Before Tonight Becomes a Memory: Our Sixth Annual Reunion


It’s been a long…long…lonnnnnng day for me here in Oceanside. I could barely process the English language as Thorn said good bye to me tonight, needing the the warm embrace of a blanket and the sweet cuddles of a pillow (who’s doing the cuddling? The pillow or the human? Hmm).

Before that, though, I just wanted to give those who didn’t get to attend, those who had to leave early, or those who aren’t ready for tonight to be a memory a recap…or is it a nightcap? Sorry, but I don’t wear them.

We knew it was going to be a big turnout, but my goodness!!! To see every chair filled, to watch as we had to struggle to maneuver, to hear everyone get up to share their work, their victories, their struggles, and their lives with us means so much to us here. So to everyone who got up to talk to the whole group, thank you for that!!!

We got a brief visit from Victor Villasenor tonight too! I bumped into him as he limped his way to the party, but when pain usually wins a victory from its victim with the trophy of agonized whispers, Victor brings pain to its knees and uses its shoulders to project himself. He always asks the same questions: what is the first line of your favorite book? What is the first line of YOUR book? Who is willing to admit to being an arrogant, selfish, son of a bitch, for that is the key to a true writer’s success?

The questions remain the same.

Whether or not our answers to those questions remain the same every year is, ultimately, up to each and every one of us.

As usual, Thorn, ever the punster, filled the moments between each speaker with his usual doses of jokes and flirtations! One of my jobs earlier in the afternoon was to help unwrap a few dozen roses and leave them in a metal tub…not realizing that a few of those roses were going to me and many of us ladies! I got pulled from my post at the front checking people in, wondering what on earth was so important, and the next thing I know, some of those roses I had unwrapped were in my hands! That’s more than I’ve ever had from a Valentine!

Oh, of course I’m kidding!

I’ve never had a Valentine.


We also got to serenade Thorn for his birthday (albeit early, as it’s not for another couple of weeks)! After the traditional “Happy Birthday”, one of our attendees, Joy, came up and gave Thorn a personal serenade!

Yes, I have it on video!!!

Today was also very important for the 5X5 book: many of us–myself included–got to hold it in our hands for the very first time! I know all of our attendees are going to enjoy the work our authors put in!

Oh, and special thanks to the band for keeping us entertained while Thorn was talking–I MEAN–entertained for the event!

And an even BIGGER thanks goes to Barbara Villasenor for once again opening her arms and her home to host us once again!

A special thanks also goes to Patti for helping keep SOME semblance of order as we set up and well into the event!

Another special thanks to Tamara–Thorn’s daughter–and Ariel and Leland–Tamara’s children–for all the help they gave us today to get set up and helping me check people in!

And of course, to all who attended, thank you so much for your presence and we hope to see you again–not just for the next reunion, but well in between too!

And yes…thank you Thorn, as always for giving us a reason to come together. Even though my drives down to North County are now very far and few between, every mile is worth it.


I know he isn’t going to listen, but it makes me feel better.

I am so tired that my eyelids are aching when I rub them. I probably should have passed out in a food coma the second I got back.

But I couldn’t end tonight until I’ve said what I have to say.

Maybe I am a writer after all.

Till next year.

Maybe sooner.

If this were my desk at work, I’d be more productive!
Thank you Victoria for the fourth rose, and hoping all is well!
The mic there just needs a special touch…
…ah, THAT’S the special touch it needed!
Listening intently…
…or listening WITH intent?
Everybody just nod your head like you’re hanging on every word Thorn says!
Follow the rosy brick road! (Thanks, Ariel for that!)
Keeping things a-breast!
It’s so good to hold you in my arms for the first time



YOUR PRIZE: the link to our new contest!!! Just do it!!! There isn’t even an entry fee!!!

More like an entry FREE!

OK, IT’S BEDTIME. Here’s the link to our new contest:

The Coffee Shop Chronicles II: The Refill

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to–



5 thoughts on “Before Tonight Becomes a Memory: Our Sixth Annual Reunion

  1. Tiffany Vakilian says:

    Grace was so happy (until she wasn’t and I had to rush her out for a meltdown-preventing nap). But it was so good to hug so many good people. Russ, Ed, Don, Mike, David (and son), Stephanie, sooooo many others–and of course sir Thorny-thorn himself. I’m looking forward to the creativity coming from the networking of this event. Also, whoever brought that chocolate cake. You were wrong for that. So wrong.

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