by Lucille Montgomery
The speaker talks on informally –
“You’re funny people, you amateur writers. You all say you haven’t anything to write about, or any time to do it in. Then, when you do get some time, you start to write a long book, story or poem about people in South Africa, France, or some other place you don’t know anything about. You fail miserably and give up, your ideas and time all gone again.
“You can find a thousand different things to write about in a thousand different ways everywhere you go.
“What is the story behind that old crippled drunkard you saw the other night passing a beautiful new car and eyeing it intently. Had he owned one once and lost it, or could he have had one even better had he not put all his money on the market, or lost it on horse races? Maybe he simply wished he could get in the seat and sleep it off.
“Most any news clipping is enough to base a story on.
“Why did that little fat boy on the street pass someone, make a face at him and calmly continue on? Had the man done something to the little chap, or did he just have some excess meanness to get rid of?
“One famous book was written on the drainboard before work, beside a cup of coffee. If you really want to write, you can find time.”
You look at the speaker, turn to your friend and say, “Yes, he is right, and I’d write more, but I haven’t any time, and there just isn’t anything to write about.”
by Harold D. Ellis
Smiles and laughter,
Handclasps, and nodded greetings;
Flashes of recognition,
A glance of admiration perhaps,
At least approval.
What value these?
I walk along the crowded street
Searching faces eagerly,
Each a friend of someone
No one friend of mine.
What price a friend
When though the sidewalk flows
With men and women, girls and boys,
None for me the slightest glance?
On a far away ocean isle,
Or deep in the darkened jungle,
Alone, I would feel lonesome.
But here in the City’s arms
Where Life runs warm and free,
I know not why
But I am far more lonesome still.
Lost and Found
by Margarite Stanley
N. A. P. A. Credential
“Look at her listening,” said the janitor sneeringly, gazing up at Mary, who was leaning over the railing on the fourth floor, intent on what two ladies were saying. “She stole Mrs. Hall’s purse. Now she wants to see if anyone is talking about her.”
“I hadn’t heard about it.” the elevator girl replied rather dubiously. Up and down she took passengers. Time and again the tongue of gossip accused Mary of the theft.
“I placed my purse on the table and went to the bathroom,” Mrs. Hall related to the police. “When I returned, it was gone. I passed Mary in the hall. She stole it!”
The police questioned Mary. “I put my hat on the table and followed Mrs. Hall to the bathroom,” she said. “I never thought of her purse. Come in and search my room.” The police refused to do so, and finally went away.
Not waiting for proof, Mrs. Hall spread the news that Mary had taken her purse.
Mary sensed a wall being built around her. Neighbors shunned her, talked about her, and locked their doors against her. A few staunch friends stood beside her. Their confidence in her was not shaken by gossip. Past actions vindicated her.
Several days elapsed. Mrs. Hall was cleaning her room. Pulling out the day-bed, a dark object dropped to the floor. “My pocket book,” she gasped.
She apologized to Mary, but that did not bring back to Mary the confidence of those who are eager to believe the worst of anyone. Gossip is a cruel weapon and many an innocent person’s life is marred by it.
Had Mrs. Hall been truly sorry, she would have done all in her power to right the wrong, but she didn’t. Her apology was mere gesture. Later she remarked to the janitor, “Someone came in while I was out, and put it there.”
(The following piece was written as an exercise assignment. Our literary director, Ford Haskill, told us that he once saw a woman stop short in her tracks in front of a pawn shop window, look intently in it for a moment, and then start to enter the shop. A person coming out of the door prevented her from going in momentarily, and, instead of waiting, she turned about and walked rapidly back up the street. We were told to write a probable explanation for the woman’s actions. – Ed.)
by Lawrence Giles
The entire existence of Mrs. Waldemar B. Waulderwoof revolved about two things – her son, Rolando, and her antique ornamental urn. Nothing in the world was quite so lovely, nearly so wonderful, nor half so important to her. Nor would she permit her estimates to be altered. It made not the slightest difference to her what the rude or the blunt had to say. At the last bridge tea at which Mrs. Waulderwoof entertained that old guinea-hen, Mrs. McKromey, indulged in a burst of temper over the consolation prize, and in the course of her declamations the two prides of the hostess came in for their scathing.
“That adorable son of yours is a scamp and a no-account, and that lovely, expensive urn is ugly, useless, and worthless – it wouldn’t bring a dollar in a hock shop!”
Mrs. McKromey was merely dropped from Mrs. Waulderwoof’s party list, and the urn and Rolando remained recipients of the same exuberant devotion.
One eventing Rolando was surreptitiously pushing the Grecian urn into his coat pocket when his mother suddenly appeared.
If Mrs. Waulderwoof was surprised, or even puzzled, she refused to admit it, even to herself.
“My dear,” she chirped, in a sweet affected voice, “What are you doing?”
“Why, I was – I was just going to take the – the urn down to Professor Tooker’s place. He’s quite a connoisseur of such stuff – such art – and I thought he would like to study it for a few days.”
“Alright, dear, but caution Professor Tooker to be very careful. Remember, the urn is not only extremely expensive, but it is a rarity that can’t be replaced.”
“OK, mother.” And with a bluff at innocent composure Rolando made hasty his departure.
Several weeks passed and Rolando had failed to remember to call at the professor’s home for the urn.
“It’s locked securely in the professor’s safe at night, mother dear.” he soothed, and if anyone could sooth or reassure Mrs. Waulderwoof it was her most estimable son.
One day, engrossed in self-patronizing thought, Mrs. Waulderwoof walked down Second South Street. Quite casually, as the pedestrian traffic shifted her toward the buildings, she glanced into a show window. It was packed with the usual mad assortment found in the windows of shops sporting the three balls. Suddenly one of the objects on display arrested her attention. She drew up violently and peered intently through the glass. She shifted quickly and peered again. Panic came into her movements. She swallowed with an effort. Her face and manner betrayed her astonishment – her anger – her pain. Realization was forcing its way into a dazed and frantic mind. On sudden impulse she dashed for the door. Just then a customer came out. The moment’s pause allowed sufficient time for her to change her mind. She wheeled abruptly, cut out of the doorway and set off blindly up the street.
In the window of the pawn shop jumbled amid the confusion of rat traps, binoculars, socks, and pocket knives, was a peculiar and ancient ornamental urn. And on a card just in front of it was the price – ninety-five cents.
by Adell Jackson
A man and two women were downtown shopping. The women were taking too long to suit the man. He started to walk about very impatiently.
“Oh, Al! Can’t you stand still for a minute?” said the smaller woman.
“Yes,” said the other, “we’ll be through in a couple of shakes.”
“I don’t see why you can’t let me stay in the car,” snapped the man.
“If we didn’t need you to carry bundles, we would let you stay at home,” said the first woman.
“I hope this is the last of your outrageous shopping for a couple of months at least,” yelled the man, “Let’s go home!”
Even the best batters don’t knock home runs every time they come up to the plate. Nor do marksmen always hit the bulls-eye. Neither should the good writer be expected to create a literary masterpiece every time he takes up his pen.
What has that to do with me? Very little – yet. I am still trying to get to first base, and as a marksman, if I keep shooting at the bulls-eye, some day I may lay a shot within range of the target. – Lawrence Giles
by Ford Haskill
A scrap of melody keeps at me.
It picks tense moments to intrude.
When business worries tear and bat me
This tune steps in. I think it’s rude.
“With plenty,” that’s the way it comes in.
“Of money,” it goes on with glee.
No introduction. It just bums in.
A nervous wreck it’s made of me.
“And you,” just follows in to haunt me.
“Ou, ou,” steps in – completes the phrase.
Catastrophes can’t harm or daunt me,
Yet dogged am I by swingtime’s craze.
Who was it on me threw the lasso?
Then saddled me with this sick dirge?
If tenor sweet or mighty basso,
I’ll slay him ‘less I loose the urge!
In dark despair I crouch and shiver.
“And you – And you,” rings in my head.
I’ll have the doctor test my liver.
I’ll bet by night he’ll find me dead.
Oh hello darling. How I’ve missed you.
You’ve been away far, far too long.
It’s been an age since I have kissed you.
But wait! I know. You sang that song.
How can I look on you with pleasure
You robbed me of my peace of mind.
You place your thoughts on worldly treasure.
What’s that you say? “I’m most unkind?”
Do you tell me you really mean it;
That’s why you hummed and crooned that ditty?
To show you that I don’t resent it
I’ll break the rhythm. What a pity.
And say I think it’s cute.
I can’t help but favor “Doubting Thomas.” He wouldn’t admit something of which he didn’t feel certain. I wonder if a big majority of real convictions are not built in a mind that once doubted. To thoroughly believe, is it not logical that one must first be thoroughly skeptical? Then, when all arguments are met and belief really comes, it is a conviction born of reasoning. – Lawrence Giles
by Wren Vilsaxon
You are you and I am I
And each a different pattern hold;
So why should I in smug desire,
Design to fit you to my mode?
*Elaine Jorgensen, President
*Lucile Montgomery, Vice-President
*Rhoda Wallis, Secretary
*Harold D. Ellis, Treasurer
*Ford Haskill, Literary Director
Lawrence R. Giles
* N. A. P. A. Member.
An amateur publication, issued quarterly under a rotating Editorship by the Utah Amateur Press Club of Salt Lake City, Utah, affiliated with the National Amateur Press Association.