Writing in the Dark,, an apt metaphor for anyone who has ever tried to tap out words on a  backlit screen.  This book, a collection of essays gathered by Max van Manen, shows how "different kinds of human experience may be explored, the methods for investigating phenomena contributing to human experience…the process of inquiry, reflection and writing…a valuable and rich resource".   That is to say, writing is an attempt to reflect what goes on inside us.  Inside us is where "story" occurs.Scott Popjes maintains a busy schedule, writing, producing and editing major theatrical trailers, promos and EPK's and developing and producing TV series and films, such as "The Remarkably 20th Century" and "The Long Ride Home".  Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, this everyman director/editor loves making movies.Ernest Hemingway - The man who ran with the bulls.  His literary sparseness and compression, well-worn and well-earned, captured the attention of critics and public in a volatile age.  In 1952, he received the Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea.   In 1954, he received the Nobel Prize for his "powerful style-making mastery of the modern art of narration."  He wrote from life.  Until his life subdued and rescued him.Will Shakespeare - Aka "The bard".  Arguably the best English writer to ever glide pen to page, populist hero as well as aristocratic raconteur, though we wish he had used all women instead of all men to populate his plays.  (Not a prejudice, just a fact.)   His sonnets remain divine.  Rare is the writer who can scribble successfully in one genre, let alone two.  Some postulate this poet and playwright was, in fact, more than one man…or woman.  What would he have done with film, we wonder?Though he produced fewer than 40 paintings, Dutch painter Jan Vermeer is one of the most respected artists of the European tradition. He is known for his serene, luminous interiors populated by one or two figures. Vermeer grew up in Delft, Holland, joined the painters' guild in 1653, and worked as an art dealer to support his wife and 11 children.  In 1672, war with France ruined Holland’s economy and Vermeer's business failed.  Soon after, he died of a stroke at age 42, leaving his family bankrupt.  Vermeer's paintings were largely forgotten for nearly 200 years, until 1858 when a French critic began to write admiringly about his work.  Interest in Vermeer surged again recently with his work exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Contemporary writers have also been inspired by him, including Tracy Chevalier whose novel Girl with a Pearl Earring imagines the life of the girl in Vermeer's painting of the same name. L.Ron Hubbard - Whatever you may think of his other worldly beliefs, the full body of L. Ron Hubbard's work includes more than 5,000 writings and 3,000 tape-recorded lectures, spanning five, highly productive decades.  A humanitarian and adventurer, he  believes, "There are only two tests of a life well lived: Did one do as one intended? And were people glad one lived?"  We add, "And can one write about it, anyhow?"Johannes Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid" records a prior chivalrous age where class decorum reigned.  (Oh, well, you can't have everything.)   One of the most talented painters in the Dutch Golden Age, that's the 1600's, Vermeer's work was forgotten for centuries.  The most brilliant artists of any century are probably never discovered, their paintings hidden till ruin, their pages dropping to dust in unfound attics.  We find this oddly comforting.  No martyr of time, this particular masterpiece hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.  Definitely worth a gaze.Jules Verne - Ode to childhood and the player within us.  Verne was born, aptly, in Nates, France in 1828.  He promptly ran off to become cabin boy on a merchant ship but was caught and sent back to his parents.  Thus constrained, his imagination wandered.  He wrote story after story, became very rich, bought a yacht and resumed his initial intent - to sail around the world.  Or Europe anyhow.   Our favorite remains Twenty Thousand Leagues.
Contact Us Screenwriting Store
The Writers Place
February 2009 - January 2010
Poetry Review
1st Place Winner 2nd Place Winner
3rd Place Winner Honorable Mention #1

First Place Winner
Shirley Hall

Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Author Bio:

An advocate for peace, freedom and equality, Shirley challenges social, economical, religious and political agendas through controversial poetry and essays. Her work is provocative, inspirational and insightful. As a voice for the people behind the story, her poems minister to current affairs and emotions; befitting life’s challenges – and our times. “My poetry is a teaching tool. It forces mankind to confront the consequences resulting from their decisions and face the snubbed realities of today’s ‘everyman’”. Shirley has presented her poems in colleges, universities, social and professional venues. A diversified writer, widely read poet and noted public speaker, her controversial bodies of work are read and appreciated worldwide.


“The Vote”

I voted today
stood in line six hours

circled the names
marked the spots
checked the boxes
connected the dots
matched the rows
totaled the columns
a job
medical care
dental care
a job
a job
I’d do it again
and again

I got mail today
stood in line six minutes

State of Abandonment
City of Indifference
Department of Profiling
Board of Infringement
Local County Precinct
Voter Re-designation

Homeless Underpass 66
Cardboard Box 52
“Dear Sir,
You’ve been purged


Second Place Winner
Stephen Colley

Laura A. Kennedy

Author Bio:

A retired software engineer, Stephen has written movie screenplays and classical music. He founded Southland Collie Rescue, which rescues and re-homes collie dogs in need. Fond of the great outdoors. And yes, I like trains, whether at sunrise or any other time.


“Sunrise Train”

    It sprang from earth near dawn and swung bright rays
through far-flung arcs, then, tiny sun ablaze,
swept straight across those slowly flowing mountains
dark as dreams, its white
eye beaming into waning night, its track
a glowing stripe, its silver slicing black
as gaily as a checkered flag flung skyward,
looming greater till it triumphed by,
a rapid patter of staccato clickclacks
underneath a trumpet’s brazen blast,
and streaked out into light,
one long straight silent line horizon bound,
before it blended into morning haze
and journeyed on beyond by sunlit ways.


Third Place Winner
Julia Newbern

John F. McMullen

Author Bio:

At 50, Julia is a mother of four, three of whom are grown and gone - one daughter, 26, and three sons, 30, 23, and 12. Her daughter is currently at Ft. Jackson, SC, in preparation to deploy to Iraq. She is also a grandmother of six.

Julia has enjoyed a love of both reading and writing since childhood, and was winning recognition even then, for her Americanism Essay Contest entry sponsored by the San Diego County VFW when in eighth grade. She was inspired to write anew by a man to whom she is very close, and who is a writer himself. She has had a number of poems published, and her poem, ‘Soul Storm’ was chosen by Cynic Magazine as one of their ‘Best of 2008’. She is currently between jobs, though she does proofreading of the scripts written by that close friend. She has worked in many fields in the past 20 years, from Client Relations and Customer Service to Office Admin and Business Development.

She enjoys creativity; whether writing, drawing or working on a sketchpad, music, working with gems/jewelry design, photography, or baking and cooking. Julia tries to see the beauty in every day, and keeps a camera with her at all times.

“There're so many things I would like to see, do or experience that I've not yet done; I guess you could say a lot of chapters are left to be written. Life, itself, is an education; we never stop taking the classes!”


“Dead Roses ”

The petals, withered and dry
Crumble into the dust of memories
Their weary weight falling
From sere, blackened stems
The sick-sweet stench of death rises
As the breeze from an open window
Blows the memories away


Honorable Mention
Christopher A. Sarro

Cornelius Jones Jr.

Author Bio:

General Counsel to Threan Communications, LLC, C. A. Sarro is an attorney, author and advocate from New York. He is an inventive new media poet who creates cyberevents on the Internet, where he is known as “thecyberpoet” and is revered as one of America’s modern lawyer poets. He is the author of the cyberpoem, “Tweetless in Twitterville,” a poem within a poem with “grace in space,” which has been disseminated in cyberspace and translated into many languages.
Sarro is a graduate of Harvard University with Honors in Economics and was first published in his freshman year, while living in Hollis Hall at Harvard Yard.

He has been a Contributing Columnist for the Westchester Times Tribune, the Yonkers Tribune and the New York Tribune and has been a television and radio talk show host. He has a background in Media Production, including International Citizen, A Westchester Minute, The Yorktown Rotarian and In Focus.

Sarro is a recipient of the Westchester Golden Apple Service Award, the Rotary International Paul Harris Award and was honored as Poet Laureate of International District 7230. As an athlete, Quarterback, he was honored by President General Ford with the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Award.


He is currently completing a poetry book, “Do I Dare?” and a sampling of his works can be found at http://www.thecyberpoet.com. His more detailed background is listed at http://threancommunications.com/christopherasarro.html. Sarro is adapting and composing his poem, “Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary,” as a love ballad.


“Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary”

When from a winter storm did we first unite?
When did the ice sprays sear through the night?

When did I find you? When I looked within?
When did I miss you? When I let you in?

When did I reach for you breathless in the night?
When did the children come laughing with delight?

When did we grow together as we grew apart?
When did I notice you on this journey of the heart?

When did God’s loving grace become woman and man?
When did I marry you? When our world began.