Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jerri Fenton Passes the Torch

Hi everyone,

My long time friend and colleague, Jerri Fenton, initiated our Osceola group about 5 years ago. To keep her from resigning a year ago because she felt it would stimulate “a new vision” for our group, I came on board as co-leader. We supported and empowered each other, and searched for meaningful activities for our members. In short, we kept a very diverse group contented and hopefully, inspired.

During the first week of September, Jerri resigned as group leader to reinvent herself. Together with her husband, Mike Fenton, a fine, local artist, she will convert her life long love of photography to a business they plan to enjoy during retirement. I wish both of them all the joy that comes from doing something you love with someone you love. Does it get any better than that?

For me though, I feel as if I’ve lost a spouse. (Only joint group leaders can understand this) Last Thursday, as I drove to our regular group meeting that Jerri could not attend, I saddened at the thought of her absence and her recent resignation. Suddenly it started to rain hard from a darkening sky. I phoned Jerri, babbling with no good reason to call. It was hard to hear her above the windshield wipers' thrum and cell phone static, but her soft voice resonated through to reassure that I would do fine as the group’s leader. She is right. I will do fine. It is just that I will miss her by my side.

To offset that emptiness, Pat Semler, a very talented writer and long time group member, agreed to co-lead with me, so I am very excited about the future of our group, and I know that Jerri will attend meetings when she can.

There were 6 of us at the meeting on September 10. I referred to the frequently asserted importance of reading and writing – how they reinforce each other for writers, then distributed a hand-out breaking down the components for analysis of what we read. We read and critiqued each other’s work intended for submission to our group anthology.

Our October 8 meeting will include a speaker suggested on the FWA Leaders site by John Rehg (St Pete). Here’s what he said about her. "Lorin Oberweger, was incredibly knowledgeable, and very well received by the 18 in attendance. Her company runs the Donald Maass workshops (the best one I've ever attended, though I've only attended a couple) and she has been an editor for over 10 years. She is interested in next year's FWA Conference, and will come highly recommended. "

Anyone is welcome to attend (just e-mail (vfischer@cfl.rr.com) me so I can let Lorin know for her presentation supplies and I can reserve space) 6-8 pm at Susan’s Courtside CafĂ©, Kissimmee, Fl.