Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Writers of Eastwick

The Writers of Eastwick
by Hilde Garcia
(yes, she is one of the four Pen and Inkers)

“Well, if you don’t write or have pages every time we meet, how will I know that this group won’t disband?” Lupe looked worried as he communicated his deepest fear to the three ladies sitting across from him.

“We’re busy,” I said defensively as I fold laundry at this first critique meeting. “I have twins and they rule my world. It’s not always easy to find time to write.”

“Well, then don’t volunteer so much,” he replied a bit envious.

“You don’t understand, it’s the way it is for parents these days,” said Kris, Writer Number 2.

Writer Number 3, our Mama Sue, remained quiet as she understood how we felt. But her kids are now grown, so what’s her excuse?

Grand kids.

“I had an audition,” Sue explained, “and I didn't have a laptop with me to write my pages.”
“Then get a note pad,” Lupe said abruptly. He has a legal pad and everyone else should too.

This was a typical conversation on any given critique night when one of the three of us did not get to, forget, or plain spaced out on turning in our pages. Lupe prided himself on always turning in his pages by the agreed on deadline. Most nights, we three ladies finished our critiques in the company of our critique partners.

However, Lupe is the most dedicated writer I know and he has inspired me to be the writer I am and to not give up. His insistence on my writing more was simply because he knew I could do it and he didn't want to see me “leave it on the back burner.”

Lupe loved my life, although he wouldn't often tell me. The chaos that is my home- filled with 3 kids, 3 fish, 2 hamsters and 1 loud dog- often scares away anyone without children. In fact, a few friends with only one child didn't want to stick around. I think they were afraid they might be asked to do laundry.

Note- anyone that comes to my house and offers to fold clean laundry so I can manage to find my bed and sleep in it is a friend for life and will get an endless amount of chocolate chip cookies- made by me, of course- no store bought kind for laundry folders.

Anyway, I fight the clock, I fight the kids, I fight the dog for time to write. I tend to everyone, leaving little time for me. And when I do tend to me, it’s to play Farm Town on FB or some such nonsense. Anything to deadened my mind which is filled with TO DO Lists, PTA meetings, soccer schedules, and what can I make for dinner with a bag of corn, a can of black beans, some turkey sausage, rice, a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, an onion, some garlic and fresh cilantro (go figure I had fresh anything)… a yummy Mexican Sausage Skillet… ready in 15 minutes… from scratch… thank you Pampered Chef.

Note- Click here for the Recipe .

SO writing has been really on the back burner, like somewhere in New Jersey. And then Lupe, after years of bugging us to be more on task- and by the way, I managed to finish my novel and submit it and post on our blog, so I HAVE written and worked on my craft, just not enough for Lupe- he breaks the news to the three of us- the Writers of Eastwick- that he is leaving town for the love of his life, the dream girl, the one that got away, the inspiration… did I miss a cliche?

Well, that hit me like a ton of manuscripts.

I couldn't believe it. What the heck do we do now? Without Lupe? The man who managed to make us all feel guilty and worthy at the same time? We all got our novels done, got them submitted, went to conferences and schmoozes together, and made a name for ourselves. And now he was leaving?

I went into a tailspin and decided I needed more excuses not to write.

What was going to happen to our group?

And then cyberspace saved us.

My husband finally bought that flat screen TV he always wanted, and it came with Skype capabilities. Lupe downloaded Skype and packed up his stuff and left town. (Sniff) And then came time for our dreaded first meeting without him. Would it work? Would it feel normal? How could we continue to meet when he was 500 miles away?

So, David, my husband and our silent Pen and Inker, tech guru that he is, programmed the Skype through the TV. We sat on the couch, the three Writer’s of Eastwick, anxiously awaiting the familiar beep and dial tone that is the Skype ring.

No answer.

We ate some more Baked Jalapeno Cheddar Snacks from Trader Joe’s and drank some cherry lemonade. We tried again. Nothing. David jiggled some cables- what a tech guy he is- and voila, it rings and LUPE answered.

The cheers could be heard in Brooklyn. We all sat on the couch and began what was our first cyber space teleconference.

“My work here is done,” David said as he made a quick exit.

My dog got in on the action and chewed his bone loudly for Lupe to see. The dog was also missing him. The hamsters made an appearance and squeaked hello to their little cyber friend. My kids thankfully were in bed, upset that they couldn't be part of the teleconference.

We spent the next 30 minutes bugging Lupe about leaving us, since he was worried we would leave him. We spent time talking about making dinners and letting in the ant exterminator- it seems that Lupe’s girlfriend and her girls expect his domestication to be instant. Lupe chuckled because he now had to make dinner too, and that ate up writing time.

“Hey, I will send you my Mexican Sausage Skillet recipe,” I said.

“Thanks, amiga.” He smiled.

And we proceeded to critique each other’s pages, share stories, ideas, and what to do next with each of our projects. The hours rolled by. We laughed as the baked jalapeno cheddar puffs and lemonade were gobbled up.

And one by one the wives, I mean witches, I mean Writers of Eastwick- well really Burbank, or the San Fernando Valley, or maybe just LA, said goodbye to their favorite Lupe. I stayed on a little longer, feeling like Dorothy saying to the scarecrow, “I will miss you most of all,” and I read to Lupe my daughter’s newest picture book, The Princess and the Doctor’s Office. We laughed that she will be published before the two of us. (She’s 6, but a darn good writer).

“I have no idea how to turn this thing off,” I said to Lupe. “So I will say my goodbye now and if I accidentally hit the correct off button-- there are so many to choose from-- you will know I figured out how to disconnect the call.”

Tech man had gone to bed as had the dog.
The hamsters had begun their evening party routine on the wheel.

“Ok, sounds good,” Lupe said, “see you in two- ”

I found the button. The screen went black. Lupe was gone. I sat there for a few minutes thinking about the last three years and how we had all grown as people and as writers.

“Well ok, time to go and fold laundry,” I said to myself.

Instead I sat on my couch and read a book.

I would write tomorrow. (Indeed write I did, inspired by our cyber teleconference.) I hope to make this a usual occurrence, me, writing on our blog, consistently, but I wouldn't hold your breath, because school just started and although I have been hiding out at home so I can’t get suckered into volunteering, people do have my email, my phone, and know where I live… although I am not answering the door either.

Thank you for being great Pen and Ink supporters and for supporting our literary antics. We love Lupe and the Northern California area is lucky to have him. But from now until whenever fate stop us, we Three Writers of Burbank, will meet every two weeks on my living room couch to speak to the man that has been our biggest fan, the man formerly known as The Token Mexican or the Mexican-In-Residence, now known as our Foreign Correspondent to the Far Hinderlands of the North.

Enjoy the photos, because in addition to all the catching up on laundry, recipes, and kid stories, of which now Lupe takes part in instead of telling us to “Get to the topic at hand,” we spent part of our group time taking ridiculous photos of Lupe on the TV screen.



  1. I love Skype. What a great invention. It's how I talk with all of my friends.

  2. Skype is amazing and one day I will try it. My daughter uses it often. I'm glad your group can remain intact over the distance.

  3. I use Skype as well. So glad you can all still be together!

  4. Skype critiques! What an ingenious idea! And we'll all miss you in LA, Lupe!!!

    1. Our Foreign Correspondent often misses himself.
      The Management

  5. I have a premonition nothing will keep the Pen and Ink group apart.


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