The Observatory

The Truth Shall Set You Laughing

Jeremiah Horrigan

Jeremiah Horrigan
New Paltz, New York, USA
February 04
Working Copy
Former Knight of the Altar, St. Martin's parish in South Buffalo, NY. Old enough to remember ducking-and-covering from the nukes that Sister Jeanne assured us were coming our way, defending Santa Claus until age 10, hating playing sports, wanting to fly, escaping to Westchester County for three years, re-escaping to Buffalo for most of high school, escaping to Fordham U long enough to drop out, escaping school, getting political, getting arrested, getting tried, convicted and released for crimes against the draft. Husband to Patty, father to Grady and Annie. Housepainter, cab driver, idiot, then newspaper reporter in Poughkeepsie, years of freelancing (Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Negligent Mother Magazine) and shameful indulgence, followed finally by 18 more years of reporting, column-writing, some awards, discoveries large and small along the way, including these: Sister Jeanne was full of beans, writing is good for the soul and I'm the luckiest man alive.


Jeremiah Horrigan's Links
JUNE 28, 2010 10:42PM

Giving credit where credit is due

Rate: 12 Flag

As many of  you already know, some lucky few of us OSers spent a day  happily and usefully ensconced in the stony aerie that is Mohonk Mountain House, members of a writers' retreat. Some of us came from across the country and some from just down the winding road. Some were strangers known only to others by our avatars. Others were friends, both longtime and recent. And get this -- though we wrote and spoke of stories pain-filled, true, touching and funny -- we none of us fell to argument or criticism.  When it was over, no one dared describe the good feelings that abounded, perhaps for fear of breaking the mood we'd been feeling all day (moods don't yield well or easily to words). Now, two days away from it (I did not avail myself of Sunday's  tugboat trip, alas) I'd call that feeling this: we experienced the fellowship of the pen that day. So many writers use their words -- especially on the net -- to cut and slash and burn. On Saturday, we writers used words to build. I'll leave it at that and suggest if you'd like to read some particulars that reflect in spirit and tone the tenor and pleasures of the day, take a look at Maria Heng's latest post.

 Egad. I think that was the longest paragraf I've ever written.  But, in keeping with the spirit of that day, I'll refer no more to what  retreat leader Kate Hymes so refeshingly called the "jargon of writing."

My original reason for this post is reflected in its title. None of the day's discoveries or pleasures would have happened without Greg Correll's mighty efforts, ranging all the way back to the first time he proposed the writer's retreat in the fall. Greg has worn many hats in his various careers, (including his hallmark, tubularly-squashed straw cowboy hat) but, though I've never asked him directly, I don't think hesd ever been an event planner. I won't enumerate the tasks he took on, since I don't know what they were and I was perfectly content to let him (and his delightful daughter Molly) do all the heavy lifting. 

So here's to two-fifths of the Correll family, the folks who made it possible for strangers and friends to come together on a gorgeous day in June and see what we could see and write what we could write about and for each other and ourselves.

Cheers, mate! And many thanks.












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It sounded like such a wonderful time. I hope to be able to make it next time. Hoping there will be a next time.
"the fellowship of the pen " Love the term!
And great to meet you, Jeremiah. The chapter you read was a hoot. And kudos to Greg and Molly for all they did.
Trilogy: It was indeed. And I'm certain there will be a next time. But be warned: the position of Grateful Bystander is already taken. See Greg for details. (the book is in my briefcase, which means it's almost in the mail.)

Cranky: It was too short. I still don't understand your moniker. It doesn't seem to have much to do with your writing, which I find generous, thoughtful and anything but cussed. Accent over the "e."
Wow Jerimiah. I am so glad you were there and thank you for this. I have read some of the slashing and fighting here on OS. I don't participate. I don't believe I am yet a talented enough writer to hold up and i don't like it. But thank you for writing, sharing, here and at the retreat. You are great friend to my father and I know you helped :) there will be another!
I hope this is a 'retreat' that leads to success for you all - delighted to hear the book is going well, Jeremiah! I'd like to think I might join you at one of these in the future but til then, thank you for sustaining my faith in the OS as a community of writers.
I understood OS to be a community of writers. Greg and his fifth wheel (Molly) have gently steered this train back onto the track with this retreat and I certainly hope we are inspired enough to pursue more of these gatherings. Time, travel, and funds are considerations for so many of us - but there are ways to do this all over the country in many different settings, even if just for a day. Heres to local writer's conferences everywhere. cheers.
It was so wonderful and yes yes Thank you, Greg and Ms. Hymes!
What a delight to meet you. I can't wait to start planning another retreat ;-)
cheers back atcha!

And to all: Jeremiah was, without question, the funniest, most entertaining Evening Reader. His selection, from his new all-too-true, gothic horror comedy, "Get Me Out of Here!" based on a middle-aged guy's colonoscopy-and-subsequentials? Had us falling out of our chairs. He is a gifted comedic reader, too.

thanks, pal.
Reading your posts is my tutorial in learning how to write.
Sorry I missed it, but life is a long time.
Wasn't it just fabulous! Of course I had the seat of honor - next to you. You made me laugh and I think that's probably better than anything.
You are so droll and talented. It was a pleasure meeting you and sharing with you. And yes, Greg (and Molly) deserve kudos!
Yes, so many of my sentiments have already been said by you all.
It is still giving me such a rush, even though it's been days.
Now, god only knows where all you OS'ers get the energy to keep up with all this activity. I'm always thinking of who I'm forgetting.
But I have an idea, a good one, of what Greg had to do to put this together and make it happen, and it could not possibly have been easy, not withstanding Molly's help.
I sincerely hopes he does it again because there aren't many who would, or could, fill his shoes. And Kate, if you ever read any of these posts, you did an absolutely fabulous job working with such a diverse group, helping us in finding our own unique voices.
Molly: Don't believe what you appear to be telling yourself about lacking talent. And if you fall to doubting your abilities again, remind yourself of your latest post, which I was so glad to see. And don't forget to check out those printing prices.

Marie: Anytime you find yourself heading this way, let me know. I'd be happy to show you around the place everyone yearns to come to when they tire of the city. As for sustaining faith, check out Molly's, Greg's, Jonathan Wolfman's, Nikki Stern's, the mysterious yalebno's, Lea Lane's, Gail Walter's and Maria Heng's sites for all the proof you'll ever need that writers can help and support and enjoy each other and their work, especially if someone or two lead the way.

Abby: Here here. It's refreshing and illuminating meeting people you've read on OS and discovering they're even more interesting than their stories.

Jonathan: I second that emotion. Or is that third?

Nikki: Here it is Tuesday -- almost Wednesday -- and we're still talking (and writing) about it. That says something, doesn't it? I know I'll see you at the next one. You think fall is too soon, because autumn around here is unbelievable. . .

Greg: I'm uneasy with praise but happy to have to struggle with it. Fact is, I had a great audience -- I felt listened-to with the same alert attentiveness that had prevailed all day. Your comment is icing on a very rich cake. Thank you my friend.

Evan: Mighty kind words, coming from someone who's already been published and who has something to say about the dark and mysterious and inhospitalble place I HospitalWorld.

Jim: I hope you're right & I hope I see you sometime soon.

Lea: Your stories (day and night) were brilliant, the first draft of your jaw-dropping "anniversary" story seeming as bright and sharp as your traveler's tale. The pleasure was all mine.

Yalebno: (don't know if you want your real name used). I wonder how other OSers keep up too. It can be humbling. But thank God for it -- I find very little nourishment any where else on the web, or anywhere else, period.
Gail: Almost missed you there. We agree -- if laughter isn't part of the recipe, I'm not eating. I think I put on a few pounds, even before lunch.

And let me add, having spoken to you a bit and read several of your posts & comments, you did us all an honor by coming all that way and stepping into such an unknown. Bravo.
Ah Jeremiah, best comments, best comments in the world. Even on your own blog. Thank you.
u made me sorry i missed it.
Dear Jeremiah, I just discovered this here post from a link to it on Greg's new post!
"fellowship of the pen" it certainly was and I love how your draw attention to the use of our busy pens - to build as opposed to slashing.
You are very sweet to point your readers to my post. Thank you very much. Greg now has all our reports linked to from which will be like an album of this wonderful day for me. It was a deep pleasure meeting you Jeremiah. I enjoyed your presence immensely.
PLeasure was all mine Maria. I hope to see you sometime soon. Maybe have a mini-gathering at The Bistro. . . .
I wish I could have been there but your post captures the spirit of the event. Thank you for this.
Emma: There's serious talk about a return engagement in the autumn, which is among the most spectacular times of the year in these parts, and especially at Mohonk. I'd love to meet & hear you you.
I'm so glad you had a nice experience. Three cheers for the Corrells. What a splendid idea -- and what a beautiful location.
Steve -- Mohonk's an absolute delight with a surprising history. It was established by Quakers whose ideas of rockin' was limited strictly to the chairs on the vast porch. As recently as the '80s, I'd have been kicked out for harboring that bottle of Jack you caught me with in your last post. . . .