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Sonoma County Gazette
Cotati Heart and Soul by Deborah Taylor-French

In Cotati — A Writer's Life

Aug 31, 2017
by Deborah Taylor-French


The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp.
The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. —Ursula K. Le Guin

Living in Cotati nurtures my writing and friendships with writers

The Redwood Writers’ 2017 anthology launch will be held at the Cotati home and garden of Linda Loveland Reid and Harry Reid. I feel so lucky that this dynamic couple have hosted our annual launches. It is an occasion to celebrate our branch of the California Writers Club.

This publication event showcases members reading their stories, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry. Each anthology begins by a call for submissions to a theme. An example theme is Vintage Voices 2012: Call of the Wild. Only members may send in short works for blind review. Acceptance or potential rejections come from an editorial team working under each edition’s editor. To date, my short stories and poems have been accepted in over ten club anthologies. Most writers will agree that publication is a highpoint in their lives. This local opportunity for being published engenders gratitude and loyalty in our members. As usual, I am looking forward to reading this year’s edition. They make fine gifts too.

Writer, painter, and theater director, Linda Loveland Reid has served as RW President, past branch president, writing contest chair, etc. Also she produced 10-minute plays at 6th Street Theater as club fundraisers. You will find both of Loveland Reid’s novels, Something in Stone and Touch of Magenta, on her Web site, I recommend her interview of sculptor,Bruce Johnson, in Sonoma Discoveries magazine, available at

Redwood Writer’s forthcoming anthology, celebration of Sonoma: Stories of a Region and Its People, is the creation of Robert Digitale, Editor in Chief. He is a staff writer atThe Press Democrat. For more than three decades, Digitale has written a wide range of news and feature stories. He also is the author of the fantasy series, The Root of Glory, which includes the novels Horse Stalker and Blaze & Skyfire.

Over the past ten years, the club’s all volunteer efforts have produced an anthology every year. The goal of the 2017 edition is to entertain readers while giving them a better sense of what makes this land so special. This includes stories about people, places, history and activities that have helped define Sonoma County. The book features nonfiction, short fiction, memoir, and poetry. I am excited to read my story, Cotati Vineyard Owner, John Schuster’s Parliament of Barn Owls, in September at the book launch.

In our garden, we hosted Travel Tales: a Redwood Writers Salon.

On August 19th eighteen Redwood Writers arrived at one o’clock. After the potluck dishes were set on the patio table, lively conversations accompanied our shared lunch. About half our group read a personal story related to the theme of “Travel Tales”. RW Salon is held in members’ homes every other month, with new themes and shared dinners. To join Redwood Writers, the most active branch of the California Writers Club, visit where you can fill out a membership form.

Dances with gophers or garden woes in paradise?

A son of the gopher came back. After months of trapping, a few free voracious root eaters remain and new tunnels and holes have appeared. Most disagreeable, that son of a gun’s son has discovered the new flowerbed. Our backyard has three in ground flowerbeds, the rest being in raised beds. In a rectangular bed, where once tall zinnias held their bright faces to the sun, stands a lone sunflower. Gopher greed took them all. Recently, in preparation for hosting Redwood Writers’ August Salon, Marc planted sweet alyssums, marigolds, and salvia. All in wire baskets. We thought gophers didn’t like marigolds due to their strong scent. Untrue. The gopher ate every marigold root, leaving each plant as an abandoned bouquet of flowers to rot. So far our lambs’ ears, and Mexican poppies look healthy. Do you have this problem? Let me know if you are in Cotati and have successfully eliminated gophers. We won’t use poison due to toxicity up the food chain. None of us want to kill our helpful predatory barn owls or hawks.


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