copy?" Lee Blimes asks a fellow group member.

    The book is The Spindrift Anthology, a collection of short stories, novel excerpts and non-fiction pieces by members of the Tarpon Springs Writers Group. The group, which has met weekly since 1989, compiled the book recently and had 1,000 copies printed.

    The book is available for $10 at the Tarpon Springs Library, where the group meets, and at some area stores. So far, people who have seen the book have told the writers how much they like the cover, a mosaic of blues and greens. More important, the people who have read it have said they like the stories inside.

    "We haven't had anybody say it's dumb yet," said Howard Jones, 75, of Ozona.

    "We're taking that as a good sign," said Blimes, 52, a homemaker from Tarpon Springs.

    The group took the title from a Dylan Thomas poem, In My Craft or Sullen Art, which refers to "these spindrift pages."

    The stories are works the group has discussed at weekly meetings. During the workshops, writers read their stories aloud and others offer critiques.

    "It is impolite to say nothing about a reading unless one has been asleep during the entire reading, in which case that should be disclosed," according to the group's written rules.

    Some members have been with the group since the beginning, and others started attending the three-hour sessions in recent years. Some are retirees.

    One member of the group, Joyce Palmer, is having a book published by St. Martin's Press. Other people in the writer's group have high hopes for Palmer's writing career, and they joke that Spindrift will become famous because she contributed a piece to it.

    "I figure this is her first published work before her bestseller, (so) this will be a collector's item," said Bob Dockery, 62, of Tarpon Springs.

    Other people in the group contribute to various publications. Louise Bergstrom, 85, who comes to the library from Lutz every week, said she soon will have a novel published on the Internet.

    "And I hate computers," she said. "Kind of ironic, isn't it?"

    Bergstrom has been attending meetings of the writer's group for more than a decade. She wouldn't have it any other way.

    "It keeps me going," Bergstrom said.

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