Category Archives: THE WRITERS GUILD

WALKABOUT by Quinn Rosefsky

At our most recent Writers Guild session, we shared our work with a “conspiracy theory” prompt in which we challenged ourselves to stretch our imaginations into the “fantastic” and write with authority.  As autumn creeps upon us, this piece of fiction by Quinn Rosefsky took many of us right back to summer camp…  We thoroughly enjoyed it and are sure you will too.

Quinn says that:  “Walkabout” started as a chapter in a book I call: Camp Arawakee .The manuscript was on a shelf in my closet for over twenty-five years. At one time, the book had enough strength to entice an agent to take interest. However, no publishers ever bothered to take a nibble. That was disheartening. More recently, I summoned the courage to take a fresh look. After all, in the past several years, I have somehow managed to write and re-write many times, what on paper looks like a mere 200,000 words. That changes a person. Let me tell you! So, what we now have in “Walkabout” is the fresh, 2017 version of the sentiments which first came to life so long ago. I’d be interested to know if anyone can come up with an ending to the “story within a story.” Having said that, you should probably read the story before reading this brief essay

 

WALKABOUT 

By Quinn Rosefsky

Where was Louis? The boys in Turtle Cabin waited in the fading light for their counselor to return from chatting with the pretty dark-haired nurse in the infirmary. Charlie, Teddy and Sean made up a contest. Who could jump the farthest from the edge of the lean-to onto the ground? A few feet away, Pete and Michael began arguing about whose turn it was to sweep the floor the next morning. As the first stars began to appear, Louis strode into view.

“Story!” the boys said, one after another.

The boys and Louis, dangling their legs, huddled on the edge of the lean-to.

“It was as hot as an oven the day I saw my first opal,” Louis said, dumping a bag of strange pebbles into his palm. “I’d been behind the wheel of my truck for hours and the flies were driving me crazy. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. That’s when I drove the truck off the road into a ditch. There was no way I could get the wheels free. I sat down under the only gum tree around to rest.

“Just as I closed my eyes, something flashed at my feet. I bent over. There it was lying on top of the ground, the most fiery opal I’d ever seen.”

Louis paused to adjust the bush hat he always wore, even in the shower.

“What’s an opal?” Charlie said.

“It’s a jewel almost as precious as a diamond but still worth a lot of money.”

“Let him get on with the story,” Pete said, elbowing Charlie.

“Anyhow, just then, an Aborigine, his eyes so bright they looked like they were on fire, walked out of the bush and came straight towards me. He was wearing dusty blue jeans and no shirt.”

“What’s an Aborigine?” Ronnie said.

“They’re our native Australians, the ones who were there when Europeans first began to settle the continent. Same as your American Indians were here first.”

“Are there a lot of them?” Sean asked.

“Not any more. They’ve had a rough time.”

“Are they dangerous?”

“Not at all. They never were and never will be. They’re the ones who protect life in all its forms. That’s why the bush has been unspoiled for thousands of years.

“This particular Aborigine, who said his name was Jack, was on what’s called a walkabout. He’d been living alone in the bush for over a year, learning what he was to do with his life.

“As soon as Jack came to within a few yards, he stood still. He didn’t move for five minutes, not a muscle. It was as if he’d turned into a statue.

“Then Jack moved. First he pointed to my opal and then he took it from my hand and turned it over and over. Then he said: ‘Follow me.’

“We walked along an invisible track in the bush for about an hour. Finally, Jack stopped and pointed to the ground. I was completely mystified. Opals, dozens of them, were everywhere. I ran about like a man possessed. I was rich!

“Then I remembered my car was still stuck in the ditch an hour away from where I was. But what good would it do me to have all those opals if I never got out of the bush? I looked around to thank Jack, but he was gone. I was alone with no truck, no water and the hot sun beating down on me.”

“What happened next?” Charlie asked.

“You’ll have to wait until tomorrow,” Louis said.

“It’s not fair,” Pete said stomping his feet.

“That’s enough, Pete,” Louis said, wagging his finger. “I’ll give you guys fifteen minutes to get ready for bed and then it’s lights out.”

“How can I fall asleep not knowing if you survived?” Sean asked.

“Tomorrow.”

BOLLI Member & SGL Quinn Rosefsky

Quinn is a familiar face at BOLLI where he takes courses, teaches courses, serves on the Study Group Support Committee, participates in the New Yorker Fiction Group, the Writers Guild, and more!

 

MEET MEMBER STEVE GOLDFINGER: BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE

MEET MEMBER STEVE GOLDFINGER:  BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Steve Goldfinger enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a doctor and professor of medicine at MGH and Harvard Medical School.  His wife, a modern dancer and educational administrator, died ten years ago.  His four sons inherited both of their parents’ genes and have varied careers–Hollywood script writer, radiologist, psychotherapist, and business executive–coupled with creative musical talents they display in their respective bands and bluegrass group.  He has nine grandchildren.   In addition to writing, Steve’s interests include classical music and theatre.  He was also an ardent golfer “before skill deserted me.”
 
Steve joined BOLLI in 2016 and says that he has found it to be “a huge resource in my retirement which has fulfilled my desire to return to the humanities in my later years.”  The fine and varied program has also brought new friends.
As a member of  the Writers Guild,  Steve has treated the group to everything from poetry to memoir, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. This piece, an example of the latter, was written in response to the prompt:  “Best Friends Forever.” 

BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE

by Steve Goldfinger

He was born in China in 1898, the son of Presbyterian missionary parents.  He died 69 years later, leaving behind an estate worth a hundred million dollars.  Along the way, he was voted the most brilliant member of his Yale graduating class.  An ardent anti-communist, he urged Kennedy to attack Cuba, even saying to him, “If you don’t, I’ll be like Hearst,” meaning he’d use his magazines to push him to it.  He was a strong proponent (and rare user) of LSD.  His physical awkwardness, lack of humor, and discomfort with any conversation that was not strictly factual was starkly at odds with his glamorous wife’s social poise, wit, and fertile imagination.

Henry Luce embarked on a career in journalism, and before he bought Life magazine in 1936, he and a partner had already taken on both Time and Fortune.  His yen to own Life was based purely on its name and how well it would couple with that of Time.  His wife Clare saw a grand opportunity to found an entirely new media genre: photojournalism.  Before they purchased it, Life magazine had been a declining vehicle for the kid of light-hearted, sophisticated, clean humor that it’s readers had outgrown.  Under the Luces, its new mission statement opened with “To see life, to see the world…”  How it succeeded!

Within four months, Life’s circulation rose from 380,000 to over a million, and it eventually exceeded eight million.  It became the most popular magazine of its time.  Renowned photographers captured riveting images for the eyes of the nation: the D-Day landings, aerial views of the remains of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, faces of the Nazis at the Nuremberg tribunal, and, most famous of all, the iconic kiss the sailor planted on that nurse in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II.  And as more print invaded the magazine in the form of essays and memoirs, viewers became readers.  Life’s continued popularity brought great acclaim and great profits for more than three decades before it began its gradual fade in the 1970s.  Issues became less frequent and staggered to total cessation in 2000.  Rising costs were one reason.  Television was undoubtedly another.

In contrast to Henry’s somewhat colorless persona, Clare Boothe Luce led a stunning public life.  She was an early feminist, an actress, a successful  playwright, and then a war reporter, journalist, politician, congresswoman, and ambassador.  Attending opening night of one of her plays were Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann.  Among the quips attributed to her are, “No good deed goes unpunished” and “Widowhood is a fringe benefit of marriage.”  While ambassador to Italy, she was poisoned with arsenic.  Initially suspected to be Russian espionage retaliation for her outspoken anti-communism, the cause was eventually found to be arsenate in the paint flaking off her bedroom ceiling.  “Broadway’s New Faces, 1952” famously portrayed her illness at Toothloose in Rome.  Clare Boothe Luce died in 1987.  By the end of her life, she had become a fervent supporter of Barry Goldwater and a Nixon appointee to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Arguably the most influential and envied power couple of their time, Henry and Clare Boothe Luce made numerous friends for life.  They were also the best friends for  ,