Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Foto Friday: Delay

Thursday evening: Long day. Good day. Swam. Ran errands. Found interesting book to read. Double sessions with both horses. Dog & I went on our walk. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. Photos will be posted first(ish) thing Friday morning.

Back soon.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Surviving the Drive

Driving Thursday

Each lesson at Whip Hand Farm is framed by a seven-hour, round-trip drive. Because of the home horses, we go up and back in a day. Here’s how we’ve tuned our routine.

Take the Comfortable Car
The Fiat is a great car [Today, photo]. It is also a cheap car. One way to keep the cost down is power it with small squirrels. The one in charge of the AC simply cannot keep the car cool in the summer, particularly for the passenger, who gets the rising sun on the way up and the setting sun on the way down.

Manage the Stops
You lose time from when you lift your foot off the accelerator until you are back on the highway at speed. Therefore, it’s hard to stop in less than 15 minutes. Stop twice and, you’ve blown half an hour. Coffee and morning soda will not allow us to head up without a break. Often we are able to get back down without stopping. TMI.

Bring Food
We have a cooler of drinks and a basket of food. Turning the truck into a rolling picnic is a) cheaper and b) means the highway reststop at the border rather than pulling off for a gas/convenience store. Time saved.

Provide Entertainment
Audible on my phone. Podcasts on Greg’s phone. Both sync with the truck’s audio system. After almost 30 years of marriage and almost 40 of knowing him (?!?), I still enjoy Greg’s company. However, a bit of narrative provides diversion for those long, flat, straight highway miles.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Letter Art, AlphaBooks: Q is for Queen

The American Gun Mystery
Ellery Queen
1933 Triangle 1940

Bought from Wonder Books via AbeBooks.com.
~~~
This Year

[P is for Pace]
[O is for O’Connor]
[N is for Newsum]
[M is for McKinley]
[L is for Lewis]
[K is for Krementz]
[ J is for Journal]
[I is for Ipcar]
[H is for Hatch]
[G is for Gray]
[F is for Francis]
[E is for Endicott]
[D is for Doty]
[C is for Cooper]
[B is for Brown]
[A is for Anderson]

Past Years
[2016 Alphabet] [2015 Alphabet]

Project explanation [AlphaBooks 2017]. Open to recommendations for the remaining letters. Which books would you choose?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Writing Life: My Book

Last week, I said I wanted to write a book [What Next?]. I’ve already written one. Technically. Co-written. I don’t talk about it much. The money was astounding but it was a difficult project that came at a crappy time in my life.

Wally Bunn worked for AT&T, starting as a lineman and working up to CEO of one of the Baby Bells after “the breakup of the biggest corporation in American history. ” [Wiki: Breakup of the Bell System] Leah Atkins and I helped him self-publish his memoir.

I Am a Telephone Man: Wallace R. Bunn’s Life in the Bell System
by Leah Rawls Atkins and Katherine Tuttle Walcott
Pine Ridge House 2009

Obituary at Legacy.com: Wallace R. Bunn

Positives
+ Wally was a cool dude. He had done interesting things and lived through interesting times. He had great stories which he told well. Interviewing him was about the easiest I’ve done. Watching him run a meeting was a better education than a business school class.

+ Much research and reading was required. This counts as fun for an information junkie. I got to quote my father calling the break up, “The worst decision Judge Greene ever made.” (p105) Although Judge Greene insisted that the agreements were made before he ruled on the case. But I digress.

+ Our writing meshed well. One of us would draft a chapter, the other would correct. By the end, I couldn’t tell who had written what.

+ Money. A sizable amount both as a lump sum and as an hourly rate.

+ A large amount of work. It kept me busy while the freelance world crashed and burned. By the time I got my head out of telephone land, 2008 had come and gone.

Negatives
– Remember what I said about wanting to take a flamethrower to your co-author’s house [Next]? Ask me how I know. I have no doubt the feeling is mutual. We had two problems. First, I kept everything as electronic as possible. We are talking oodles of text. Easier to edit a file than type-in handwritten corrections. Or so I thought. Halfway through, I realized that Miss Leah was old school and low-tech. I started printing out everything and carrying piles of paper to her house. It got a little better.

What I did not realize until after was that she wanted to be more of an emeritus senior author, lending advice and support while I did the heavy lifting. No problem. It would have been an reasonable exchange of opportunity in return for participation. A historically acceptable Master/Apprentice arrangement. Meanwhile, I was being the deferential junior author and not getting in the way of her project. None of this was said outright and I never guessed, because she is Southern and I am dense.

So, yeah. Not gonna work with anyone anytime soon.

– Validity. It doesn’t feel real. It’s not what I mean when I say I want to write a book.

– A large amount of work. Typing. So much typing. Two people does not make half the work. Between drafting and rewriting, we probably each wrote a full book.

Note
On Amazon, the author is listed as “Leah Rawls And Katherine Tuttle Walcott Atkins” – one person. I’d seen this before, obviously. Since I planned to blog about the book, I thought it would be cool to link to an author page. When I called about correcting the entry, Amazon was useless. The person who created it has to make the change. I have no idea how the page showed up. I didn’t do it. Miss Leah would have added it to her own Amazon page. I am not interested enough to contact her about straightening it out, see above. Even revisiting the experience for the duration of this post has traumatized me all over again.

A project that continues to spread joy long after the completion date.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Letter Art, AlphaBooks: P is for Pace



Old Bones, The Wonder Horse

By Mildred Mastin Pace
Illustrated by Wesley Dennis
1955 Scholastic 1974

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame: Exterminator
~~~
P Authors on Rodney’s Saga
Pryor [New Equipment: Clickers, Back To Kindergarten]
Pease [From the Shelves III]

This Year

[O is for O’Connor]
[N is for Newsum]
[M is for McKinley]
[L is for Lewis]
[K is for Krementz]
[ J is for Journal]
[I is for Ipcar]
[H is for Hatch]
[G is for Gray]
[F is for Francis]
[E is for Endicott]
[D is for Doty]
[C is for Cooper]
[B is for Brown]
[A is for Anderson]

Past Years
[2016 Alphabet] [2015 Alphabet]

Project explanation [AlphaBooks 2017]. Open to recommendations for the remaining letters. Which books would you choose?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Writing Life: What Next? Advice Sought.

I want to write a book. Who doesn’t? Most book-writers-to-be appear to have an idea of what they want to write but lack the time. Me, I got time. What I don’t got is any idea what to write.

What do I want? I want to be sitting in the audience when my Hugo-winning science fiction novel is the basis for the Best Movie Oscar, and then win the National Book Award for my non-fiction account of my book being made into a movie.

But seriously folks, I want a project. I want a world to get lost in. Sure, books offer this. But then I’m done and have to find a new one. I’ve gotten picky. I spend longer hunting for new books to read than I do reading them. I want to write characters who take over the plot, for example Temporarily Significant: Spontaneous Character Creation, Or why sometimes your characters know more than you do.

So, I’m looking for advice. From what you’ve read of me in the blog, or know of me IRL, or both, any suggestions?

TLDR – that’s the gist. Below are thoughts on different genres.

Non-fiction – Journalism. Not books or articles that involve interviews and deadlines and contracts. I know how to do that. Whether or not I would be successful at selling a book idea is a different question, but I would know where to start.

Non-fiction – memoir. Love these. Read them all the time: Bill Bryson hikes the Appalachian Trail, A Walk in the Woods; Ken Jennings won 74 Jeopardy! games, Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs; and Stefan Fatsis played competitive Scrabble, Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players. Unfortunately, I have not done anything newsworthy. Each of us is special in our own way, yadda, yadda. What I mean is that I have not done anything that would be an automatic marketing hook. Yes, people write books about the minutiae of daily life. However, the closer the activity is to the norm, the more the book relies on the writing. I have all the style of a window pane. I like to think of my writing as straightforward. An English professor called it pedestrian. Perhaps I could identify a quest that could be done at home, as A.J. Jacobs did when he read the encyclopedia, The Know-It-All.

Blog. Printing out the posts and driving a staple thru the corner might make a book-length piece of text, but would not constitute a book. There hasn’t been sufficient narrative arc. I could rework various events as self-contained essays and then publish the collection, but a) none come to mind and b) see above re style. I don’t see myself making an amusing tale out of loading a horse, such as The $700 Pony Goes To the Vet. Maybe I should try.

Food Blog. Greg cooks. I write. There should be something there. Greg says no. He says food blogging is all about recipes. I am not.

Research – history. Take one idea & run with it. History of Hell by Alice Turner. Color by Victoria Finlay. Possible. I’d have to find an idea that is sufficiently intriguing but hadn’t already been done.

Research – fiction. Fictionalization of an historic event. Relies heavily on characterization. Not my forte.

Fiction – horses. I don’t really read horse fiction [Horseback Reads]. They say you should write what you read. While my lettering this year is horse books [AlphaBooks 2017], most are memoir, or books I read as a kid, So far [O’Connor], the only adult fiction as been Cooper, Francis, & McKinley.

Fiction – literature. Pffffft. Next. I put down a book if the cover copy describes it as “lyrical.”

Fiction – science fiction & fantasy. It’s what I read. At least, the strand that is clever, funny, & intellectually-engaging without relying on messy emotions. Asimov over Bradbury. I love the idea of world building, either from whole cloth, e.g. Pratchett, or taking the real world as a stage for the absurd, e.g. Adams, or for the fantastic, e.g.The Chronicle of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor.

(Caveat. Both Pratchett and Taylor succumb to an incurable case of morality. I gave up on Discworld toward the end and on St Mary’s about halfway through. Love them till then. I understand an author wanting to expand and grow. I don’t have to like it. But I digress.)

Graphic Novel. Would. Love. This. I read more comics than books as a kid. Unfortunately, I have zero artistic talent. This is not an insurmountable obstacle. James Hatton uses dots to draw In His Likeness. Letters? Or I could work with an artist. You now what they say about collaborators? You should work with someone at least 500 miles away. Then, once you have loaded the flamethrower and guns in the trunk and plan to drive over to burn their house down and shoot them when they run out, you will have time to change your mind.

??? A compilation of spoken word poetry? A revolutionary blend of online, print, and LEGO bricks? An epistolary novel in Tweets?

Whatcha got for me? No idea too bizarre. Robo-giraffe porn might end up being the secret shame of my protagonist in that Hugo-winning novel.

Thank you for reading & commenting,
Katherine Walcott

Letter Art, AlphaBooks: O is for O’Connor

Life In The Galloping Lane
by Karen & David O’Connor with Nancy Jaffer
Primedia 2004
~~~
This Year

[N is for Newsum]
[M is for McKinley]
[L is for Lewis]
[K is for Krementz]
[ J is for Journal]
[I is for Ipcar]
[H is for Hatch]
[G is for Gray]
[F is for Francis]
[E is for Endicott]
[D is for Doty]
[C is for Cooper]
[B is for Brown]
[A is for Anderson]

Past Years
[2016 Alphabet] [2015 Alphabet]

Project explanation [AlphaBooks 2017]. Open to recommendations for the remaining letters. Which books would you choose?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott