Strolling readers! Announcing:

Writer at work, work in progress:

I’m a Hawthorne Fellow at the Attic Institute for the period April through August 2012, working on a novel tentatively titled “Penina’s Letters.” The first chapter is now on-line at The Boulevard (Issue # 3), a publication of the Hawthorne Fellows at The Attic Institute. Please check it out, and read the other Fellows as well!


  1. Thanks for sharing this first chapter of your novel. I enjoyed the reading.
    What surprised me at first was Penina’s passivity and the narrator’s ‘only mild’ embarrassment at having the letters read out among the group at the party. But then it emerges how tight-knit the surfer family is. And you peel off the layers. A powerfully emotive theme – how does a soldier bridge the gap from the place where the riptide lands him in a war-zone back to the safe home where time has slowed and is loaded in with longing?
    Some sentences made me pause for reflection, the lyrical image of …

    They fluttered about silently with the wind and like afflicted birds fell into the water.

    The poignancy of: The hollow man does not worry, but neither does he love.

    And bass notes, like:

    “I’m not the girl of your letters, though maybe I wish I was, or could be. She’s too perfect.”

    I would read on.

    1. Ashen: Thanks so much for reading the chapter. The group I’m working with also questioned why the characters don’t show more emotion. Thanks for mentioning the lines. The writing seems to be going good, then there’s the discussion with the group, then trying to make decisions. You think you can’t live without a word, a phrase, a character, then cuts and you immediately regret that but can’t find the context on the cutting room floor. Or no, it’s more like doing a painting, and here are some strokes of color you really like, and then somehow they get covered up, and you can’t seem to get them back. And suddenly the painting is a mess. But writing is not like that, either. You can always add, subtract….D. H. Lawrence apparently had a writing method…he would write a paragraph or even a longer piece then put it aside and write it again, in a completely different way, not even looking at the first draft. I will let you know when the next section goes up! Joe

  2. Joe: Thank you for allowing your first chapter of Penina’s Letters to be experienced. Through your words I was able to visualize the scenes as they unfolded and I didn’t want it to come to an end. I wanted to read on and find out how the last letter was received. The future for Penina and Sal, together or apart, that I might hope may not be what you have in mind, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Comments are closed.