#96–An author’s life . . .

Note: Next post will be May 10.

Writing is only part of an author’s life. I have been trying to find time to get my third book ready, and no luck. Here is a sample of everything that got in the way of writing this past week.

Last Saturday, I finally got the last of my tax stuff together and off to my tax man. It was the writing stuff that took most of my time.

My publisher, Bob Serra, stops to chat with Kathryn Damon Dawson, artist and author, whose book he published.

My publisher, Bob Serra, stops to chat with Kathryn Damon- Dawson, artist and author, whose book he published, at the 2012 FFOB.

This past Monday, April 1, I had to start thinking about the Florence Festival of Books, which is a book fair for both authors and publishers held at the Florence Events Center. Even though it won’t take place until September 28, the first meeting was scheduled for April 2. I am co-chair, but last year I was a solo act. This year, co-chair Connie Bradley will be back, and we will be a duet again. It is soooo much easier when you are working with someone else. She had not been able to be involved most of last year, because of her husband’s illness. So on Monday, I sorted stuff and put together a tentative agenda. By the time she arrived at my house in the afternoon, we had something to work from.

We decided that she could run the meetings and I would gladly return to taking notes and typing up the minutes. I also got four handouts ready for the Tuesday meeting: the agenda, last year’s final financial report, the newly reworked application form where I had added in two items as a result of last year’s evaluations, and the timeline of what to do each month leading up to the event.

Author & Publisher Connie Bradley and author Boomer Wright at the FFOB.

Author & Publisher Connie Bradley and author Boomer Wright at the 2012 FFOB.

When we first got involved in 2011, we were clueless as to all the work that would be involved. Last year, we knew, but then Connie had to bow out. Last year was not easy for me; I should have delegated more to committee members. So we are excited about this year. Not only do we know what we are doing, but we can share the load.

Since two committee members were dropping out and one had moved away at the end of last year, we had to recruit new members. I had asked three people since our last meeting last fall with no luck. But by the end of Monday, we had two new members lined up plus a new events center liaison invited to our first meeting the next day. We need a liaison, since the FFOB is now an annual Florence Events Center sponsored function.

In order to have money to work with before the application fees start coming in, we have individual and business sponsors contribute a set amount. Connie and I split up the list of last year’s sponsors, and by the end of the day, we had contacted all but one. That one had moved away. All the rest agreed to continue their sponsorship this year. Together Connie and I get things done––sort of a dynamic duo.

The next day, Connie led the meeting, and I took notes. The two new members and the new FEC liaison attended, and we got a lot accomplished.

The next day, I typed up the minutes and reworked the application again, and got thank you notes sent out to all the continuing sponsors. So from Monday through Wednesday, FFOB stuff took my time.

Groucho, my cat.

Groucho, aka Sir Groucho. Every day he reminds me of that old saying, “Dogs have masters, cats have staff.”

Much of Thursday was devoted to Groucho, my cat. Since Monday night, he had been trying to cough up a hairball with no luck. Three nights in a row, he had awakened me with his gagging and throwing up. So I’d get up and take care of him and clean up the mess. But the hairball wasn’t cooperating. He ate very little on Tuesday and nothing on Wednesday and had become quite lethargic and couldn’t poop. Not good!

First thing Thursday morning, I called the vet and we were in the office shortly after 9 a.m. They gave him a barium solution, which made it possible to track the hairball moving through his body through digital radiographs taken at several hour intervals. They also gave him fluids because he was dehydrated due to all the throwing up and a lubricant to help ease the passage of the hairball. By the end of the day, much of it was shown moving, but a sizable chunk was still held up in the stomach. If that chunk didn’t move by Friday morning, Plan B would have to be considered—surgery.

I picked up Groucho and took him home Thursday night, but had him back at the vet’s first thing Friday morning for another radiograph. Fortunately, the hairball had moved out of the stomach. That meant––no surgery!! Hallelujah!  So home we went, and by Friday night most of it had been eliminated. I’m happy to report that Groucho is now eating, no longer lethargic, and acting like his old self.

North Lincoln County Historical Museum in Lincoln City is a terrific place to visit and mow carries The Crossings Guide.

North Lincoln County Historical Museum in Lincoln City is a terrific place to visit and mow carries The Crossings Guide.

Between vet trips on Thursday, I made calls to venues from Yachats to Lincoln City. There were three that wanted books including the North Lincoln County Historical Museum in Lincoln City. They bought a copy of Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges for their research library in 2011, but didn’t sell the book in their gift shop. I donated a copy of my new book––The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans, and they decided to carry this one. Director, Anne Hall, had been trying to get hold of me through an old email without success. So when I called, she was thrilled.

The Coast Guard color guard lead the parade celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

The Coast Guard color guard led the parade celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Notice, one lane  is closed for the parade.

Besides delivering books, I needed to pick up some photos from the Yaquina Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration of Oct 2, 2011. I had been a part of it and wanted to include some photos for my new PowerPoint presentation. These were the last photos I needed. Now I could fine tune everything and get it ready to go. I have at least two presentations lined up, and now I can line up more.

After getting home from the vet on Friday, I headed up the coast and delivered books to Mari’s in Yachats, Canyonway in Newport, and the museum in Lincoln City. And I stopped at the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce for the photos. I had a flash drive with me, so it just took a moment to get 95 photos of which I’ll only use a few. I only expected a few, so 95 were a bit of a surprise.

The parade had approximately 1,000 people cross the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Behind the marching band, the parade had approximately 1,000 people cross the bridge. They were followed by classic old cars and the Newport roller derby babes.

As I drove up the coast, the weather was positively stormy. Not cold, just horizontal rain and battering wind. As I drove around a few headlands, I felt the wind buffeting the car and was mighty glad to be driving my six-cylinder Camry. With its heavy engine and low profile, it simply hugs the road. I also had an audiobook in the CD player, so that made the trip less stressful and more enjoyable.

This past week, I had a large bridge poster made on heavy foam-board with a greatly enlarged sketch of all the types of coastal bridges designed by Conde B. McCullough. I took in the disk with the sketch on it, stopped by to proof it before it was mounted, and then picked it up. It is exactly what I want as an additional prop for my PowerPoint presentations. This poster is such a quick way to see the coastal bridges designed by McCullough. I borrowed one just like it from the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum to use in a presentation a couple of weeks ago, and it worked just fine. Now I have my own.

Next Friday, I leave for nearly a month in California to visit family and friends. My mom, whom I’ll be staying with much of that time, will turn 101 this summer and is really looking forward to my visit. During my time away, I’ll take a break from my weekly blog postings. So there will be no posts for four weeks. I will, however, take all the stories with me that will make up my third book and start working on them. I can do that in the evenings, since my mom goes to bed early. Finally, I’ll have time to work on them.

While I’m gone, there’ll be someone living in my home and others popping in daily to give Groucho plenty of TLC. He actually becomes depressed when I’m gone, which leads to stress and that leads to physical problems. I learned that the hard way. Now when I leave, I have three people lined up to help him cope. With Sir Groucho, it takes a village.

Check back on May 10 for my next post. In the meantime, enjoy the return of spring!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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3 Responses to #96–An author’s life . . .

  1. Evelyn says:

    I can relate to the long-haired-cat dilemma regarding hairballs! Haven’t had to make a vet visit, & hopefully it won’t ever come to that. Our “children” can be expensive, but oh so worth it.

    I’m delighted you’ll get to spend some time with your mom as well as precious work time, all rolled into one. Can’t have you idle! (Any news on your June visit to GB, yet?)

    Have fun & take care on your long trip south. 🙂

  2. Brenda Howe says:

    SO glad your beautiful Groucho is feeling better! Tell Connie hello from this former coworker. I’m still working on my book proposal with editor anxious for the 3rd version (the one I’m working on). I’ve rounded up several very qualified contributers and I’m excited to have them on board. Stay well and happy. I love reading your updates.

    • That turned out to be a $450 hairball! But I’m so glad he’s feeling better.

      I’ll tell Connie you said ‘Hi!” She works just as hard as she ever did. No slowing down for her. Good luck with your book, Brenda. Really proud of you!

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