Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Six Degrees of Separation (or how to get paid for what you love to write!)

Here is the part of the blogsite where we reflect on "how did we get here?" to quote the TALKING HEADS from "Life During Wartime".

Several years ago, about eight actually, so longer than several, I started writing for a great magazine, OLD-HOUSE INTERIORS. Patty Poore, who used to co-edit OLD-HOUSE JOURNAL back when it was more of a newsletter for historic homeowners out of Brooklyn, launched the glossy, informative OHI ten years ago from Gloucester, Massachusetts. It is better than most "shelter" magazines in that it offers the historic homeowner, and others, an opportunity to learn about period styles from "real" houses, with a few museums and other focus articles thrown in. It is immensely readable and great to look at.

My first article for that magazine was about my house in Hancock (rule #1: write about what you know). It happened to be photographed by my friends Susan Daley and Steve Gross (photographers and creators of "shelter" books like OLD HOUSES, AT HOME WITH THE PAST, OLD FLORIDA, CATSKILL STYLE and others) whom I had met way, way back when I wrote my first article ever published (on Gibson House Museum for VICTORIA Magazine, now sadly no longer, the magazine that is--the museum is alive and well and doing better than ever--see website link at right).

Last year, I contributed an article on pantries to OHI. Patty was enthusiastic about it and it was all I could do to not appear like a complete obsessive pantry FREAK! Franklin & Esther Schmidt, who also contribute regularly to OHI, happened to see it and wanted to use elements of it for their book, VICTORIAN KITCHENS & BATHS (just out by Gibbs Smith). I offered, instead, to write a chapter on Victorian pantries for them. They were delighted. I was delighted. I had always wanted to pitch an entire book on pantries as there are none out there--so I spent the few weeks before Thanksgiving 2004 compiling a book proposal. Gibbs Smith had expressed interest after my pantry chapter and offered me a contract this spring.

Soonafter signing that contract, I started this blog. Then, shortly after that, Patty at OHI e-mailed asking if I had any essays or personal memoir pieces in the hopper that she could plug into OHI? I gladly told her about my new blog and brazenly offered that perhaps she might find something of interest there/here. She did. The result? A smooshed version of several of my blog postings on this site will appear in essay form in the July 2005 issue of OLD-HOUSE INTERIORS. The essay will also mention my IN THE PANTRY book and blogsite. Not bad for a day's blog, I said, waving the promise of a good-sized check at my husband who thinks I spend hours of unaccounted time in front of my computer! (I think he is beginning to grasp that the computer is a black hole for creativity and compressed energy...not missing time...but he is a slow learner!)

And while on the note of pattern and progression and the good cycle of karma, my photographer friends Sue and Steve are going to do most of the photography for my IN THE PANTRY book. This is one of those days where you look at the order of the universe and say to yourself, it all just fits, doesn't it?

Now back to the eternal question: "What's for DINNER!?!?!"

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