My introduction to Story Circle Network was at their Spring 2016 Conference in Austin TX. I met friendly, talented women writers who, like my colleague Penelope Starr and me, had traveled hours from different parts of the country as well as locals coming into town to spend three days immersed in the craft of writing. A repeated testimonial was the genuine support this organization offered for women writing. Add me to the list of repeaters. The conference was great. Peggy Moody, who sends out the weekly email filled with info, classes, and ideas for submission, must be linked to her laptop 24/7.

The biggest benefit for me has been getting to know the writers in the quarterly Story Circle Journal – the newsletter for women with stories to tell (great tagline). Story Circle Network (SCN) is based in Colorado. Now, through my membership, I’m meeting authors from MD, OH, TX, PA, FL, CA, CO, VT, and even a “neighbor” here in Tucson. Writers share about themselves and their writing life in “Snapshot” stories, blogs, interviews, contests and contest winner bios. If you feel you’re all alone in your writing nook–not so. There are a lot of women writing.

Taking the plunge I submitted to the True Words section of the June Journal with the theme of Travel. What a thrill to have my “Pisa Retrospective” accepted and to see it in print. I’m suspect of people who are blasé about having something in print. Hey, it’s a big deal!!!

Thank you, Story Circle Network and thank you Jo Virgil, editor.

Here it is with the photos that inspired the story!


On our first trip to Italy I was compulsively over-prepared. I read guidebooks, listened to tapes, and pored over my mother’s notes in her “Italy – 1972” photo album.

Our experiences were memorable–the romance of Venice canals–walking back in time over the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Then a Pisa day trip. My husband barely blinked when I said, “We’ve got to get to the top of the tower. I have this picture of Mom and Dad from their album.” I showed him the faded color photo of my parents by the bell. “I promised Mom I would replicate the same pose.”

Getting to the top is not as easy as in 1972. Today visitors wait on line to buy a ticket telling their tour time. Glitch. Our tour time and bus departure gave us only twenty minutes to most likely run up, take the picture, run down, and be late for the bus.

Hank looked dubious. “Hank, I came all this way to get this picture for my mom. I’ve got to do this.” Mother love won.

The curving tilted stairway was narrower than my comfort level allowed. Keep walking. My feet lifted onto worn steps. The guide at the top was smiling broadly. But a chain blocked off the area where my parents had stood in 1972. I pointed to the other side of the chain.

“No. No,” he said, with an unmistakable “back off” gesture.

“Please.” I pointed to the photo. “Mia mama. Mia papa.” Hank pantomimed photo taking, pointing to me, then himself.

The guard peered at the picture, then at us. Looking around, he motioned us just inside the chain and next to the bell. In one swift movement, he took the camera from Hank’s hands and SNAP. Done.

I was effusive in my gratitude. “Grazi. My mother, she’s eighty-nine. She will love this!”

“Okay, okay,” he said, brusquely waving us away from the chained section, but the smile on his face told me he enjoyed the moment.

Not as much as I did when I shared the “Pisa Retrospective” photo with Mom.