I’m bbbbaaaaaccckkk!

8 Dec

Yes, I am, although to be honest, I never really left, except for a brief trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake last week, about which more next week.

Please accept my apologies for being absent for so long, and to those of you who wrote to find out what happened, your notes cheered me up more than you’d believe. What happened was – I got a job! Granted, it was only a part-time, temporary job (which I knew going in, and was part of its great attraction for me) but it did represent a major change in my lifestyle.

For the last four years, I’d been more-or-less gainfully unemployed, although I did have some writing clients and students. But this was all pretty much an unplanned series of events, highly dependent on the progress of my clients or students. And that was fine with me.

During the first eight months of this year (2010) I was happily engaged in attending musical events (concerts and operas) and writing about them. Plus I was doing a bit of PR, etc., for a smallish, newish musical adventure here in Cleveland. I had time to work on getting my first book Secret Shores back in print again (which did happen—see the about me page for details) and was working towards getting a collection of short stories in printable format.

Then, just about when fall came on the scene, I stumbled over the afore-mentioned job. I was chosen as one of the workers, and for the next two months (it stretched out thanks to Cleveland’s wonderfully capricious weather!) I was seemingly out of the apartment more than I was in it! Not really, it just seemed that way. (Good news is that I’ve been told I’ll be able to do this again next year in April and August when the project repeats!)

My adopted home-town, (which I dearly love!) Cleveland is a much-maligned city on the southern shore of Lake Erie. While once it was among the top ten largest cities in America, a great proportion of its population has gone elsewhere; some to the suburbs, some to other states. The economy, which was heavily industrial, tanked, and our political fortunes (along with our sports teams) have acted like overgrown yo-yo’s for the past few decades. We have many wonderful, unique components that make us attractive to visitors, but of course, many of these are unheralded and generally unrecognized by the locals. We have the magnificent Cleveland Orchestra, known around the world for superlative performances, especially those within its equally world-renowned home, Severance Hall.

As part of University Circle, on the city’s east side, it joins other world-class institutions that draw out-of-towners like magnets:  the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Institute of Music, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospital are just a few. Slightly to the east is John Carroll University and even closer to the west is the Cleveland Clinic. Visitors stand in awe of this accumulation of marvelous places in such a small space.

Another treasure of Cleveland is the ‘Emerald Necklace’ or Cleveland Metroparks – a 16-member chain of parks that surround the city like a large necklace. I’m embarrassed to admit that until this job came along, I’d never (in the 46 years I’ve lived here) spent any time on the ground in any of these parks. I’d certainly driven through a few of them, but never left the vehicle to explore. What a dunce I was! These parks rival anywhere in the world for beautiful, unique scenery, enhanced by fall colors that compare to anywhere ‘up east’ as they say, meaning New England.  There are rock formations enough to enchant a geologist for years, creeks, lakes (fishing, too!) and waterfalls, animals (I had a rather close encounter with a pair of deer in mid-afternoon one day – fortunately without casualties on either side, but it was a near and exciting thing!) There is a large marsh with bird sanctuary, miles and miles of walking trails and nearly as many for horse-back riding, plus many separate trails for bicycles.

Not all of these amenities are in each park, of course, but many of them are. An abundance of trees provide shade and quiet (sometimes isolated) places for dreaming or thinking or picnicking, and just generally enjoying the respite from city noises. All of this within a range of maybe 30 miles from the city center. Magnificent!

My job was to go out to several of these parks and interview the people who visited there. Different days of the week, different times of the day, it was all marvelous. I met many interesting people and not a few interesting dogs, as well!  (The pay wasn’t so bad, either!) I’m really looking forward to next March and April for the next go-round. I loved every minute of it, but I did get more exercise than I’ve recently become accustomed to, and would come home at night and just fall into bed. Wiped out!  A few things had to go by the wayside—one of them was my own writing. Now I can play catch-up again.

I’m already working on next week’s post – it’s about Location, Location, Location!  And I’m not talking about the Real Estate application of that phrase, but rather how much does location affect your book. It certainly affected one of mine, but finally, after thirteen years, I can ‘see’ my story’s location in my mind’s eye, so I can get busy writing about it.

More next week. Honest! But in the meantime, I’d like to recommend an article that was in our paper today. I found it on-line at its syndication home. Mr. Shribman is a most graceful writer, and I adore everything I’ve ever read by him. He combines information with accessibility, making you want more and more of whatever he’s writing about. I’m not at all surprised that he won a Pulitzer award (in 1995) for political writing. He’s currently the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and I cannot recommend him highly enough. Please read and enjoy this article about December 7. If you do a search for him, you’ll find many, very astute non-political articles out there.  http://www.uexpress.com/davidshribman/

But it’s the writing, more than the content that just grabs me! He makes so much sense of everything!

If you have questions or comments, please write to me at   bookmechanic@gmail.com Thanks!


5 Responses to “I’m bbbbaaaaaccckkk!”

  1. Judy Scott December 8, 2010 at 1:57 am #

    Glad you are back!! And even go to Cleveland, but I think I’ll wait til Spring!

    • Judy Scott December 8, 2010 at 1:57 am #

      that should be want to go to Cleveland.

  2. Florence_Lytle@Prodigy.net December 8, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    You are a one woman PR person about Cleveland. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about many of the wonderful things regarding your adopted city about which I knew nothing.
    Glad you found a location to set your next book.
    So proud of you and all you continue to accomplish.
    Have a wonderful holiday season.
    Your high school classmate.


  3. Bob Birch December 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    So nice to have you back, to learn of your outdoor adventures and of your increase in income. They say money doesn’t buy happiness, but having some in your pocket sure helps. I know you’ll enjoy sticking close to home with lake effect snow storms, and having time to work on your writing. Best wishes from another Ohio author who thinks of you often.

  4. Betty Scappaticci Kaiser December 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    I agree with your assessment of the columnist. Also, have enjoyed Cleveland the 2 visits that we have made there. Happy holidays!

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