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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Final Day of 2009, December 31

Most people find the last day of the year as a day of putting the last year in perspective. I’m no different than most people & can’t help but to reflect on the days gone by. This year started out rocky for me where I needed to accept the fact my mom is in the early stages of dementia and deal with the fact that she no longer remembers my birthday, or other special events she was on top of.

The next thing that hit me & my family hard was my sister diagnosis of brain cancer. It took almost 3 months to find out what was going on with her. Finally after many trips to Johns Hopkins we learned of the cancer. Her cancer is a rare form of brain cancer it’s hopeful she will survive it.

After that news there was good news ~ the birth of my new grandson Zachary. He was born on May 13 and his presence in the world continues to feel my heart with joy.

I can’t explain well enough how much joy Zachary’s birth has brought to my life, especially when there was so much uncertainty prior to his birth. Through the year I realized (once again) how much my children & grandchildren mean to me.

This year I also reached a milestone ~ I turned 50. I am glad to have reached that milestone & my kids & grandchildren made my birthday a very special day with a trip to Gettysburg. They took me to eat at O’Roukes & later we had our picture taken dressed in Civil War attire. It was fantastic.

On top of the birthday present I received my kids & grandchildren, I took a trip to New York City to see my friend, Karen Carpenter’s show Love, Loss, & What I Wore. Karen is directing the show, which is based on IIlene Beckerman’s book of the same title. Nora Ephron & her sister Delia wrote the script.

It was a delight to stay with Karen & to see her finally achieve her goal after working so hard to get to that point. I am going to see the show again in February with Kathy O’Brien & Terri Lesh and can’t wait. We will be making a weekend of it.

The next exciting part of my birthday celebration is when Laura, a Vermont College classmate, came to stay with me for a few days. It was great sharing road trips such as Lancaster Amish Country, Flight 93 Memorial site, & Gettysburg. Plus I took her passed Three Mile Island, the state capitol, and the Susquehanna River. It was a wonderful time with her.

So now here we are ~ at the end of the year ~ only minutes away until it’s over & a new decade begins. I’m looking forward to the new year and the opportunities I will have to expand my writing profession.