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January’s Theme: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY


Sarah Darer Littman -- It was the second book in a two-book deal. The premise was a fictionalized version of a major event in my life, coupled with the 2015 hack of the Office of Personnel Management, in which an estimated 22.1 million people had sensitive information compromised, including information on those who’d applied for security clearance.

I don’t know if it’s because just when I started writing it, my husband and I decided to sell our respective houses and buy one together. I don’t know if it’s because it was challenging to do the necessary research with secretive people. Maybe it was too hard to detangle my own emotions from the book.

Over 12 months, I rewrote that book four times from scratch. Ultimately, we had to scrap it.

I allowed myself a one-day pity party, then started over and wrote DEEPFAKE.

Doris Mady Paintings

Doris Mady -- The first time I was accepted to Greenwich’s Art to the Avenue exhibit I understood that entrants could display 4-6 paintings at a participating store. I had eight. However, my store wanted 30-40 selections and they wanted seascapes! Usually my seascapes are 18” x 24” and I was painting frantically to even get to 30. I wasn’t going to make it with 5 weeks to set-up date!

Then I got the idea: paint smaller pictures. I went small: 6” x 6”. I did three “sixers” in one hour! Whee! I’d make it. Then I realized in my panic, that I felt like a machine cranking out paintings. Not fun. I stopped at 29. My store said, “Oh you’ve got so many, great!” I sold three, (including two “sixers”).

I learned something from my “sixers”. I wish I kept the “sixers”. Paintings 9-29 became a blur. That was the show that “got away from me”.

Libby Collins

Libby Collins -- I loved writing my book, called The Elegant Earth, it show- cased photos from my years of nature photography. Not a word of technology marred its pages. Each page had a quotation from a famous photographer.

A leader of the Santa Fe Book Publishing Workshop I attended was a Senior VP of National Geographic. She saw my book and asked me to submit it. Nice idea, but NAT GEO has a stable of famous photographers who have first dibs at publishing. Worse yet, lawyers told me I had to get permission from every person who I quoted. Nothing daunted, I picked myself up and published the book chapter by chapter in the beautiful internet magazine of the Garden Club of America whose readers are 18,000 strong and wedded to everything in nature.

So, My Book, My Baby proudly walked into the world after all. In my mind, it was way more than 15 minutes of fame.

Jane Brooks -- We took a long drive upstate to choose an addition to our family. She was the most energetic puppy at the kennel. We named her Whygin Ralston Brooks.  Whygin Ralston was her family name to which we added our name. Quickly Whiggie became a beloved member of our family. She loved to romp and run and then look back at us with twinkles in her eyes.  Whiggie was full of mischief and outsmarting all in our family. One day she ran out the front door and never returned, the victim of dog snatchers. This loss was a tragic moment for our entire family. 

Ida England -- After seeing so many Pen Women at the Holiday Luncheon zoom session, Ida felt inspired to write this poem for us. 

The One That Got Away

Our minds so vast and fertile
Creative thoughts there sound
Yet most for’er be locked away
than break the silence found
in the valiant soul that carries forth
Our secret dreams’ desires
Their ardent blazes fleeting
Stilled by ashes that abound

The spark so very fragile
Ignites too few a thought
Propelled by transient joy that’s lost
to mindless battles fought
Oh, hear our cries of longing
To embrace the inner voice
That screams for rare expression
But is quelled by all else wrought

Contained within the boundless vault
The seedlings ripe to sour
Then inspiration’s fragile call
Releases free its power
“A verse, a book, a song,” _it pleas
to break the silent noise
that cripples our intentions fair
destroying all this hour

But wait…these words possessed of will
Defy the clanging fray
And scramble forth to shape a stance
In spite of those that stay
Forever locked in dark despair
With all those mirthless foundlings
and release oblivion to emerge
The one that got away!

Libby Collins




Lee Paine
– 12/12/20
The Ones That Got Away

These daisies were lovely,
so fresh and ephemeral,
with petals like silk,
remembered in memory.

They both seemed unusual,
and clearly a pair,
I put them together
as subjects to share

the scene I had set. With gossamer light,
small shadows and color -
it all looked just right.

With camera in hand,
I took this one shot.
My camera then showed
just what I got!

I checked the meter,
my lens, and the focus -
I tried again,
but what hocus pocus?

The next shot was normal,
as it would look,
if you saw 2 daisies
in a picture book.

What fled from this photo,
on that certain day,
that couldn’t be captured,
I really can’t say.

Did they know they were dying,
did their souls fly away?
Were these ghost flowers
that I took that day?

Connie Newton Stancell

Connie Newton Stancell learned at the very end of November that her paintings, Canyon Rhythms V and Canyon Rhythms XIV, were included in the Art Essex Gallery's Virtual Invitational Exhibition on view from Dec. 1 - 31, 2020 at the Art Essex Gallery, New York, NY, The timing of the notification she received was too late for our Greenwich Pen Women December website update, and so the opportunity to share this happy news is the “one that got away”! This exhibit was judged by George Billis of George Billis Gallery, New York, NY. Above is Canyon Rhythms V, “one that got away”!

Joanne Dearcopp

Joanne Dearcopp -- Bruce McLaren
No, not the man. Rather a biography I started 40 years ago and yet today can’t find any remnants of it in my files. I do, however, remember the concept and title. A Flirt with Death was to be about Bruce McLaren—race-car inventor, designer, engineer, builder, driver, and team owner. I intended to write his story so it would appeal beyond those who followed international motor racing. In an era of specialization, where many worked in a specific arena of a greater whole—a draftsman designs while another builds—Bruce’s success in the complete cycle from idea to glory was unique at the time. Not so today with the inventors of Apple, Facebook and Microsoft experiencing a similar full circle.

As a photographer and personal friend of Bruce and his team, I had an insider’s view of the “circus”. He had won his first Grand Prix race in his designed and built Formula 1 car at 22 and died at 32 while testing a new Can-Am car. I had begun work on the book before his untimely death and perhaps that is what had me abandon the book.

Expressions Gallery Next Month
Pen Women Postings
The Child Poet

Special offer just for GPW from Barbara Ehrentreu: A signed copy of The Child Poet: A Poetic Galaxy for Children by Brenda Mohammed and Barbara Ehrentreu. $6.00

Delightful poems for young children and adults.  Each poem has a deep underlying message for kids. Both authors used their invaluable experiences to formulate poetry using a series of literary methods to educate children. The book contains of poems about celestial bodies, nature, family life, the importance of books, weather patterns, and a variety of other interesting topics.  With picturesque illustrations, this book is a valuable addition to the library of any child. A great tool for teachers. To arrange for a pickup contact

Roberta Seret

Gift of Diamonds by Roberta Seret is the first book of Transylvanian Trilogy. Her publisher, Wayzgoose Press, will publish all three books from March to April 2021. However, there is a special pre-order opportunity on Amazon and in Barnes & Noble Bookstores, to get an early book. Click here to see the Kirkus Review. Visit Roberta Seret's website:

Hint of the Month

“In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.” ~~ Rose Tremain