Saturday, June 24, 2006
So after my bee-stinging incident on Wednesday evening, I was all set to have a website done by Thurs -- but that didn't happen since the composer we're using kept screwing up and I have a big web learning curve to master. I want my website to happen soon! But, the longer I think about it and figure out what I want on it, the better it'll be. Poets & Writers magazine has a great article about writers getting website and some basic design tips -- check it out!
I got another big wrench in my publishing plans when Office Max called to say they couldn't print my chapbook because the B&W printer broke down. WHAT?!? How could they let this happen and aren't they a little mad that they're losing my business? I guess not. Kerri the "I don't give a sh*t" associate let me know the bad news and to tell you the truth, I had a feeling that they wouldn't complete the job. So the afternoon she called, I picked up my flash drive and decided to go to Staples instead after calling them. Well, at 8:50am the next day, Staples was closed!! It was supposed to be open by 7am and the store associates were left waiting outside for their store manager to open up the store. Now I worked in retail for 9+ years and I NEVER let this happen at my store. ARGGHH! So I decided to go Sir Speedy, on Hillsborough St. across NC State where I was heading anyway for my Independent Study meeting (to finalize my Shubuta paper). Sir Speedy had two knowledgable employees: Eddie and Wendy who scanned my flash drive and let me know they needed my image files on the drive, too. ARGHHH. So I had to drive back home and get those and then come back down to State. Well, I got it all done, and Sir Speedy will have my books done this Monday afternoon! Yay -- "Ghostcards" will be out this week. Let me know if you want to buy one at avosborn(at) earthlink(dot) net only $7!
Then the day started turning around. I found a wonderful location for my trio of "Write from the Inside" workshops: 8/30, 9/6, and 9/13 all on Wed evenings 7-9pm at the Edible Art Bakery on Hillsborough St in the same complex at the Royal Bean Coffee shop, Playmakers and Ben & Jerry's. Owner Bobby Reynolds and I worked out the rental details and we're all set. Dessert and coffee will be provided for the participants as well as a take-home writing manual/journal filled with tips. $130 for the workshop and I'm offering a 20% discount for students. The shop is wood-paneled with Art Deco touches and very quiet. This will be a creative nonfiction workshop designed for writers at all levels to help find your voice and write with passion and power - and hopefully get published soon. I believe it's a lot easier to publish nonfiction than fiction and anyone can do it, with the right tools. I'm also having a free workshop Wed. 7/12 at the Royal Bean and that will be a fun-filled evening of writing prompts and sharing each other's work.
I believe that my experience with bad customer service gives me the edge for my own programs. Plus, I've had so many years of practicing good customer service in my various capacities with Belk. You can bet everyone who attends my workshops will get a personal Thank You card.
This week I'm attending Meredith College's (Womens Only) Focusing on Form workshop, which is the place where Jane and I met 2 years ago. I'm taking poetry with poetry great Betty Adcock. Promise to give you some highlights this week!
Till next time,
Friday, June 23, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
So, as I'm doing the Shubuta/lynching bridge research there's a lot of contradiction. I thought that the Hanging Bridge had a historical marker on it, but it doesn't -- another one does that is its sister. Hopefully, my Shubuta friend, Jerry, will help me figure some of this out. But, he did send me his book and a good photo of the Hanging Bridge. It looks kind of scary to cross, with an overhead metal span and it's maybe 50 feet from the Chickasaway River -- which I know floods.
Today, I'm getting my website done - wish me luck. This is a completely new enterprise for me. I'm also picking up my chapbook, "Ghostcards" from the printer today, and I'm nervous because maybe they didn't do it right or maybe I made a major editing gaffaw. Well, we'll see how it goes. Only $5 (that's $2 off the cover price if you're reading this blog).
Till next time,
Alice "I need some itch cream" Osborn
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Keith studied the map and I studied the places that had historic interest like Saratoga Springs and Fort Ticonderoga. We finally had a gameplan of sightseeing and hiking. Maybe a day trip to Montreal was in the mix. Keith said, "We're so close to Canada, why not?" I could see we would be moving around a lot, but that's what we do on our vacations -- we're active people.
I easily booked our room in Saratoga Springs on Expedia and our first B&B in Jay, NY was also an easy booking. Jay is a very small town 17 miles east of Lake Placid and it has a broken covered bridge. This B&B is called the Book & Blanket and the owners include their Basset Hound Zoe in every correspondence. Many B&B's only have 2-3 units, which makes me wonder 1) how did they house people for the 1980 Olympics and 2) how do these B&B owners make any money? I called another place while waiting to hear back from our first choice (the Forest House B&B) at Blue Mtn Lake, owned by Ann LaForest ("the forest" in French) and it turned out Karl's B&B was little more than a basement apartment serving cold cereal and coffee. Bev ran the outfit, while Karl is disabled. I spoke with Bev (very nice lady) and later when our first choice emailed me back (the Forest House B&B), I called Bev again to let her know not to pencil us in. Bev asked where we were staying instead, and I told her. Then she informed me that Ann's brother had gone missing in late April and no one had seen him since. Shocking. His body still hasn't turned up. We're still staying there, though, because it's the best (and only) B&B at Blue Mountain and we plan on hiking 2 long trails there. So sorry, Ann.
Next post -- my new friend, Jerry Mason, from Shubuta, MS gives me the scoop on the Hanging Bridge and the lies told around his town.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Jane K. Andrews
I walked for the Cure for 3 reasons. 1.) I like to walk and sometimes I like to walk with friends. 2.) I get a tee-shirt that declares me a good person. 3.) My friend Gail’s mother has breast cancer, but Gail doesn’t know how she is faring because her mother has been estranged from Gail and her two brothers for 4 years. Disease did not draw the ties of family tighter. Still, I wrote Becky’s name on my tag. I wrote my friend Stephen’s name as well although he has thyroid cancer. A breakthrough in any cancer treatment I figure spells some hope for all cancer treatments. 4.) I am ridiculously superstitious and walking for the Cure makes me feel like I am propitiating the malevolent spirits of cellular chaos who may take it to mind to metastasize into terrorist cells attacking vital organs unless they are duly acknowledged with respect, awe, and a blister on the ball of the right foot.
Last summer I had my first mammogram. My friend Beth made me. She went with me to keep me from being nervous.
The technician, Jenny, said, “Sling ‘em on up there, Mrs. Andrews.”
I slung what I had and waited to receive the postcard Beth told me the radiologist would send me telling me everything was swell. I did not get a postcard. I got a letter. Not good. Any news from the radiologist that won’t fit on a postcard cannot be good news. I did not open the letter. I still have not opened it. I stared at it. I moved it from the dining room table to the buffet and back. I held it and tried to imagine that it was a letter praising my magnificent (if diminutive) mammaries. Finally, George, my OBGYN called me and said there was an “anomaly” in my mammogram and I needed a second one. Holy shit. I was ready to sign up for a drive-thru mastectomy. I am not vain enough to die fjust to look good in a sweater.
“I have a blip on my mammogram,” I told my friend Elaine.
“I’m going to think of this blip,” she said, “as a dandelion.”
“You know how a dandelion goes to seed and you can just blow the seeds away? I am going to think that you will just blow this blip away like a dandelion.”
I was silent.
“Poof,” she added.
For the 6 days I waited for my retake appointment I took long walks and thought about breast cancer and dandelions. Whenever I started to panic, I blew a little puff of air, like a tiny Lamaze breath to make a wish and send the anomaly on my film floating away as harmless as down.
It wasn't until this Monday after the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure when it was time for another mammogram when it was time for another mammogram that I remembered the down of the dandelion sends seeds on the wind to bloom the next year.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Yesterday, I started laying out my poetry book and hit a few snags with Adobe Pagemaker, which I hope to resolve this afternoon. I want to include photos on the pages since my book is called "Ghostcards" -- makes sense to me anyway. Looking through my old photo albums is a little scary-- Ack! I have bad hair! and what about those bangs~ I also am next to people that I don't see anymore; we've all gone our separate ways.
I also sent out an email for my free writing workshop in Raleigh at the Royal Bean and have gotten several responses! It'll be from 7:30-9:30 on Wed. July 12th and all writers at all levels are welcome.
Till next time (which will be about vacation planning)
Along with this course, I'm designing my website www.aliceosborn.com along with Jane's husband's and son's help. Thank goodness! I've already set up my domain and host. I'm hoping this site will bring writers to my workshops and retreats and will advertise my editing services, as well as my books-to-be. I'm also hard at work on my first poetry chapbook, "Ghostcards," but need help getting my Word documents loaded into a pdf format. I'm hoping to have these two big projects done by June 26th, the start of Meredith College's Women's Only Focusing on Form, which is week-long writing workshop. I'm taking poetry with NC poet Betty Adcock and I can't wait.
I wish I could get more motivated to get my thesis done. My project is on "Creating Communication in the Composition Classroom" by writing personal essays that are framed by transformative creative non-fiction texts. I may even switch around some of the texts since one of my selections may be too long for my hypothetical students to finish. But I have to get my draft done by Aug 1st -- wish me luck!
So on top of all this I also write technical articles for the web and my editor/publisher, Will (aka Webman) gives my weekly deadlines. My last 800-word article was on the 7 non-security uses of video cameras and finished it before midnight on Sunday (my deadline). Whooo Hoo! Every week it's something new and trying to get these articles done over the weekend is tough since I have a husband and very active 3 1/2 year old. So I work Fri and Sat nights and pinch time where I can. Daniel goes to daycare/school during the week, so my days are spent writing/reading/researching and I'm fairly productive. I also started a p/t job with Katharine Giovanni, a business owner and self-publisher and is giving me wonderful tips. I got this job through my hairdresser, who is another fantastic person. Here's my philosophy: create a circle of terrific people and you'll become terrific yourself!!!
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