Monday, December 14, 2009

Meeting minutes for Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our November 12 meeting featured Starshine Roshell, voted Best Columnist in the Independent’s 2009 Reader’s Poll. She started out by saying she loves speaking to writers, and she loves to hear “I love what you do.”

Her recipe for successful writing includes a balance of creativity, discipline, patience, and intelligence among other things. She aims for refined wordplay and rhythm. Her goal is to create an unusual voice, a recognizable style, like one of her favorite writers Keith Spencer Waterhouse. Because she has little patience, she needs to hear the rhythm in her writing to be satisfied with it, and encourages writers to read their work out loud. “It’s not what you say, but how you say it,” Starshine said. To illustrate this she read from her book, Keep Your Skirt On.

She relishes bad experiences for material for her columns. Other story ideas come out of conversations with her BFFs and from posting questions on Facebook. But sometimes after sending her columns off to her editor she thinks, “What did I just say?” She feels a rush by saying things other writers are afraid to. These columns get responses and get her invited to church. Some of her readers say, “it must be so hard, you must be so brave”—she says she’s not. She just speaks before she thinks. An example of this is when she used to work for the News Press, but wasn’t part of the first wave of employees to leave the newspaper. At that time, when her former co-workers asked her why she hadn’t left yet, she said, “I think I have more balls than brains at this point.” But this style of writing is working for her because, as she said, “People like to hear uncensored talk.”

One of her heroes is Erma Bombeck and like the best-selling columnist/author, Starshine writes about her family. As a result her husband’s basketball buddies rib him, but her son likes being famous more than being cool. As long as she makes a living by writing about them, they’re happy.