What a couple of weeks these have been since I got back from Oregon City. Last week I got everything ready to send my second book to the publisher and this week I had to have surgery on my face to save it from the worst kind of skin cancer. Forgive my pun above; I couldn’t resist. A word of warning: the last couple of photos aren’t of bridges and may bother you.
I had finished, actually almost finished, the text on my bridges guide last August. It’s on its fourth and last title––The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans. At least, I think it’s the title I’ll stick with. The unfinished part had to do with questions I still had about the I.L. Patterson and Thomas Creek bridges. I even had the name of a person in Gold Beach who would most likely know the answers, but when I tried to contact her in August, she was on vacation. That’s when I got busy with other stuff.
From the last week of August through the first week of October, my time became consumed by the Florence Festival of Books. What time I had left was involved in working in the yard and some painting projects outside that needed doing before the rains came back. Then my sister was here during the first week of September. So the text for my book just sat for almost two months.
That’s not a bad thing. When you have a chance to distance yourself from your writing, you can look at it with fresh eyes, be more objective. When I got back to it, I made a variety of changes—did some tightening and added pizzazz here and there. Then, of course, I found the sections that needed to be completed.
Last week, I was able to contact Sue Dawson at the Visitor Center in Gold Beach and she told me that the bridge over the Rogue had a four-year restoration that ended in 2005. I had read that it was five years and ended in 2003. I was quite sure the ending date was incorrect because I had been there in 2004 and 2005 and the bridge was still being worked on. But I didn’t know what was correct. And I had been told that there were directions available to trails where you could see the Thomas Creek Bridge, but didn’t know where to look. So I was able to get correct info on the bridge over the Rogue and trail directions for the Thomas Creek Bridge from Sue. Then I went over the whole manuscript again and again before sending to the publisher, Bob Serra, of Pacific Publishing. This is the same publisher that I used for Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges.
While the edit sat, Bob was out getting photos for the book and a photographer I know from Tillamook, Chuck Connell, was doing the same on some of the bridges between Tillamook and Newport.
I even went up to Newport last week to meet with Chuck regarding photos for the book. Check out his blog––tourthepacificnorthwest.wordpress.com––and videos–– livevideostreaming.blogspot.com––to see what he is doing to promote the Oregon Coast.
Then I put together a Contents page and list of Milepost numbers to go with a map for the book and sent to Bob.
Next, it was time to organize the photos that I had been acquiring from here and there. I popped each up on the computer and printed a copy. On each photocopy, I wrote the bridge name, the number if it was on a disk, the section of the book it belonged in, a caption, who to credit, and where it could be found—e-mail attachment or the name of the disk it was on. And I put all the disks in a baggy with a file of the photocopies. The photocopies of the color and historic photos for each bridge were stapled together and then all the photos for the bridges for each section were paper-clipped together. I had divided the coast into four sections and then added a section for the newer bridges that showed a return to the elegance of the past. I actually cover 19 bridges in the book. I also e-mailed all the photos that weren’t on disks.
Bob had spent some time looking at guidebooks in bookstores. So we met and made some decisions that were a change from what I originally envisioned. We were not going to go with spiral bound after all, and we would continue with another horizontal book. So I looked around at my horizontal books and came up with what I thought were the best dimensions. Then I started counting words in that size book to figure out how many would be needed per page, factoring in photos. Then I used the computer to figure out how many words were in each bridge segment in the manuscript. Then I determined exactly which historical photos I simply had to use and which I could do without.
After doing all that, I was finally able to figure out how many pages per bridge in the guide, knowing that it would have to be even pages in order for it to work properly. So when three of the bridges came up with odd numbers, I had to rework the text on all three and reduce to fit. Then I figured the front and back pages and added everything all up and came up with 48. That is exactly what we had figured we would probably need using our best guesstimates. Working with the photos, figuring the pages, and doing the rewriting took some very long days. But I got it done and turned in last Monday when I met with Bob. And he had spent that time getting a cover photo that he is pleased with.
So Bob now has everything he needs to edit and lay out the book. I’m sure there will be some edit changes, and once he starts laying it out, then I can be the editor. So the second book The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Bridges is on its way. Very exciting!
I really pushed myself to get everything I needed to do done and turned in by Monday because Tuesday I had to be in Eugene. I had an appointment to have a skin cancer removed from my face. Usually, it’s not a big deal. I have had about 45 skin cancers removed from face, back, neck, etc, including four on my nose that involved the Mohs’ micrographic surgery that would be used this time too. This is where a section is taken and you wait for the lab results and then more is taken and you wait for the results again and again until the results are all clear of bad cells. All of these had been basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas in the past. But this time it was melanoma. Big, bad melanoma and it was a big one.
I have had this large spot for probably 25 years or more and it has gradually darkened and my dermatologist, Dr. Diane Baird, thought it was growing larger. So she biopsied it a month ago and told me that these were called large freckles and sometimes after decades develop bad cells. And that’s exactly what has happened. It had turned into a beginning stage melanoma and had to go.
So I saw Dr. Jay Park, who had done my previous four Mohs nose jobs. I arrived at 1:30 p.m., and the doctor took a chunk and came back an hour or so later and took some more. Then because it was a melanoma, they took more all along the rim. An hour later convinced that all the bad cells were gone, it was time to repair the damage.
I now had a 2-inch by 1 ½-inch oval hole on my cheek just below my eye. Dr. Park spent some time trying to figure out exactly what to do. I even asked if he had done other repairs like this, and he said, “Oh, yeah!” I felt better. From time to time more Lydocaine local anisthetic was injected. It worked just fine, cause I didn’t feel anything, but the sawing and snipping sounds were just a bit unnerving. He ended up peeling some skin by my ear and flipping it around to cover the major part of the opening. Then he started stitching it up. Whenever I opened my eyes, I could only see from one, I saw what looked like fish line hanging above me and moving slowly. Hmm!
It was around 6 p.m. when the nurse cleaned up my face and put on a very snug pressure dressing. It was definitely doing its job. And it did so for the next couple days. Taped really close to my mouth, it made it hard to smile, yawn, eat sandwiches, brush and floss my teeth, etc. I didn’t take it off until yesterday.
Before leaving Eugene, I stopped at a pharmacy for antibiotics and pain medication. My pharmacy in Florence would’ve been closed by the time I got there. After waiting for the medications, I headed home. One eye was barely open, but I could see. Even though it was raining, the oncoming lights glared too brightly, and it was 9 p.m. by the time I got home, I was glad I I didn’t wait til the next day. By then I could only see with one eye and was on pain medication, which is not a good idea when driving.
Dr. Park said I would have some bruising and swelling, and Dr. Baird said I would look like a battered woman. I developed a very purple eye, which was swollen shut by the next morning. Even my ear lobe was swollen. The area around the scar had some swelling but no purple. The scar is in the shape of a Z. So I call it, what else, “the mark of Zorro!”
I know the melanoma had to go and everything will heal and the scar will be less noticeable over time. In the meantime, though, I look awful. One good thing, with Halloween coming up, I won’t have to get a mask!
TO BUY JUDY’S FIRST BOOK
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums in western Oregon. This book makes a good coffee-table book. With the holidays coming up, it would be an excellent gift.
JUDY’S SECOND BOOK DUE EARLY DECEMBER
The second book The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans––will cover 15 bridges and have at least one color and one historic photo for each one. The cost will probably be $10 + $3 shipping. This book will also be published through Pacific Publishing. This guide with its sturdy cover will travel well. When heading for the coast, don’t leave home without it.
The half-hour interview with Dr. Veronica Esagui for the “Author’s Forum” program on public access TV in the Portland Metro area ended it’s two-week run June 1-14, 2012, but can be seen on YouTube in two parts: Google Judy Fleagle YouTube.
November 6, 5:30 p.m., PEO Meeting, private home––Twenty-minute talk on the book and the part it played in the 75th anniversary celebrations of 2011. Only open to PEO members.