April 2010

Newsletter of the Denver Branch
National League of American Pen Women
April 2010
• See details about Diane Blomberg (See Upcoming Meetings, below.)
• Ed Stein rocks the house! (See April Program, below.)
• Read about Flash Fiction and Mary Poppins! (See News and Notes, below.)

President- Elect Diane Chambers CALLED THE MEETING TO ORDER at 9:45 a.m.

IN ATTENDANCE were Andrea Antico (Guest), Jane Carpenter, Diane Chambers, Kristen DeFazio-Schmidt (Guest), Florence Elliott, Nancy Hegan, Marilyn Indermill (Guest), Pat Kennedy, Ann Klaiman, Marie Kriss, Sue Luxa, Marienne Middleman (Guest), Paula Pahl, Lorrie Reed, Ann Rosati (Holly Branch), Gwen Scott, Shirley Sheets, Virginia Small, Ruth Windmiller (Guest), Sheila Wright (Guest).

Lorrie offered an INSPIRATIONAL READING for spring, to complement our festive decorations. March MINUTES WERE APPROVED, and Gwen as TREASURER REPORTED A BALANCE of $ $1665.97 as of today. Kriss as Membership Chair reported SIX NEW MEMBERS.

Nancy as Program Chair announced Diane Blomberg, writer of children’s publications, as our May 1st speaker, and that OUR JUNE 5TH PLANNING SESSION WILL BE AT SHIRLEY SHEETS house. Shirley lives near the Virginia Village Branch Library. Thanks you, Shirley! Details for June will be communicated by e-mail.

After a short discussion, members voted to CONTINUE MEETING AT OUR CURRENT LOCATION for at least six months, particularly since Nancy discovered that the Bear Valley Branch Library, where we previously met, is still closed for remodeling.

Members reviewed the JOB DESCRIPTION FOR WEBSITE MANAGER, written by Paula and Virginia. After brief discussion, a vote was taken to approve the description, including pay of $150 per year. Several noted that the stipend is minimal, to say the least. The description includes delegating to the president the duty of naming a Website Manager.

Diane offered a note from member LINDA OHLSON-GRAHAM, who has just moved to Cape Cod, somewhat unexpectedly. We wish her well in her new state, which has a number of active NLAPW branches.

GUEST PRESENTER KRISTIN DEFAZIO-SCHMIDT read the text of her children’s book for 3 to 7 year olds, MOMMY DOWNSTAIRS, which she hopes to publish. The group enjoyed the rhyme and concept of the book (What does Mommy do downstairs, a little boy wonders, after he goes to sleep?). Discussion included issues of writing for boys vs. girls, possibilities for illustration, and strategies for marketing the manuscript. We hope to hear of her progress on this project.

The business MEETING ADJOURNED at 10:30 a.m.
Respectfully submitted, Ann Klaiman, Co-Secretary


Ed Stein has moved from drawing daily cartoons for the former Rocky Mountain News to drawing two or three cartoons a week for his website (edsteinink.com). Ironically, his weekly audience has grown from thousands in the newspaper to millions on his website.

Ed began his presentation with a blank screen– the equivalent of the proverbial blank page that confronts any artist or writer. He faced a blank page every morning for several decades. He first discussed his background and education, and then moved on to the development of his daily process: choosing an event of the day, brainstorming words and images, bringing things together with a thesis statement, and then focusing and honing the final cartoon.

Next, Ed dealt with his purpose as a cartoonist: “what do I stand for?” He knew from early in his career that it wasn’t enough just to be funny. He knew he always wanted his work to answer the question, “How do public events affect private people?” He knew he always wanted to advance the cause of human dignity. About each event he would ask, “What side am I on, and what in this issue advances or degrades human dignity?”

Cartoons punctuated his commentary throughout, and many in our audience reacted to the cartoons with chuckles and laughs. He identified his greatest influence as the cartoonists of The New Yorker. In the final part of his presentation, Ed overviewed his more recent cartoons and touched on topics with fresh emotion like Haiti’s earthquake and healthcare legislation. Here, on some topics, some more conservative audience members were a bit put off, while others applauded boisterously. Ed’s overall presentation, however, spoke to everyone and offered us a valuable insight into a unique art/writing process.


1. JANE CARPENTER PLACED 2ND IN THE 2010 FLASH FICTION CONTEST offered annually by the Pikes Peak Branch (Colorado Springs) of NLAPW. Flash fiction has become an active, identifiable sub-genre with lots on websites (try flashfiction.net) and anthologies (try your local book store) available. SEE JANE’S WINNING ENTRY on this site: In the left-hand column, under members, just click on Jane’s name. While you’re in the members’ listing, ALSO CLICK ON VIRGINIA’S NAME and see her photo and comments on Ed Stein (click link to her Zebracorn blog).

2. OUR BRANCH IS NOW THE PROUD OWNER OF A VIDEO PROJECTOR, which Ed and Paula easily plugged into Ed’s laptop computer for the slide portion of his presentation. These projectors have become much easier to use, cheaper, and more compact than even five years ago. Most of our guest speakers will want to take advantage of this new equipment. It also has enough lumens to make slides or videos highly visible in our library meeting room without dimming the lights— which is nice, because you can still see the speaker. Paula purchased the projector at Best Buy and is willing to let our branch purchase it from her over time with a number of payments. We also want to make the projector available to other organizations for a modest rental fee.

3. Following members’ approval of the job description for WEBSITE MANAGER, President Paula Pahl has appointed VIRGINIA SMALL to the position. Everyone will be pleased that Virginia, a primary force in launching our new site, will continue to help us make it grow.

4. From Nancy Hegan to those of you who love children’s literature: I saw Denver’s recent, UPDATED PRODUCTION OF MARY POPPINS and loved it; the additional characters, music, and story led me to read the program notes very carefully. That, in turn, sent me to the library. I found out that out Ms.Travers wrote eight Mary Poppins books, that she lived until 1997 (and was close to 100 years old), and that she modeled her characters on her life. So, of course I must read all of those books now. I am not a writer of children’s literature, but I DO love fantasy. Our Denver Public Library has all the books. The only one available at my branch was Mary Poppins in the Park. The very first part of this book tells me that the Banks family now has five children, including Jane and Michael. Obviously I have only read the first couple and seen the 1964 movie. I wondered if my writing friends were aware of this treasure, so I’m passing on the word. The last book Ms.Travers wrote was in 1989, so I suspect much of additional material in the show was taken from Ms.Travers herself, who was a woman way ahead of her time.



TIME: 9:30 a.m. socializing and set up, 10:00, business meeting, 10:45, Guest Speaker Diane Blomberg.

WHERE: Virginia Village Branch of the Denver Public Library, located at 1500 South Dahlia Street. It is at the corner of S. Dahlia and E. Florida Ave. Dahlia is eight blocks east of Colorado Blvd. Guests and the public are welcome.

PROGRAM: Diane Blomberg, Ph.D., writer of literature for children, and nationally known expert in communications and human relations, is our speaker on May 1. Diane writes picture books for children in the five to eight-year-old group. She will discuss her book, Sam and Gram On the First Day of School, and answer questions about writing for that age. We will have the opportunity to ask questions and get some answers from someone who knows.


TIME: 10:00 a.m., arrive at Shirley’s, 10:15 a.m., business meeting, 11:30, potluck luncheon.

WHERE: Details to members and guests by e-mail as the time approaches.

The Denver Branch does not meet during July and August.

Respectfully submitted, Ann Klaiman, Newsletter Editor