Island Writers Network

Hilton Head Island Writers and Their Books

Anthology Excerpt: ‘The Smell of Mortality’

Written By: Admin - Nov• 24•15

Cathryn McNamee_IWN AuthorToday we have another excerpt from our newest anthology. This is from the poem, “The Smell of Mortality,” by Cathryn McNamee. She shares her thoughts on the subject matter following the excerpt:

“The clopping of the horses, the digging of the trench,
For God and glory give your life among the mud and stench.
The boys with rosy faces, their smiles of hope and grace,
Lost limbs and heart and courage, knew
They’d never win the race.
But what they did not know for sure,
The race was not to win,
The race was who could die the first,
The Brit or German twin?”

I have submitted this excerpt from my poem called “The Smell of Mortality.” This is a poem about “War”, about young men on opposite sides who give their lives for their perceived cause…for freedom, for land, for religion. It doesn’t really matter, for in the end, the corpses pile up and the sad scenario is repeated in another time and another place. Mankind needs wisdom and goodness not the desire for power.

It is rather timely in the light of the horrific attacks in Paris and Lebanon.

My usual creative writing is children’s stories, where I can luxuriate in fantasy, whimsy, imagination and hopefully show a flicker of hope for the goodness and fun of life. Please visit my site at

Time and Tide Excerpt: ‘The Gift of a Mentor’

Written By: Admin - Nov• 20•15

IWN - Hilton Head IslandThe following excerpt is from our fourth anthology, Hilton Head Island: Time and Tide, and written by Carol Linneman.

Be sure to read her notes that follow the excerpt:

“He came a lot…When it was hot, even though I was all sweaty, he took me in his fancy convertible for ice cream!…Lots of times we just sat on a bench and talked.”

“I felt pretty cool, trying to act like some of the kids at school. But, Mr. Tim, the teen coordinator, stopped me and made me pull up my pants. The way he talked to me made me mad, so the next day I tried it again! That really got me far! I had to appear with my mama in Teen Court. Mama was not happy with me!”

Notes From the Author

In writing “The Gift of a Mentor,” my goal was to showcase the need for and importance of people who are willing to invest in a young person’s life. Many of our youth need nurturing that comes from someone outside of their families.

The story is fiction, based on a compilation of actual events. The mentors are real people (names have been changed) living in our community, who have successfully guided youth in finding firm ground on which to build their lives.

Mentoring is accomplished in different ways, something not everyone realizes. In the story, the main mentor spent years of his life with one child, while the other mentor interacted with groups of youth on a daily basis as part of an organized program. All it takes is heart and a little time—a gift given and a gift received.

IWN Anthology Poem: ‘Her Room’

Written By: Admin - Nov• 17•15

Fred Bassett_IWNThis excerpt from the latest IWN anthology, Time and Tide, is the poem, “Her Room,” by Fred Bassett. But first we share this background from the author on the poem’s inspiration:

After we moved to Hilton Head Island in August of 1988, it dawned on me as my birthday approached that I should visit my mother, who now lived by herself only three hours away, and celebrate her life for giving me life. So I called her to tell her I was coming, by myself, on my birthday to take her to lunch, just the two of us…

Her Room

She sits alone in the big chair,
admiring the cut flowers by the window.
It was her first-born son’s birthday,
and he had driven three hours
to celebrate with gifts for her.
The mother should be the focus
of one’s birthday, he would tell her.
She picks up the new teddy bear,
the first she could call her own,
and holds it like it was a baby.

Drifting across the years, she recalls
the morning her water broke.
How young and innocent she was.
How hope had withered to despair
during the long, difficult labor
in that old farm house back in Alabama.
A travail she had never spoken about,
although her sister had blabbed it to him.
But she could not contain within herself
the anguish of her darkest day.
How she woke that morning to find
her beloved husband dead in their bed.
Yet her world kept turning,
shadowed with both joy and sorrow.

The old family clock strikes five.
She had expected him to call by now.
Surely he was safely home with his family.
She turns to the opposite wall
where the late sun, in fair weather,
always works some shifting spell.
And there are the shadows of her flowers.