#12––Expert at work . . .

Last week in my blog post, I mentioned that I (now considered a coastal bridges expert by the folks at The Oregon Encyclopedia [OE]), could have the 250-word piece about the McCullough Bridge for OE done by last Saturday. That gave me less than a week. But hey! It’s a subject I know so well I could do it in my sleep! Besides, I had nothing planned most of Friday and Saturday.

I didn’t take into account, however, that life in the form of a summer garden, car maintenance, and hungry deer would have other plans for me. This time of year, plants make their needs known and not too subtly. They simply droop or fall over or turn brown. I had planted a lot of new plants this past spring, which means water, water, water and, of course, that’s always the story with greenhouses on sunny days. So Friday morning I didn’t have a choice.

Then my car needed to be serviced—way overdue—and the best time to squeeze it in was Saturday. And the adorable, but blankety-blank deer got into my yard Friday night where they could have enjoyed a flower-and-vegetable banquet, but instead settled for nibbling on one hosta and a hanging fuchsia. (First time I’ve had deer trouble since last May when I started using Uncle Ians’ magic formula.) Thank goodness, they didn’t feast on the rugosa roses that had just fully leafed out and were filled with flowers or the veggies––beans, zucchini, snap peas, and chard––which were all producing. I only had til nightfall to make sure they wouldn’t be back.

So here’s how it all played out . . .

Friday morning––1 day to OE deadline. I watered and watered and tied up Shastas that each year grow taller and taller. In the greenhouse, I made trellises for cherry tomato and cucumber plants both of which were flopping all over the place. Now I have to duck when walking through with plants trellised side to side, but at least nothing is flopping over anymore.

Friday afternoon––½  day to deadline. I went online and looked over the encyclopedia guidelines and style guide and checked out sample articles. And I ran off the chapter from the book on the McCullough Bridge. I was ready to write. Unfortunately, I had to stop and go give a presentation on Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges at Honeyman State Park Campground. I’m pleased to report that it went well with only a little wind, no problems, and a good group.

Saturday––deadline day. I zipped over to Eugene for a 10 a.m. appointment for servicing my car. While waiting, I went through the book chapter I had photocopied and noted all the points that I wanted to include in my article. On the way home, I had to make eight stops. So it wasn’t until 4 p.m. that I could get outside to take care of the deer problem. I untangled, took down, and emptied the little tea pockets that I put the deer repellant in––about 60 of them. Then I refilled and rehung them and added more. It’s tedious, and I didn’t finish until after 7:30 p.m. That was well before nightfall, and I still had time to do the article. But first, I had to fix dinner and give noisy, neglected kitty some attention. Finally, I got the article about the McCullough Bridge written. Of course, the first draft was too long.

Saturday––2 hours to deadline. I did some tightening and had it ready by 11 p.m. and the source citations, suggested readings, and bio were also ready. It was when I was putting the required source info (author, title, and page numbers) in parenthesis by each significant fact that I realized I might not make the deadline, after all. Although I had photocopies of all information used in my book, Crossings, sorted by chapter, not every one that I needed showed page numbers.

And I didn’t note the page numbers in my book’s bibliography. Nor did I have the research books to refer back to any longer. I had returned them to Dick Smith. At least six sentences I wrote included facts significant enough that I would need sources noted with page numbers, and I was missing a couple. AARRGGHH! So I emailed my contact at OE asking for an extension of two days and emailed Dick asking for books back. I hate, hate, hate not making deadlines—even ones of my own making.

My contact at OE gave me an additional four days beyond the two I requested (such a wise man). I spend part of Sunday doing more fine-tuning, but wouldn’t be able to get the books back from Dick until Tuesday. When I did, I plugged in the page numbers quickly. One fact in my article that was somewhat self-evident sidetracked me for a couple of hours because I really wanted to find its source. But I couldn’t. After dinner, I went online to the OE website, and following directions, got everything sent off. I also downloaded four photos from a CD that I obtained from ODOT for my book with fabulous historic bridge photos and sent them to OE.  Finally, I was done—although three days past my original deadline. Who knew 250 words could be such trouble!

My submission now undergoes peer review and factchecking. If everything passes muster, it gets included in The Oregon Encyclopedia––a comprehensive and authoritative compendium of information online about all things Oregon created by a partnership of Portland State University, the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, and the Oregon Historical Society. It was a project of the 2009 Oregon Sesquicentennial Celebration and is available for everyone’s use at www.oregonencyclopedia.org

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Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for only $24.95 plus $3.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing, www.connectflorence.com or   pacpub@oregonfast.net. It is also found at numerous coastal bookstores, gift shops, and museums; in Eugene at bookstores, Lane County Historical Museum, and the airport; and in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society.

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Crossings presentations by Judy:

• August 12, 7 p.m.––Honeyman State Park Campground, B Loop, Amphitheater, couple miles south of Florence

• September 8, 3 p.m.––Umpqua Discovery Center, Reedsport. (Plans are underway to incorporate this event with others as part of larger bridge celebration.)

Judy part of bridge celebration:

• October 1, 2–4 p.m.––Yaquina Bay Bridge 75th Anniversary Celebration panel discussion, City Hall, Newport

Judy attending authors fairs:

• August 27, noon–3 p.m.––Bob’s Beach Books (west side just north of 17th on Hwy 101), Lincoln City

• October 1, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.––Florence Festival of Books––authors & publishers fair, Florence Events Center, Florence (Judy leaves at noon.)

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About crossingsauthor

Freelance writer/editor and author of Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, and Around Florence. Spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.
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