Friday, October 8, 2021

I met my husband at college

There are so many husband meeting stories.  

My "right time to meet him" was because in high school I went on a trip with the Luther League to a state convention at Keyser, West Virginia, and while there discovered Potomac Junior College. (these days it's called - Potomac State College of West Virginia University.) In German class I sat next to this guy who had come from Baltimore Maryland. Francis Elbert Old III, otherwise known as Chip. We both had come by train, me traveling east from the Ohio River area of West Virginia and he traveling west from Baltimore Maryland. We both were there because our first choice college had not accepted us.

It really irked me that a lot of boys and men at that time thought that girls going to college was a waste of time; that they were only looking for MRS. degrees. It always shocked them when I insisted I was intent on earning a degree in a field where I could work. That discouraged a good many from dating me. Which was fine with me.

It just so happened that we both were in the college band - me on clarinet and he behind us in charge of the kettle drums. We liked each other and had a few casual dates, nothing much. He never believed me when I told him that the whole woodwind section was adoring him from afar.

Since this was a 2 year college, I went on to West Virginia University and dated other guys. Since he had taken a year off from high school to work, he was a year behind me. The next year, I was sitting in my Ancient History class and Lo and Behold, guess who came and sat next to me? This same guy. That year we were friends, but dating other people. (Can you believe that one of his girlfriends was a girl named Wendy? It's true.)

At WVU, I was in the orchestra playing the bassoon and was constantly being roped in to play with small groups at the Music Department, so that the people studying to be conductors could practice conducting with us as their victims. Fun. A year or more later, I bought a guitar and asked him to teach me how to play. He was great at it, but I never got my fingers coordinated enough to be any good. (Eventually he performed at the local Coffeehouse with the other local folk singers) I also attempted the flute with the same result, so I sold the flute to a jazz musician, but I'm not sure what happened to the guitar. I think I gave it to my sister.  

I don't know if he joined the Fencing Club because I was in it, but he got quite good with the epee. When I went to be a camp counselor, teaching fencing, I wrote long letters to him. Unfortunately his father, who was an editor, got ahold of my letters and EDITED them, and said I was a poor writer. It's too bad he didn't live long enough to see my 45 published books. (Chip used to call me - his 'famous writer wife.")

Anywho, we dated, then married, graduated from WVU, got MSLS graduate degrees at University of Kentucky (where we helped run the Fencing Club there), and began working as librarians at Baltimore County Public Library. After having several children, I ended up at Harford County Public Library as a children's librarian for over 20 years.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Bookcases wanted

 I was just in my local library and noticed they were packing up to renovate. Since several of our wooden bookcases came from a library under renovation, I asked if they were selling their beautiful bookcases.

 Sadly, they were not. They were only renovating the floors and were moving the bookcases out of the way.  🙁

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Farewell typewriter

 My husband and I shared an electric typewriter. He wrote articles for an antique MG car magazine and I was writing articles for the local newspaper. 

One day I discovered at breakfast time - no typewriter. He had gotten so frustrated at his multiple mistakes on a typing page that he had had to retype several times that he had picked up the typewriter and thrown it on the floor. We were vacuuming up typewriter parts and multiple ball bearings for months afterwards. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

They repainted our houses

 Well, they've repainted the section of the condo that I see from my kitchen window. It's so depressing. (others may say it's smart and chic and o so elegant, I don't.)  

The houses used to be painted in warm autumn tones. Creamy off white houses with warm rusty autumn leaves paint on the trim.  

Now what do I see? Stark white houses with black trim and gray doors. Depressing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Publishing Industry Glossary

Just for fun,  Posted by: Rick Walton  

   Date: Sat Jun 18, 2011 

Whenever I spend a great deal of time involved in something, my mind starts rebelling, and twisting it out of shape and it spit out the following:

A Publishing Industry Glossary

Author--the costume a writer puts on when he goes to a cocktail party.

Auction--a contest where two or more editors race to see who can show the most irrational exuberance.

Advance--the best proof that your project is moving forward.

ARC-- a vessel you send out into the ocean of reviewers, hoping it floats instead of sinks.

Backlist--books still in print, but which the publisher hides behind his back so they are hard to see.

Book--a rectangular device for immortalizing the person whose name is inscribed on it. Not to be confused with "headstone".

Contract--a document which, if held to the same standards as its subject, would require serious editing.

Cover letter--a letter designed to cover the weaknesses in your manuscript.

Critique--hopefully advice to help you turn your pony into a racehorse, but too often the suggestion that you turn your pony into an alligator.

Designer--a person who proves that people do indeed judge a book by its cover.

Dialogue--what people might say in real life if it were edited for clarity, conciseness, and for necessity to the plot. In other words, nothing at all like what people say in real life.

Draft--a manuscript with still enough holes in it to let the wind blow through.

E-book--E stands for everyone, as in everyone now will think they can write a book.

Editor--a young woman with just slightly more power than God. 

Editorial Board--a plank that your book is forced to walk by the captain of the publishing ship. Sometimes the book is allowed to come back and join the crew. But most of the time the book is pushed into the ocean.

Endpapers--a great place to write notes when you're out of notepaper, which is why they should be plain white.

Fiction--what a writer tells himself to make him believe he can write something people will pay money for.

Graphic novel--a comic book that went to college.

Hardcover--the best kind of book to use as a murder weapon.

Imprint--one of the personalities exhibited in a publisher's multiple personality disorder.

ISBN--Intercontinental Satellite-Based Nuke. What an author wishes they had access to when they get a bad review.

Jacket--an outer covering designed to make a cool book hot.

Line editing--editing that does not require you to wrap your mind around the whole plot, as substantive editing does, but which allows you to work while standing in the grocery store line, the bank line, the DMV line,...

Mass-market--a type of book that most of the time the masses, with great enthusiasm, ignore.

Option clause--a contract clause that gives you the option to either say, "No thank you, take it out." Or, "Are you out of your mind? Take it out!"

Print on demand--polite people say "print on request".

Publication date--a blind date set up between your book and the reader. You hope for a long-term relationship, but too often it results in your book being stood up.

Publisher--a company that is looking for something new and fresh as long as it has been done before.

Quill--if it was good enough for Shakespeare, it is good enough for you.

Reader--a very smart person who likes your book, or one who is not so smart who doesn't.

Rejection--a necessary evil, unless it involves my manuscript, then it is a totally unnecessary wrong.

Remainder--also known as "reminder". A step in the publishing process designed to remind you that you aren't as hot as you were starting to think you are.

Royalty--a British term for when publishers send the author lots of small pieces of paper with pictures of royalty on them in exchange for publishing their books. American publishers kept the term, in spite of the fact that our small pieces of paper do not have pictures of royalty on them, because they are afraid that if it was called "president", we would hear it as "precedent" and start expecting them to send us those little pieces of paper more often.

Typewriter--the best writing device ever to use as a murder weapon.

Unsolicited submission--a twisted form of attempted adoption where you give your dear child away to someone who doesn't want it.

Vanity press--a variation of "van o' depressed". So-called because you end up depressed with a van full of books.

Young adult--the average age of editors today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Keep reaching for your goal

I'm listening to a video chat from the national SCBWI conference about setting and achieving your career goals- and it occurred to me that I have actually done this. I had a full-time job in a library (around wonderful children, wonderful co-workers, and books books books.) I also wanted to write books. I ended up writing many books and over 40 of them were published. We won't talk about the ones still filling drawers in my office filing cabinets. And for about a year I was a famous author. :) (then I went back to being a working mom who wrote books in her "spare" time. :) )

I also reached my goal of performing as a musician and hanging out with other musicians (in college) and later with music fans. (followed the Moody Blues for a while and even got to meet them for a quick minute backstage with a friend.)
I got very, very tired of shoveling snow (one year we had over 4 feet of snow - in Maryland!) So I now live in the land of eternal springtime - southern California coast.
I wanted more instruction about writing, so I went for a second masters degree (the first was in Library Science that I attended with my husband), at VCFA - Vermont College of Fine Arts, writing for Children and young adults.
Have I reached all my goals? nope. If you stop reaching for goals, you shrivel up and die.
So I keep reaching.