Writer’s Guild to welcome Simon


By April Pyles - Special to OVP



POINT PLEASANT — “Two Rivers, A World Apart” tells the story of Dr. Mel Simon as a young boy who spent most of his life by the banks of the Pigalo River in his native country, the Philippines, and as a young man by the banks of the Ohio River, both rivers serving as the backdrop of a young boy searching for the American dream.

Members and guests of the Point Pleasant Writers Guild will be hearing the rest of his story from Dr. Simon himself when he appears at the Mason County Library in Point Pleasant, Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 1 – 3 p.m., as their guest speaker. Light refreshments will be offered.

The public is invited to attend and meet Dr. Simon who has served his patients and the community, not only in the local area, but in his homeland. Through his Rotary affiliations, “Operation We Care” was born. Its team of health-care workers have carried out over thirty years of medical, surgical, and dental missions. For establishing the French 500 Free Clinic, the Ohio Governor nominated Dr. Simon for the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame on May 24, 2010. Volunteer physicians, nurses, and health-care givers extended help to poor, uninsured or under-insured patients.

After discussing Dr. Simon’s upcoming visit, members of the Guild turned their attention to one of their newest members, Letha Jones. Jones has received education in journalism and creative writing, as well as certification in counseling, all of which help her write the uplifting articles that appear in Ohio Valley Publishing newspapers. She shared one of her columns entitled “The Box.” Our lives, she writes, are representative of moving day, and for that we need to have a sturdy box in which to keep our fragile treasures. We go along feeling in control of our box, but sometimes the tape doesn’t hold, and shattered china is the result. She recommends that we take those broken pieces and make something new out of them; for instance, a beautiful mosaic table top.

One of her shorter columns is entitled “Life is a Garden.” Sometimes, when weeds take over our lives, we need to till the ground figuratively speaking and start from scratch. It may take some time, as seeds don’t become full-blown grass and flowers overnight. Letha also read a chapter from the book she is writing about people caught in the trap of drug use and abuse. She hopes to give encouragement, through her book, to those who find themselves in this dilemma.

Comparing our lives to something else must have been the theme of the day, as Kris Moore’s essay was entitled “Is Your Life Like a Grocery Cart?” She wrote that some people’s lives roll along smoothly and look clean and undented…like a new grocery cart…but then, with time, it gets wobbly, faded, and squeaky, and has to go to the grocery cart grave yard. All is not lost, however, if the cart still has a good wheel that can be used by another cart. Moral of the story: If we leave behind something good of ourselves, it may just be what another “cart” can use to continue functioning.

Ilse Burris read her essay, “Just Wondering.” She asked herself if people who live through certain periods of history are aware of the importance of what they are experiencing at the time. Having been a child living in Germany during WWII, she and her family and their neighbors often heard sirens warning them of upcoming air raids. The children took their satchels of books and toys to the bunker where they would be safe. The raid might take place during the night when flashlights were forbidden. Darkness was necessary, of course, but it also added to the confusion and fear felt by the adults. Ilsa and her friends, however, were unaware of the seriousness of the situation. For them, it was a time to see each other. If they laughed, the adults made them stop and insisted they pray instead. After one such raid, Ilse and her family returned to their apartment to find that the building had been bombed. Emotions ran the gamut from shock to survival, readjustment, hope, and the feeling of togetherness. For the rest of the war, they survived while living in someone’s root cellar. As a young woman, Ilse moved to America, married and raised a family. She continues to teach English in Mason County schools.

After the readings, Patrecia Gray led discussions on various writing tips including the use of euphemisms. A euphemism is a “nicer” way of saying something unpleasant or which has a bad connotation. For example, an employer may tell his employee he is being let go due to “downsizing” rather than saying he is fired. A person may tell another that he/she has the “Big C” instead of mentioning the word “cancer.”

Those attending the meeting included Carol Newberry, Bob Watterson, Sue Underwood, Patrecia Gray, Kris Moore, April Pyles, and Letha Jones.

The Point Pleasant Writers Guild meets the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Mason County Library. All writers are welcome. The next meeting is Oct. 2, which includes the meet the author event.

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By April Pyles

Special to OVP