Tag Archives: critique group

Meet The Mayor of Crazie Town

Hello, my long-lost readers.


You weren’t lost, I was.

???? Lost

You may be asking, WTF?  Why did The Mayor go from writing a hilariously funny and entertaining post every week, to barely a dozen over the last two years?

That is an excellent question and one I’ve been trying to answer for…well, the last two years.

I could tell you a lot of stuff happened, like:

My dad died,

and then;

My favorite aunt died,

and then;

My dog died,

and then;

We moved into the house from hell,

and then;

My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer,

and then…

And then, I got stuck in Child’s Pose.  Literally.  Knees to chest, forehead pinned to a yoga mat.

My first yoga class in years and, unable to stand in Warrior 1, 2 or 3, I folded myself into Child’s Pose to wait for a position I could manage.  The problem became apparent immediately.  Once I arranged myself into Child’s Pose, huge crocodile tears rolled down my face and plopped onto the mat.  As the puddle of tears grew, the salty drops splashed back up onto my cheeks.

“Let’s continue our Vinyasa,” the teacher murmured to the class while tucking a pile of tissues next to me.  “Downward Dog…to Plank…to Cobra.”

I pushed up to try a Downward Dog but, the tears traveled upside down across my forehead and added to the growing dark patch on my purple mat.  Back to Child’s Pose, where I continued to weep silently until the class was over.

That was it.  I’m done.

I’m actually tired of being sad.

Khalil Gibran wrote: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

I figure by now, my life can hold a shit-load of joy.

For example, this brings me joy.

Blue Mayor

I’ve spent a small fortune at Shutterstock and thought it would be better to pay an artist I’ve actually met.  This is a creation from one of the extremely talented members of the WTF Critique Group.  Annie is an artist, a writer, an art critic and a world traveler.  I hate her awesome talent.  I think she has awesome talent!

I asked her to make a drawing that looks like me but add a top hat.

Done and done.

Meet the Mayor of Crazie Town. She confirmed that hilariously funny and entertaining blog posts will soon follow.


What Have They Got That I Ain’t Got…Courage!

Besides my small wonderful WTF Critique Group, I also belong to a larger group of professional writers.  We meet once a week to talk about writing and then the moderator reads someone’s work and the entire group has an opportunity to critique it.

Last semester the moderator read a heart-wrenching story about a young boy who was raped by his father.  It was graphic and uncomfortable and I squirmed in my chair, at the same time, admiring the beauty of the work.  At the end of the story, the moderator asked for critiques.  The subject matter wasn’t anything I felt comfortable with critiquing, so I kept quiet.  The oldest woman in the room raised her hand and said in her thin wavering voice, “I think it would be more realistic if the box of condoms was in the dresser drawer instead of being on top of the dresser.”  She was right and I admired her for being able to distance herself from the emotion of the story and focus on the mechanics of writing.

A few weeks ago, a soft-porn piece was read.  Again, I was too embarrassed by the story to even imagine critiquing it.  The young woman in our WTF Group raised her hand.  “Oh, no,” I thought.  “Please don’t encourage this guy.”  Like the writer in the previous story, she commented on the mechanics of the story, all the while talking about jiggling bottoms and erections.  It was the right way to critique the story.

Another time a story was read that was peppered with the “N” word.  I sat uncomfortably through the first few times it was used, but then got up and walked out.  I returned after the story was finished and sat down next to another member of WTF.  He raised his hand and courageously stated his feeling about the use of the word and then went on to suggest ways to make the story better without it.

I admire these people greatly, for having the strength and fortitude to disengage their emotions from the story and Be A Professional Writer.  It is something I’m aspiring to be, but it seems, right now, I ain’t got the courage.

Hurts So Good

I’ve had my head bent over my computer for…well, for way too long now, trying to get to the end of my novel.  YIPEE! – –  I got to the end.  CRAP! – – now I’m back at the beginning.

All WTF Critique group members agree – the story doesn’t open in the right place.  I’m starting to think this writer’s gig is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Because I’ve barely left my computer lately, I haven’t been out in the world enough to add a new Crazie Town event so I’m doing the next best thing…posting an excerpt from my book – Also named Crazie Town.  Just in case you’re getting confused, my blog is true, my book is not — mostly not — okay, it mostly is.

Here’s a true event that I included in the book.  My dad (Max Grosskopf in this story) slipped and fell at his farm.  I (Genny in this story) managed to push, pull and prod his large body into my car and drive him to the emergency room.

A woman in a white lab coat walked into the room carrying Max’s X-ray.  She slid it into the slot on the light box and flipped the switch.

“It looks like a broken ankle to me,” she said.

“Really?  Are you sure?” Max asked.  “Maybe we should wait to hear what the doctor says.”

“Mr. Grosskopf, I am your doctor.  I’m Dr. Morris.”

Max sat back in the wheelchair and stuck his hands out in front of him. “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.  No one ever asked me if I wanted a girl doctor.”


“I’m just saying, they should have you fill out a form or something saying you agree to be treated by a girl doctor.”

Genny thumped her head with her palm.

Dr. Morris frowned and through clenched teeth said “I’m the only doctor available right now, Mr. Grosskopf, and even though I’m only a girl, I’m sure I can manage to put a cast on your little broken ankle.”

“Is this going to hurt?” Max asked.

“Certainly more than it needs to,” Dr. Morris said and walked out of the room.

Hunkered Down

I’m in the home stretch – or is it ON the home stretch? – Anyway, I’m hunkered down working to finish the re-write of my novel.  Some of you may have been around when I celebrated (prematurely) the completion of my book.  After my WTF Critique Group got through with it, I realized it was anything but complete.

I have been putting in long hours, bent over my computer trying to come up with new and interesting ways to “replace adverbs” and “fix the passive voice” and most devastatingly of all — rewrite the entire ending.  I really thought ending everything with a hugely [adverb] large and devastatingly [repeated adverb] intense fire was [passive voice] a great ending.  Unfortunately it’s been done before…and done and done and done.

WTF Critique Group challenged me to write something new and to dig deep and to…Oh, god, I hate to say it…open a vein on the page.  That’s my standard line and can you believe it?  They used it against me.  I mean, WTF?

No really, What The F**K am I going to do?