Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

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TidBits About Donna #58 Montclair Write Group Showcase – Literary Lounge at Luna Stage – West Orange, NJ

Black walls surrounded me – on all sides. Even the ceiling and the floors were black. A bright yellow sign hung on the wall behind me … with black lettering.                                                It read The Literary Lounge.

I stood at the lectern looking out at a small sea of faces – writers all of us from the Montclair Write Group. Some fiction writers. Others poets. Some delved into comedy or historical writing or non-fiction. Some read about their mothers or childhood dreams gone by. Even a book written for children made its way into this group of very talented authors. Others read memoir – bringing to life both happy and sad memories – the authors baring their souls and their hearts. For this reading at The Literary Lounge, I fell into the memoir category.

Generally my writing falls into several categories. Some days I write for children – stories that make them laugh like … Never Going to Grow Up about a boy who won’t take life seriously – who would rather be Peter Pan than do his school assignments. Sometimes, I encourage children to think about social issues as in A Star Wish when a drought brought the danger of fire to Pa’s cornfield – or when earning enough money to buy new books for the town library brought Miss Emma, the oldest person in town, together with Meg in Miss Emma Gets Her Way.

I also write biographies – digging through articles, books, and other material already written about the subject. I strive to find the hidden kernels of interest –  those little nuggets of truth that can only be unearthed by peering closely into someone’s life. Buffy Sainte-Marie: Bridging Two Worlds Sharing Cultures and  Lucy Tapahonso: Spirit Keeper are two chapters that I wrote to be included in middle grade books about Native Americans. Both are in press with  Salina Bookshelf, Inc.

The book I am currently working on is a memoir about David, my husband, who suffered a TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury in 2005. It is from this book, Prisoner … (working title) that I read at The Write Group Showcase on June 24th, 2012 at the Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey. The Montclair Write Group was graciously hosted by The Literay Lounge reading series creators, Dania Ramos and Mike Traynor.

I encourage comments. I love comments.

The presenters.

Carl Selinger kicking it off …

Carl Selinger
Kicking It Off

Jeanne Margolskee

Harriet Halpern

Nancy Taiani

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Dania Ramos
Creator of the Literary Lounge Reading Series
at Luna Stage in West Orange, NJ


Josie Ziemen


July 12, 2012 - Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I absolutely can’t wait for “Prisoner” to be published! I can’t wait to read it. I don’t know where you find the time to accomplish all that you have; you are amazing!

    Comment by Sanner | July 13, 2012 | Reply

    • Prisoner (working title) is getting closer. I am doing research now for an agent. David and I agreed on one. Now I have to write my pitch letter and hope she finds the book interesting. I will be so happy when this book becomes a reality. It’s an important book.
      Can’t wait til you can read it.

      Well, I am not getting much done as I sit here on FB and chat with you and Fav Cuz – but that’s fun.

      Hugs, Donna

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | July 13, 2012 | Reply

  2. As someone who has heard the entire book, “Prisoner” aloud, I can tell you that this book is phenomenal. We spent many hours in our home in front of the wood stove listening to my mom read aloud from her drafts. Chapter after chapter. It is incredible and I cannot wait until it is done and published.

    Comment by Kiersten Figurski | July 13, 2012 | Reply

  3. Thanks, Kier. As I sit in a coffee shoppe with two of my writing friends, writing the Preface to the book, I stole over to my blog and saw your comment. It immediately brought tears to my eyes. Your comment meant so much to me.
    I will be so excited when I can finally call the book done and pop it into the mail. I will be even more ecstatic if/when it is sold. It is a story needing to be told. Daddy is such an inspiration to so many people – including me. I only hope people will find encouragement in their lives by reading our story.

    I look back fondly on those cold nights by your fireplace as I read and relived every minute of this story.

    Love, Mom

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | July 13, 2012 | Reply

  4. Great that it’s getting closer, Donna! It’s been a long time coming. The book represents as much commitment and dedication as humanity.

    Comment by Tom | July 13, 2012 | Reply

  5. Tommy, thanks for commenting. Glad someone is reading my blog. It beats writing in a vacuum. I just feel this story needs to be told. I just hope it will help other people as My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, and In An Instant by Lee and Bob Woodruff, and Valerie Greene’s book Conquering Stroke have helped me.
    Although David did not suffer a stroke as Jill and Valerie did, a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and a stroke share many similarities. Jill, Bob, and Valerie have been great role models for both David and me.

    Hugs, Donna

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | July 13, 2012 | Reply

  6. Hi Donna: This is Gloria, AKA Dania’s mom. Revisited the session at Luna, where I first heard you read about David. Last night, at the open mic, I had somewhat of an epiphany. Listening to the plight and journey of some of the readers, I am blown away by the courage and spunk that many of our Write Groupies have. I think that we are taking the concept of making lemonade to a new level. I actually wrote a poem entitled “lemonade stand”. Thanks for “standing by your man” in good and bad times. I’m sure that he feels very lucky. You are too.

    Comment by gloria | July 18, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Gloria,

      Thank you so much for commenting on my post. Sometimes, as writers, it feels as though we are writing in a vacuum. So, it’s always fun to have someone acknowledge our work.

      At Luna I read an overview about David’s TBI. Last night, at the Montclair Library, I read Chapter 9 of Prisoner …. There are 62 chapters. I have finished the second draft of the book and will soon do the final line edit – with David. I am currently working on the Preface, Prologue, and Epilogue. David is working on the Afterword.

      It was fun to listen to your reading last night, too. “Lemonade Stand” sounds familiar. Did you read that piece at Luna? I love your piece about making the world a dance floor. Wouldn’t that be fun? Adding your dance step at the end was a great touch. David and I took dance lessons for a year and a half – trying to improve his balance. It helped, but it wasn’t the miracle I had hoped for.

      I am looking forward to seeing you again at a reading or perhaps at a free write on Saturday morning.

      Feel free to subscribe to my blog.

      All best, Donna – aka Kiersten and Jared’s mom.

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | July 18, 2012 | Reply

  7. […] Once I even read at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey. (You can read more about that here, TidBits About Donna #58 Montclair Write Group Showcase – Literary Lounge at Luna Stage – West Or….) It’s so valuable to hear the positive comments of the audiences, and it’s fun to hear […]

    Pingback by TidBits About Donna #63 Be Gone Old Year – With Fond Memories, I Remember You « Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog | January 13, 2013 | Reply

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