Writers West of Alameda

Alameda, CA 94501

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MEMBERS BIOGRAPHIES AND PHOTOS
in no particular or logical order


Tony Bellotti

After thinking for nearly a year about his interest in writing, Tony Bellotti said the following:

"The poets have always been my heroes. Writers accompanied me as I delivered newspapers up and down the streets and alleys of my part of the city on the East Coast. In 9th grade I re-wrote one of Robert Frost's poems to match the rhyme and meter. I was delighted, proud, and hooked on the sounds and senses of words. I have written poems mostly, bits of screen plays, a short story under construction, and I'm in the midst of a book about the history of religion in the United States. And yes, I love food, hiking, sculpting, laughing, sleeping, and, most of all, my wife and son, Max."

Gretchen Fleischer

Gretchen is a longtime member and the current Treasurer. Her publishing credits include two articles in Yoga Journal, play reviews for the Alameda Times Star, four live websites and a blog about her vacation to Ireland between Imbolc and Beltane, 2005. She's working on a book of short stories and a novel, her magnum opus (thanks, E.B.!) Her degrees and credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in French, an (unused) teachers credential, and a wall full of diplomas issued by alternative healing modalities. Of course she is a minister in the Universal Life Church. She can also add and subtract using an abacus, and (in yet another fit of positive thinking) is learning to play the Celtic harp. Her day jobs have included various occupations in relocaton counseling, production planning for a garment manufacturer, administration stuff, and once upon a time (for two years) called bingo in a real-life casino (even though the novelty wore off in two weeks.) She is the Founder, first president and executive director of Frank Bette Center for the Arts, right here in Alameda.

To keep the wolf from the door she does bookkeeping and taxes as a self employed contractor, and (if you ask her nicely) will write the craigslist ad that will get a tenant in your apartment in a market where other landlords have to give away free cable TV. She has also carried plenty of coal to Newcastle. Oh, yeah, she won the lottery and believes in synchronicity, manifestation and magick.

Violet Grayson

Violet says of her writing, "My star rose early. At the age of fourteen, I wrote a poem and a rather dismal short story which I sent to Collier's Magazine. They rejected it, but I redeemed my pride by winning a school-wide essay contest in high school. I was also made an at-large reporter for the school newsletter, The Chronicle. In my senior year, I served as Literary Editor for our yearbook. One of my teachers wanted me to switch to the college course, saying he was sure I could win a scholarship to a school of journalism, but that was too much of a reach for me. Instead, I took an office job after graduation in 1943 until my first marriage in 1949." Thirty-seven years later in January of 1986 at the age of sixty, Violet launched her free-lance writing career.

Since that time, she has had eleven personal experience stories, five articles, four how-to pieces and four short stories published in magazines. She also wrote twelve columns for The Foxboro Reporter, a weekly newspaper in her former home of Foxboro, MA. She's a frequent contributer to "Two Cents," an opinion column in The San Francisco Chronicle. In September 2006, Violet's book In the Village of Lonsdale was published by Trafford Publishing. Click here to read more on her Trafford webpage.

Patsy Paul

"What America Means to Me" was the eighth grade essay that won a first place trophy. Later writing became my therapy and it still is, writing three pages daily. My current work is an allegorical fantasy journey of discovery. Some of my poetry and a short story were included in a writing class anthology published by the teacher and the class.

After thirty-three years I retired from teaching and presently do some substituting in the elementary grades. My husband is so supportive of me taking care of my granddaughter in Hawaii when she has a break from school.

I am now having such fun writing short snapshots of life formed from a group of words from one rhyme family.

Monty Heying

I earned a business degree and began a corporate finance career in Texas, then migrated to Northern California in my mid-thirties, where I married and raised two daughters. The San Francisco Bay Area is where I now reside, but Texas will always be home.

My earliest years were shaped by war, poverty and family alcoholism, sharpening my focus on humanity. In the Texas orphanage where I was raised, children were tortured, loved or tolerated, depending on who was in charge. I left my business career to seek, through writing and the prism of my own experience, an understanding of how children with apparently healthy parents can end up in foster homes and orphanages.

Patti Heimburger

Patti said."I was reintroduced to creative writing at the age of 40 when I returned to college and took the required English Literature courses for a BA degree and enjoyed them. I later promised to take on a family writing project for my Mother at the end of her life. Since then have been working on this for years, incorporating more relatives with their warts and all.

Born and raised in Long Beach, California and lived in Seattle, Santa Barbara, moved to Oakland in 1986 and then to Alameda. I am now retired from office work and have more time for writing and reading.

FORMER MEMBERS BIOGRAPHIES AND PHOTOS
in no particular or logical order
Irv Hamilton

After completing a tour in the Army as a military journalist in Europe, Irv came back to the States and took a position as a copy writer for the 3M Company in his home town of Chicago. That led to a series of corporate marketing assignments in New York and San Francisco. After spending a few years working for advertising agencies, he started his own, which served an array of clients for more than 25 years. He is now a senior vice president with an Oakland-based marketing firm called Placemaking Group which specializes in tourism and economic-development programs.
In his work for clients, he has written countless non-fiction articles, and co-authored two cook books. To date, his credentials only include one published piece of fiction, a Christmas short story that appeared in San Francisco Magazine. However he is working on an historical-fiction novel based on his military experiences.

Irv has a bachelorís degree from Northwestern University, and a masterís degree from California State University, San Francisco, both in communication.

Morton Chalfy

Mort Chalfy was born in the Bronx, NY and brought up in the Bronx and Long Beach, NY. He has traveled extensively throughout the US, living in Florida most of his adult life but in Texas as well and now in the San Francisco Bay Area. He remains in heart and in speech a boy from the Bronx.

His day jobs have included careers in show business, retailing, and manufacturing. He has started businesses as diverse as recycled denim clothing and health food emporiums. He has loved more than a few women and fathered several children, all of whom, along with the following generations, remain close. Throughout his life, no matter what else was going on, he has been a writer - poetry, plays, and to date ten finished novels on pre-history, mature love and mystery with more to come.

He can be reached at www.mortonchalfy.com.

IN MEMORIUM
Phyllis Greenwood

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, four Russian grandparents, one sister. Nine aunts and uncles. A prodigy, attended special school for prodigies, public high school, Brooklyn College, Antioch College, U. C. Berkeley, John F. Kennedy U. Four master's degrees. Licensed therapist, teacher, meeting facilitator, organizer, administrator, artist, writer and editor. Three husbands. Two children, two grandchildren. Lived in Ohio, Chicago, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda. A lefty. An enthusiast of the spiritual life. Started reading and writing at 3, still doing it. Body old, mind young and full of fervor.