Expanding Horizons

Many people in the quilting world know that I have written two books on quilting. My first was America’s Pictorial Quilts. I met so many quilters from around the United States and other countries during and following the publication of that book, one of the first books that the American Quilter’s Society published. Schroeder Publications in Paducah, KY had a line of books called Collector Books, a division of Schroeder Publishing, which began in 1969 when Bill Schroeder saw a need and filled it. Bill’s wife Meredith was just beginning a line of books about quilting (via the newly-formed American Quilter’s Society). At that time, my Mother-in-law owned and operated an antique shop in our small town, Flushing, Michigan. Through the years, she had amassed quite a mountain of books on antiques, many of them published by Schroeder Publishing under the “Collector Books” umbrella. As I was writing America’s Pictorial Quilts and looking for the right publisher, I found a good match between my goal to write a quilting book, and the goals of the Schroeders. My first book was published in 1985.

Not long after APQ came out, I began a second book called Contemporary Quilts From Traditional Designs. This book was published by Penguin Books out of New York City. My editor, Cyril Nelson, had a love for quilts and for writing about them, and I was blessed to have him join me in seeing my second book through from start to finish.

I enjoyed the writing process with these two books, but felt a need to expand my writing horizons. Over several years, ideas wriggled in and out of my head, and slowly a story started to take shape, loosely based on real-life events from my family in the New York and Pittsburgh areas.

During this period, I was also involved in education, working as an elementary and middle school teacher, adjunct university instructor, and elementary principal. While the novel was still on my mind, I just didn’t have the time to see it through. I was a little too busy! From time to time I would re-read what I had written, add a paragraph here and there, and set it aside. “Someday,” I’d say, “I will get back to it.”

It’s time. My husband, a woodworker, has retired from his business downtown and is now starting a new phase in his life that, while similar to what he has been doing for 34+ years, is really different. This week he is completing the IMG_9575
construction of his new studio. He will still be woodworking, but he will now be creating furniture and pieces of art that HE chooses to make, rather than refinishing or repairing items for people who need his assistance. I must say, right now he is smiling continually like “a kid in a candy store.” And I love it!

I am working in real estate in our community (which I love), I continue to quilt (by hand, which I love) and I have decided that my “someday” is now. I am three chapters into my third book, and the brain is excited to be writing again. I am fortunate to have a woodworker at home who can also serve as an editor; a graduate with a degree in Literature does seem to have quite a knack for discovering writing mistakes and for making good suggestions.

Yes indeed, as I gradually work towards that thing called “retirement,” I realize that I really have no plans to officially “retire.” I just have plans to do things differently, much as the Woodworker has.

Hello, World, we are still here, and we are both smiling. Bring it on!

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