Happenings in Christine's World

Short stories of life, thoughts, and feelings


Letting Go of 2013

Arcadia Photo031Photo courtesy of Mel Raudabaugh

At the beginning of this year I never thought I would be where I am today. It’s interesting how things work out and it seems I am one of those people who has to be careful what they wish for, because I just might get it.

In late April of this year I attended The American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA) conference. My main goal was to network, learn how to build my freelance business, and to learn how to get a literary agent for a biography I have been working on for years. The last breakout session I set in was the most informative for me. It was on how to build a platform, get an agent and get your book published. I had never heard of the term platform before and had no clue what it was. I soon learned and felt discouraged.

A platform is the term used in publishing to define the achievements of the writer and how large of a following the writer has. This does not mean friends on FaceBook or followers on Twitter. It means a writer that has hardwired credentials. What has the writer published? How many books have they sold? And so on. After the breakout session I talked with the agent and author who were on the panel and they clarified that my presentations, the Holocaust article that is published in the Advance Placement Test booklets don’t count. I need a legitimate following who is interested in what I write and what I do. As I mentioned earlier, I was discouraged, but knew I had to get busy and work harder at getting The Wandering Pen grounded and start producing the kind of writing it took to build interest and followers.

During this time I worked full-time in a position that was not fulfilling and I knew it wouldn’t benefit me where my writing career was concerned. I wasn’t happy and eventually I lost the job, which at first was upsetting to my pride, but I soon realized that the door of opportunity just opened for me.

I remembered that a year and a half earlier there was a blurb from Arcadia Publishing in the township newsletter looking for someone to do a pictorial history of the township. I contacted the editor and yes, they were still looking for someone to do the book and I jumped on it. I put together the proposal with the assistance of the editor and sent it to Arcadia. Within a week or so I got the word saying my proposal was approved. Next, the decision on deadlines, I hoped for a January 2014 deadline, but nope, it had to be December 2013, that meant I had four months to gather photos, which the funding to purchase photos came out of my pocket without reimbursement, and arrange the layout for the book. Of course, my first thought was I would get the photos from the historical society and then I learned the cost involved for the photos. I had to come up with a plan B, which I did.

I started making cold calls to people who lived in the area asking them for stories and photos. Feeling relieved that most of the contacts I made were willing to meet with me, share their stories and their photos. I really began to feel that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Some people would call what happened to me coincidences, but I don’t believe in coincidences, I knew there was a higher power looking over me, helping me to fulfill my dream of publishing my first book.

So, here I am, four months later and the layout and the manuscript are now in the hands of the publisher. I understand there will be edits and an eighteen week process till the book is ready, but that’s okay, because by spring I should have my first book selling in Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, and local bookstores. I look at this first publication as my stepping stone to finding an agent and getting the biography I’ve wanted to publish for almost twenty years now published.

So, although there was a period of disappointment I felt when I lost my job, in the end it turned out for the best. I was able to take what I learned at the ASJA conference and put it into action. I still have a lot of work to do to make The Wandering Pen successful, but I feel that at least now I’m in a better position to make it work.

I can’t end this post without acknowledging my family and friends who have stuck by me through my difficult moments this year. I also need to thank all the people who helped me with the pictorial history of Silver Spring Township. I am feeling very bless and fortunate and I do know that there is a higher power in control – that power is referred to as Him, Her, Mother Nature, Great Spirit, Mohammed, Buddha, God, and Goddess to name a few, for me it doesn’t matter what title is used, it’s more important to just believe.

Here is a 3 minute, 16 second video I put together using the photos I posted to Instagram. The photos are from the Susquehanna River to Blackwater Falls, wildlife and flowers, sunrises and sunsets, and seasons.

Cheers to you and to 2014.



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Experiencing the Seasons of 2012

Since the beginning of this year I have set the goal to consciously take in every possible moment I could of each season. That meant taking the time to notice the white clouds floating across the pale blue sky; little green specs turning into green leaves and watching cherry blossoms bloom. I inhaled the fresh scent of lavender lilacs. I saw the return of robins, bluebirds and yellow finches. I saw my lovely red, yellow and pink rose bushes bloom. I took in the scent of the wild honeysuckle that grows on my wooden fence. 

During mid-summer I witnessed butterflies fluttering over my butterfly bush and my corn flowers. Soon large bumble bees appeared as well as funny looking bees that looked like some sort of humming bird, but learned it was a type of moth. 
In late summer my morning glories and moon flowers bloomed on a daily bases. I loved looking at my morning glories each morning to see how many bloomed and in the evening I looked for moon flower blooms. 
Soon the summer eased into the fall and leaves began to turn a golden yellow, burnt orange and burgundy. The color of the leaves seemed to be more vibrant this year, but maybe that’s because I didn’t take as much time to admire them in years past. Soon the rain came and the wind blew and the leaves were gone. This autumn we got to see how devastating Mother Nature can be with Hurricane Sandy when she hit the northeast coast of the United States and wiped away shorelines leaving many without electric for days, but worse, she demolished homes from her strong winds and high waves and took lives. 
Snow did fall once prior to the official start of winter, but since winter officially started on December 21 snow has fallen three times-giving the area in which I live a white Christmas – just like the song sung by Bing Crosby. 
Fortunately, I was able to capture many of these seasonal events in pictures and video. 
My hope for 2013 is that I will once again take the time to consume each season and find peace in the moments. 
Wishing all my family and friends a happy 2013 and be sure to take in as many priceless moments as possible. Once they’re gone – they are gone and no amount of money can buy them back. 
Love and hugs.
PS – I will be posting photos to my Picasa photo site.

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Joy of Autumn: Piling up the Memories

 Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot

What a beautiful autumn weekend; first fall weekend of October. The morning started out with an overcast sky, but eventually the sun broke through without a drop of rain. Now the wind is making the leaves dance and tree branches swing. There is a wonderful chill in the air to show that the season has definitely changed from summer to fall.
The sugar maple tree in my backyard has begun to change its green leaves to gold and auburn. Soon the leaves will be completely changed and fallen to the ground leaving the tree bare.
Earlier today with the help of Gabriel and Emily we raked the golden, red, and yellow leaves that have already fallen to the ground just so Gabriel and Emily could run and jump in the pile of leaves – hearing them laugh and throw the leaves in the air
was priceless. 

In the back of the yard along the fence row stands a young tree that bears lots of green shell covered black walnuts. During this time of the year, the walnuts begin to fall. The fallen nuts are mainly collected for the winter by the squirrels that scamper regularly in the yard, however, Dan collects the nuts as well, not to save, but to get rid of so they are not in our yard. He puts them in his wheelbarrow and then dumps them in a field behind our house. This year, I decided that Emily and I would gather the walnuts, put them in a tub and prepare to crack open the hulls at another time. Although, I just read the hulls need to be removed when they are still green, otherwise the favor of the walnut may become strong. So, I need to rethink my idea.
Thus far, the coming of autumn has been a wonderful treat for me. I have always felt a renewal of energy in the fall. I am in awe of the vibrant colors of the changing leaves and I love the crisp coolness of the air. I know there are many who find summer to be their most perfect season, but for me it is fall.
(piece covering events on Oct. 6, 2012)