Archive for July, 2010

The Idaho Writers Guild is open for submissions from August 1st to August 15th. Any genre, theme, or style that strikes your fancy. The winning entries will be published here on the Idaho Writers Guild blog.

The Details: Entries must not exceed 500 words. Winners receive publication of their work on the Idaho Writers Guild blog. Submissions will only be accepted from current members of the Idaho Writers Guild. Email entries to IdahoWritersGuild@yahoo.com. Write “Submission” in the subject line. Include your full name at the top of your entry, which must be included in the body of the email. No attachments please. Only one entry per member. Entries must be received by August 15th.

Winning entries will be selected through blind judging by Guild board members. Winners will be notified and entries posted on the blog throughout September.

Questions? Contact IdahoWritersGuild@yahoo.com.


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The bike

Is your friend.

It was made for this.

I keep my arms

springy and soft

like the shocks.

I try to stay

supple, light,

in control.

Erin flies ahead

down the hill.

She is younger

and faster than I am.

The trails have

nice names

like Sidewinder,



a sandy trail

that climbs

through the open

treeless hills.

I listen to Erin

in exactly the opposite

way that I listen to other

people, which is to tune them






without really trying,

speaks wisdom.

Whatever direction

you are looking,

that is where you’ll go.

Stay loose and light.

Don’t change gears

while pushing hard

on the pedals.

We ride past  

scattered patches

of  Bachelor’s Button.

Blue and white.

We pass the sage,

and desert grasses,

waving back and forth

with a quiet, airy sound.

All the hills: ablaze
in that almost neon,

but subtly softer



new growth.

When we reach

the top of a ridge,

the city spills out below us.

See how far you’ve come!

The bike makes it easy,

like a friend who gives

you tips and speaks

to you in tiny kernels of truth

that may be small enough

for you to manage.

When Wisdom,

comes to you,

The sages say,

(not the ones shaking in the wind,

though maybe those too)

you should listen.

When Wisdom wanders up

and down the path,

calling out,

you should heed her words.

Over time,

you’ve heard a lot of

what passes for wisdom:

“What you need to do…”

“If I were you…”

“You know, it’s true…”

But, that’s not wisdom,


Just opinions.

Wisdom is gentler than you


and less expected.

Sometimes it arrives

when you’re ready

to soak it in.

Like a friend who says,

“What do you want to know

about mountain biking?”


Stay loose

in the legs

and arms.

Shift your weight


when climbing,


when descending.
You won’t lose your balance.

Don’t worry about hitting the brakes.

Just don’t hit them when you’re

in a turn.
Don’t worry about the rocks

and roots and bumps in the road.

Look ahead, where you want

to go, and you’ll just roll right



-Melanie Mendenhall is a freelance editor.  She enjoys writing short stories and the occasional poem.  Melanie is learning to mountain bike in her spare time.  Thanks and congratulations to Melanie!  The IWG Blog will open up to submissions again on August 1st.

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Register now for the “Write by the River” Writer’s Retreat in Garden Valley, September 17-19.  This year’s speakers include Anthony Doerr, Alan Heathcock, Gretchen Anderson, Amanda Turner and Elaine Ambrose.  You don’t want to miss this fantastic opportunity to learn, network, and write!  Garden Valley is a one-hour scenic drive from Boise.  For more information about speakers, activities, or to register, visit www.ElaineAmbrose.com.

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   “Take our picture.” Roxie handed me the Polaroid, then posed next to the gaunt, hairless child whose skin was the jaundiced color of an old bruise. The two wore matching black tee shirts that said, “Locks of Love–2000” in neon pink letters, and each of them held onto opposite ends of the three-foot-long white braid that had just been lopped off of Roxie’s head. I was still fanning the photo when Roxie pulled me over to the styling chair where the kid spun herself one way, then another.

     Roxie caught her in mid-spin. “Lindsey,” she said, holding onto the chair’s armrests, “watch this.” Roxie plopped into the styling chair next to the kid and shoved a pair of clippers at me. “You don’t expect me to shave my own head, do you?”

     Roxie didn’t flinch as the last patch of hair slid down the satin chair cloth and onto the floor. “What do you think, Lindsey?” she asked, running her hands over pink scalp. 

     The kid showed her teeth and gave Roxie a thumbs-up.

     “I’m keeping it like this until you get better, then we’ll grow out our hair together. We’ll see who can grow it down to her butt first,” said Roxie. “But until then,” she said, hoisting the braid the way an angler holds a prize catch, “we’ll get your new hair dyed blond and have you looking like one of them Olsen twins in no time.”

     The kid and Roxie were in a close tie, both having grown their hair out for about two months before the kid’s cancer came back with a vengeance. After the kid died, Roxie refused to let her hair grow past that one-inch point. She bought a few dozen wigs, got really good at making store-bought hair look home grown, and brought in the Girls to model her goods. 

     The Girls, a tribe of swan-necked mannequin heads, looked down their noses at me from lighted pedestals that lined the shop’s far wall. Whether they wore a cascade of rich chestnut waves or a frizzy helmet of old-lady curls, their unspoken disdain was a daily reminder that I was little more than an aging, doughy lump of imperfections.

     Roxie tried to get me interested in learning how to fit wigs. I told her I was too afraid of screwing up a $400 hairpiece, but the truth was, I was terrified of being around these women and whatever caused them to lose their hair and flock to Roxie for a fix. 

     And so I left the Beehive Hair and Wig Boutique, driven out by my own phobias and a wall full of judgmental mannequin heads.

-Congratulations to Dene’ Breakfield and thanks for submitting “Beehive.”

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The IWG Blog will open for submissions again August 1-15th.  Send your submission of 500 words or less to IdahoWritersGuild@yahoo.com.  Any style, genre, or topic that strikes your fancy.  Winners receive publication of their work on the Idaho Writers Guild blog.  Submissions will only be accepted from current members of the Idaho Writers Guild.  Write “Submission” in the subject line.  Include your full name at the top of your entry, which must be included in the body of the email.  No attachments please.  Only one entry per member.  Entries must be received by August 15th.  Winning entries will be selected through blind judging by Guild board members.

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The Idaho Writers Guild and The Cabin present

“Leaving a Legacy of Words”

Book Signing and Panel Discussion

Saturday, July 17, 2010, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Cabin, 801 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, Id.

Panelists: George Klein, Rachel Tanner, Jean Terra and Angela Meuser

Moderator: Diane Ronayne

When it comes time to leave a “legacy of words” to family, friends or the whole world, how do you get the job done and who can help? Senior authors George Klein and Rachel Tanner will share their experiences and sign copies of their books at this special event, which includes a panel discussion and lots of audience interaction.

Klein began writing for publication in the 1990s, well into his retirement years. Tanner started with an essay published in 2000, and went on to write a book-length memoir published in 2005. They will share what they have learned and how they made their way through a variety of publishing processes. Editor Jean Terra will discuss the art of editing with sensitivity and respect for the author’s unique voice. Publisher’s representative Angela Meuser will describe publishing services available to writers.

As Klein observes, publishing has profoundly changed over the last 20 years. “Today, you can publish your own story. I want to emphasize the opportunities older people have to leave some record of their life and doings. You may be hesitant to start, but help is available, and if you have a story to tell, there’s no time like the present to begin.”

Idaho Writers Guild members with expertise in writing, editing and publishing will be available to answer questions. The event is free of charge; the authors’ books will be available for purchase.

George Klein, 97, wrote The Nuremberg Funnel, Idaho-German Tales (1996), Hard Times and Happy Days: Memories of the Great Depression (2006), and Pardon Me! (2009). He served six years in the U.S. Army during World War II, in both Europe and the South Pacific, attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel. Returning to Idaho, he served as mayor of Grangeville, then moved to Boise to become State Director of the Farmers Home Administration. From 1971-1977, he was field representative for U.S. Sen. Frank Church.

Rachel Tanner, 88, a well-educated, world-traveled great-grandmother, spent her youth in England between WWI and WWII, operated a wireless during WWII, and has lived and worked as a librarian in New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. Following publication of a biographical essay in Elder Tales – Spirited Women Over Sixty Tell Their Stories (2000), she wrote a memoir, From Eye to I – Growing Up in England: 1922-1945 ((2005). She lives in Caldwell.

Jean Terra, 79, has been in the “word business” for almost 50 years as a journalist, free-lance writer and book editor. She was the first editor of Sun Valley Magazine and the first woman press secretary for an Idaho governor. In addition to those by Klein and Tanner, since 1999 she has edited numerous books on a variety of topics, most recently Charting Idaho Nursing History (2009), I Remember: A Memoir of Nazi Invasion, Forced Exile and Concentration Camp (2008), Out of Darkness: A Wholistic Healing Journey Into the Night (2006) and three novels by Howard E. Adkins.

Angela Meuser, 32, sold her first article to a national magazine while in high school, then studied journalism at the University of Oregon. In addition to articles and short stories, Meuser soon will have two books released – the first by Summerside Press in December, the second (a middle-grade novel) by Blooming Tree Press in 2011. Meuser founded IDAhope Writers, a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She works in marketing at Borderline Publishing, a print-on-demand publisher offering a variety of pre-press, printing and marketing services.

Diane Ronayne, 63, has been a Boise-based free-lance writer/editor/photographer since 1980. She edited the award-winning Idaho Wildlife magazine for 15 years, and her weekly column has run in the Idaho Statesman since 1998. Ronayne ghost-writes, edits and designs nonfiction books and manuscripts for a variety of clients. Ronayne is a founding board member of The Cabin and the Idaho Writers Guild.

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