Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

William Stafford Archives

This weekend at the writer's workshop one of the faculty was Steven Hind, a Hutchinson poet. Steven has published a number of his works and has an amazing command of the language, as most accomplished poets do.

He mentioned William Stafford multiple times. Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, the town where I live. He's featured on a mural downtown, and his son, Kim, has spoken here more than once.

I was looking up something about Stafford tonight and found the William Stafford Archives, which are a treasure trove.

Stafford was one of the most important poets of the 20th century and received the National Book Award. He wrote more than 60 books of poetry, and had well-formed ideas about peace, nature and education.

One of the things I've always loved about Stafford is that he wrote every day. The website says, "Stafford wrote every day of his life from 1950 to 1993. These 20,000 pages of daily writings form a complete record of the poet's mostly early morning meditations, including poem drafts, dream records, aphorisms, and other visits to the unconscious, recorded on separate sheets of yellow or white paper or when traveling, often in spiral-bound reporters' steno pads."

They've done a beautiful job with the archive, showing each poem from its handwritten version to published state. I always love to see inside a creative person's brain.

I didn't find the quote I was searching for, but ran across this poem, Prairie Town, about Hutchinson.

The archive has more than 7,000 items, a nearly complete record from 1937 to 1993. Quite amazing. And we can all enjoy it with a few clicks on the computer.

Quote of the Day and Workshops

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
---Mark Twain

These days I'm imagining a new opportunity. At the urging of friends I'm organizing my thoughts about putting together a series of workshops about how to get the most out of your life.

People often comment that I seem to always be doing something interesting and how do I know about these things and how do I find the time. After many conversations with people, I've figured out there are some techniques I employ that are not common knowledge. I'm still working out all the details, but I'm getting a bit more of a handle on it.

I'm not sure how these workshops will be structured yet, but probably a Saturday afternoon for a few hours - maybe 1-5. It would be so fun to meet people and get to interact in this way.

It's still in the notecard planning phase, but I expect it to take shape pretty quickly, so maybe I could do the first of these later this summer.

If you have thoughts I'd love to hear them. I'm excited by the possibilities

Monday, June 28, 2010

Brightening up my desk

This is why I grow flowers... to have them inside. I do like them outdoors too but I am inside more. Like at my desk.

Posted via email from Patsy's posterous

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wrapping up the Weekend

I spent the weekend in Emporia at the Tallgrass Writing Workshop. This is the third year I've attended and it has been fabulous each time.

Driving back tonight my brain was churning around a whole bunch of thoughts - many of which are related to writing. There are so many writing projects I'm interested in and novel writing is just one of them.

I haven't worked on my novel in awhile. I would have said it was done, but after rereading it I've decided I need to add more to it. And some of those things require some planning and plotting. I need some uninterrupted time to get that done. I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.

So, in the meantime, maybe I need to be working on other writing projects. I've got some non-fiction topics I've wanted to write for awhile. Maybe it's time to do that.

I was mulling all of this over on the drive home. I need to sit down with pen and paper and do some planning and decide which project makes the most sense to work on next. So much to think about.

On the spur of the moment I decided to detour through the Maxwell Game Preserve. I haven't been there in awhile and I'm glad I stopped in. As usual I had to climb the observation tower.

I created a self-portrait while I was there.

Okay... I thought that was pretty funny.

I also saw the beautiful sunset above.

I need to spend more time in nature. I'd like to take a weekend and go out to the National Grasslands. It's one of those things I'm always going to do that I never seem to get done. Of course, I know the remedy for that is to do it.

This photo was snapped on top of the tower today. I like the windblown look.

I wish I had another weekend to work on things. I now need to do all the things I should have done this weekend that I didn't get done because I was at the workshop. So many cool things to do in life.

I'm always prepared for note taking the old fashioned way.

These are only some of the notebooks I have at hand. I didn't show the ones already in my bag. These are just the backups.

Posted via email from Patsy's posterous

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Writing and Publishing Advice from Greg Tobin

Greg Tobin spoke at the Tallgrass Writing Workshop at Emporia State today. Tobin has been a writer, editor and publishing executive for more than two decades.

I thought I'd share just a few of the things he said - in no particular order.

*the rights today that are really big are electronic and audio
*print is a great medium, not only for reading, but also for preservation
*he wants to hear an author say that they're working on their second book and learned a lot from their first book
*more and more scouting for new talent is being done on social media sites
*publishing parts of your novel online is more acceptable now - editors for non-fiction, in particular, are scouting that way
*having a "platform" and some name recognition is more and more important - especially in non-fiction writing
*before you search for an agent, have your manuscript ready to send immediately if they ask for it
*don't be afraid to start at the top when you start looking for an agent
*agents and editors are looking for first of all great writing but beyond that personal stories that are appealing and a willingness to participate in marketing the book and an understanding of the process

Friday, June 25, 2010

Social Media Club in Hutchinson

This morning we had our first meeting of the Social Media Club. Five of us gathered. It was cool we had multiple generations represented, which I loved.

We talked about a variety of ideas. There are two main areas of focus that came up.
1. to have an opportunity to be social face to face with people who know from status updates and tweets
2. to encourage others to use social media

Some ideas were floated around about ways to accomplish those things. Next up is a lunch on July 13. Hopefully more folks will join in then.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Speaking about Food Traditions and Cookbooks at the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum

Wednesday morning I had the pleasure of speaking at the Senior Wednesday gathering at the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum. There were about 75 people there and it was great to get to visit with many of them.

I spoke about food traditions and cookbooks. Each time I give this speech, it's a bit different, but the gist of it is that we take food for granted and we should be more respectful. Food is essential to live, and to be able to prepare it for someone you love is a gift. Think about how amazing it is that you can take flour, yeast and water and make bread - the staff of life. The kitchen is sacred ground. Food deserves better than paper plates and plastic forks.

I touched on five or six themes, including rituals and traditions, how availability and ethnicity affect what we eat, and why growing and preparing food has far-reaching impact in our lives.

It was great to speak with this group. Jami, who you've met on the blog before, was instrument in setting it up. I was delighted to meet Abby who was in charge of the event and Nancy, who was helping with all the details. A very fun way to start the day.

They gave me a beautiful basket as a thank you. I'm sure Jami was involved in the shopping. It featured some of my favorite things, including Hob Nobs, whish I've written about here before.

Folks from the Art Museum brought one of their cookbooks for me to review in Kansas Country Living. They wrapped it up such that it's so pretty I'm loathe to open it. But, the enticement of a new cookbooks will win out, I'm sure! But I'm going to enjoy it for another day or two. Isn't it beautiful?

I really love public speaking. I have four or five different topics I speak about. Each time I speak it's really wonderful to connect with folks in that way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making Private Pain Public

I was reading "Better Together" by Robert Putnam and Lewis M. Feldstein and they quoted Father Alfonso Guevara, a pastor in Brownsville, Texas as saying, "We make private pain public." That phrase really struck me. The idea of making private pain public seems at once fascinating and horrifying. I guess it depends on if it's your pain or someone else's.

I'm reminded of instances where seeing someone's pain is so difficult you just can't take it in, so you look away. It has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with us. We are the ones who can't take it. The person in pain has no choice in the matter. But we do. And we look away. Or sometimes run away.

By the same token, there are people who can look at pain - stare it down, take it in, accept it and the person living it. But those people are rare. And they're a tremendous gift when you need someone to look at your pain, especially when you can't look at it yourself.

Making private pain public is a concept I want to think more about.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I'm speaking in the morning at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum Senior Wednesday in downtown Wichita. I'm talking about food traditions and cookbooks. It should be fun.

I love doing things like this. Everytime I do one I reread my notes, get out the index cards, and start rearranging things. I always end up with a pile of notecards that wouldn't make any sense to anyone but me, but there are words there that trigger things for me. One day... some day... I will do a speech from a pristine, printed, white piece of paper. But it will not be this day.

Everytime I do a speech I leave thinking, "oh, shoot, I forgot to talk about ..." Or, "I wish I hadn't spent so much time on..." But it all always comes out in the end. Or at least I think so. I guess Abby and Jami can tell me otherwise tomorrow!

If you're in the area, drop in. Here's the info they put on Facebook today - Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum Senior Wednesday, 6/23, 10am, $2 admission, "Cookbooks and Food Traditions" with Patsy Terrell. Discover the cultural influences behind some of our favorite regionally traditional foods, sample some local fair, and become inspired to preserve your family's recipes for future generations. More about the amazing Patsy at

Needless to say, they flatter me! I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City

The Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City houses items found from the wreck of the Steamboat Arabia that went down in the Missouri River in 1856. It's an amazingly well-preserved time capsule.

Our FCC group visited recently and I'm already ready for a return visit.

In the late 1980s, five men decided they would look for the wreck of the Arabia. They were not historians. There were repair people, restaurant owners and construction people. Their original intent was to sell what they salvaged to pay for the operation. But once they saw the items being uncovered they realized it should be shared. So, they created a museum instead.

It was no easy feat to retreive this. Their website gives a more detailed story and I won't presume to tell it, but it's fascinating the lengths they went to, to recover the Arabia and let her tell her story.

Three previous attempts had been made to retrieve materials from the Arabia, including 400 barrels of Kentucky Whiskey rumored to be on board. But none were successful until this band of adventurers.

The Arabia held everything you might need for life in a frontier town. There were building materials, fabric and sewing notions, printing items and boots. It's the most comprehensive assembly of such goods you'll find. You really get an idea of what life was like in 1856.

It's also gives you a sense of the growth of products in that time. Between 1850 and 1870, registered US patents increased 10 fold, going from 9,000 to nearly 100,000. The Arabia seemed to have one of everything that was around in 1856.

The group removed a portion of the boat, and about 2000 pieces of material from it. Of those, about one-third were broken, but the amount of intact items from china to buttons to boots is astonishing.

Something of note, one of the cases is covered with glass recovered from the wreck so you can see the wavy glass. Amazing.

The Arabia was one of 289 steamboats catalogued in 1897 as being wrecked in the Missouri River, from St. Louis to Pierre, South Dakota.

When you visit the museum, part of your tour is a short video. After the video, David Hawley, who was one of the treasure hunters, came in and spoke to our group. Talk about getting some extra bang for your buck, getting to ask questions of one of the men who was there from the beginning was a real treat. I asked him for a photo afterwards and he generously agreed.

You also get a peek at conservators working on items in the lab. When we were there they were working on shoes. At the lab you also get to sniff some of the perfume they've had reproduced from what was found on the boat. You know I love perfume but I resisted the urge to bring some home. It was tough.

The lab is a great stop on your visit.

Near the end of your visit you can see the boilers, the anchor, and the "snag," the fallen tree that brought the Arabia down.

I highly recommend a visit. I hope Kansas City realizes what they have in this museum. It's really wonderful.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

To live is so startling
it leaves little time
for anything else.

- Emily Dickinson

I ran across this quote tonight and was reminded that Danielle mentioned it when we were on retreat. Isn't it interesting how you can not even be aware of something and then it suddenly shows up repeatedly in your world.

I always think there's a reason for such things, that there's a message we need to understand. I'm not sure what I need to comprehend about this, but hopefully it will be clear.

This weekend has been incredibly productive for me. I've managed to get a lot of things completed and gotten started on some new projects. Many things are coming to fruition at the same time these days. It's exciting to see different things taking off, but it's sometimes difficult for me to keep everything going. But, so far, so good.

Full Saturday

I got up at 5:20 this morning to get some things done before it got really hot. I did some shopping, and got home just as it was getting daylight enough for me to work outside. I finished the mowing, got the watering system set up in the back yard, planted a few flowers, spread some eco-friendly ant killing stuff, and put diatameous earth on the garden. By 7:30 I was showered and dressed, ready for my usual Saturday activities - Farmer's Market, thrift stores, etc.

It was a productive day but by noon I was settled into the air conditioning and haven't ventured out other than to hang out clothes and get them in off the line.

I've been working on various projects all afternoon and evening, trying to get as much done as possible over the weekend when I've got big stretches of time to think and to get things done. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much time in my life to just have fun, or to take care of the basics of running a household like doing dishes or picking up clutter. But, so it goes. For the moment I need to make money, so that's what I'm focused on. I'm just living in the mess and keeping my nose to the grindstone. And, being very thankful I have skills I can market. Very, very thankful.

Tomorrow I have to put the finishing touches on a speech I'm giving in July and get an article written. Glad I have another full day to think and write.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Day

I picked my second batch of blackberries tonight, including a couple of huge ones. I figure with these couple of cups I've brought the per berry cost down to a little over $2. And, yes, there probably will be more berry pictures because I'm so tickled to have them.

I also discovered tonight that I had fresh raspberries. I planted them a few years ago and they were cut down by a lawn person but came back. Anyway, I got a couple of berries and they were sweet. Maybe there will be more to come this year.

I made a stop at the library on my way home tonight to pick up some research material for a speech I'm planning for next month. I forgot they close at 6 on Friday night now and remembered it just in time to leave work and still get in the library door, but I knew what I wanted to I had time to pick it up. I was struck, as I often am, at what an amazing resource it is to walk into a public library and check out anything you want. Really incredible. For free. I love the internet, but there are times I want some of the filtering done for me and it is when I pick up a well researched book.

Today was a really productive day at work. Sometimes you have those days when things are just zipping around in your brain and falling into place. I had one of those today. When that's happening I feel like I can get about five hours worth of work out of each one. It's good.

I'm hoping that continues all weekend because I have a lot of things I need to get done for various projects I have going. I picked up another freelance writing job today so I need to work on it a bit, in addition to the things I already had on the weekend's agenda. I've learned that I can't let something like that go or I get into trouble when I'm juggling this many things. However, with all the extra jobs going I am making progress on the medical bills, so that's good.

Well, I'm going to get to bed early tonight. It's supposed to be miserably hot tomorrow so I want to get up early and get some of my errands out of the way before the hottest part of the day. I don't think my air conditioning has turned off once since I got home. I'm sure it ran all day, too. I hate the sound of money going down the drain, but I just can't take the heat. And I am very, very grateful to have working air conditioning.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Art Walk

Tonight was the Downtown Art Walk and I was set up at The Fox. It was nice to be in climate controlled comfort and out of the wind! The downside was I didn't get to see what else was going on during Third Thursday because I was just in one place.

It has been a long day. It was Coffee at the Cosmo day so I got an extra early start to the day and went straight from work to the Fox. I think maybe, just maybe, I will get to bed before midnight tonight. Maybe.