#278–Life continues to be interesting . . .

Note: #279 will post Sunday, February 14.

When I was teaching first grade and kids would show me their artwork and it was bizarre or really bad, I would always say “That’s interesting!” Well, I had one of each this week, as well as fitting in some writing and lots of editing.

Bizarre situation in the land of Zoom.

Besides my writing and editing hats, I wear the hat of secretary for Backstreet Gallery, a member-owned co-op. So, twice a month I take notes and write up the minutes from our Zoom meetings. To make sure the minutes are accurate, I watch and listen to the Zoom recording. It’s time consuming because the meetings are 1-1/2 to 2 hours long. The recording is so good, it’s just like being there all over again.

I’ve been a member of Backstreet Gallery in Old Town, Florence, since January 2016. I feel honored to have my books amid such a wonderful assortment of art by super talented people.

I learned an important lesson last night. I typed up the minutes Wednesday morning of Tuesday evening’s meeting. I didn’t get the link to the recording until Wednesday evening. I popped it open to see if it worked cause sometimes they just don’t open, but it did. It was ready, but I wasn’t. It was dinnertime. So, I paused it and minimized it, thinking I might get to it after dinner. BIG MISTAKE! I did not get to it after dinner, but on the way to bed, I did notice that my computer that had been on sleep mode had the Apple logo, a stationary bar under the logo, and under that the words, 38 minutes remaining, and they zipped by in less than 10 minutes and then the screen was frozen and stayed that way. So, I turned it off and went to bed.

Groucho woke me about 3:30 a.m., and I got to worrying about the computer. So, I got up at 4 a.m. I turned on the computer and it was still frozen with Apple logo and non-moving bar. I turned it off and on and left it on for awhile and turned it off again. Did that several times, before giving up. I got my laptop and went into another room and decided that maybe I would have to totally redo the minutes. After about 15 minutes on the laptop, I returned to my office for something and lo-and-behold my desktop was back to normal–everything was working! Go figure! Totally bizarre!

All members have a chance to be Featured Artist every couple of years. Here is a display of my books and photographs. The photographs were special because I normally don’t have photographs.

So, I listened to the Zoom recording and checked it against my minutes and was finished about 7:00 a.m. I had learned an important lesson DON’T MESS WITH ZOOM! If I’m not going to use a Zoom recording right away, I’ll close the damn file!

Bad but could have been worse

On Friday afternoon, I was editing my new author’s manuscript and wanted to get to a certain point before I sent to him to look over. I took a break, when my renter downstairs, wanted to borrow my plunger. Hmm! This can’t be good.

A little background. Last June I had my septic tank pumped, which I have done every five years or so. They had no problem with the pumping but discovered that the tank was collapsing on the uphill side. The baffles were still working, they said, and it might work for the next 10 years or may totally collapse in the next 10 days. They suggested that I do something about it. I agreed.

I saw an excavating company, and by July 2 had signed a contract with them. They applied to the county for a permit and it arrived in September. Since then, I have been waiting. Evidently, this is the year for folks to replace septic tanks. I am on the list. I call in every few weeks just to remind them that I’m still waiting.

The first day of chemo when I still had some brown in my hair.

So, on Friday, I loaned Carole, my renter, the plunger and it did no good. She tried and tried. I wasn’t sure whether this was the start of septic tank back up or if it was just a plugged toilet.

Of course, this is happening on a Friday afternoon and there was no one to answer the phone at the excavating company. I did leave a message, though. And I called my plumber. He was out on a job but called me later when he got home. He came by with a “snake” and got the toilet unplugged. It was just the toilet, not the septic tank. Whew! Maybe some good will come out of this. I left rather a panicky message at the excavating company! Maybe it will cause them to move me up on the list!

One day of writing life

Most of the week was more normal. I made headway on my new book about my adventures with cancer. I came up with the main title and have three sub-titles that I like equally well. I will run them by my publisher and see what he thinks.

And I wrote the one chapter that will be an addition; it was not an actual blog post. It will be the next to last chapter and called “The Importance of Hair.” It will be primarily a photo essay with about 12-15 photos from when my hair was still brownish, then became bald in one day. After that, I show the stages as it grew back––some hair, more hair with differences, trying different hairdos––to how it looks today with its 50 shades of gray. Now, all the original writing for the book is done. I have 11 chapter left to rework and beef up. I know I can get those done by the end of March.

Hair, glorious hair!


Editing is what took up most of the week. I finished putting in all the changes on the first manuscript I was editing and sent manuscript in its entirety to the author late on Sunday, a week ago.

From Wednesday through Saturday, he sent me changes he thought should be made covering a few chapters at a time. It was his last chance to look at it before it goes to the publisher. We finished that process Saturday evening.

Now, I will give it a once-over checking breaks when scenes changes and any extra spaces between sentences or just anything that may pop out at me. Then it will go to the publisher. So, that one is practically done as far as my part goes. I really enjoyed reading it as I edited it. It’s a book I would buy.

And more editing

The second one, I started on Tuesday. I wrote to the author, introducing myself and giving him my timeline and deadline of how I plan to work on his manuscript. He is in the military stationed on a remote island in the Pacific. We had a few emails back and forth. He would like excerpts to arrive on Friday afternoons, so he can work on them on the weekends when he is not at his job.

Back to the way I normally wear my hair, but no more brown–just shades of gray.

I got started. I gave a third edit to the prologue, introduction, and first two chapters that I originally edited last December. I became reacquainted with this novel that is part nautical, part military, and part sci-fi. It is almost twice as long as the one I just finished and has a more complex construction.

I was able to edit four more chapters. I edit everything twice. I had hoped to do another couple, but life interfered Friday afternoon. I finished about 8 o’clock that evening and sent off for him to look at. (There is a four-hour time difference from where he is to Florence, Oregon. Sending at 8 p.m. here is 4 p.m. there. So, I got it to him on Friday afternoon, as requested. I sent the first 77 of 318 pages.)

Whether it’s being the secretary of Backstreet Gallery and dealing with Zoom recordings or being the landlady and dealing with plugged toilets or the author of a new book and making some headway or being the editor dealing with fascinating manuscripts and their authors, it’s been an interesting week.

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 #278–Life continues to be interesting . . .

  1. I can relate to your plumbing problems– only for me it was the bathroom sink. It was clogged. While using a plunger to try to clear it I discovered a hairline crack in a pipe which quickly grew into a canyon! Big mess and emergency call to the plumber! Never a dull moment in this life! 😉

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