Rerun-The Crappy Desk Check Method of Advertising

January 6, 2007 at 1:00 am 25 comments

420 days to freedom.  Its January, I’m trying to balance out one year and start another, create W-2’s, edit a fantasy story, ghost write a children’s story and get used to having kids in the house again…no time to write something intelligible (or spelled correctly) so here’s a rerun from March:

The chair I use at my computer is a sturdy old uncomfortable antique. No matter how many pillows you stack on it, or in which position you sit, more than an hour in this instrument of torture makes your back ache and both feet go to sleep.

The books that I edit are submitted to our publishing company by e-mail. While I am in part old school, I like to curl up in my rocking chair (diet Pepsi and ash tray at hand) when I’m reading; there is also the miserable desk chair. If I were to read a 400 page submission from that chair it would either take me a year to edit the book, or my removal from the desk would have to be by wheelchair. So I print them off and put them in a file folder. I carry these folders around with me everywhere. If I’m not the one driving, I’m reading (red pen at the ready behind my ear). If I’m waiting anywhere, I’m reading.

Recently, I was stuck in a hospital waiting room while Bean had surgery. I had positioned myself in an out of the way chair behind the volunteer workers, a file folder with unread pages on my lap, a pile of annotated pages stacking up on the chair beside me. It was 5:00 in the morning, early even by a hospital’s standards, so I shared the room only with the two elderly volunteers at the information desk and one other woman, reading a book about Eleanor Roosevelt.

The waiting room was so quiet that the soft sound of squelching rubber soles on tile followed by a thump caused me to look up for the source. The lady had ice blue eyes sparkling out of a wrinkly face as pale as rice paper, under an unruly corona of curly white hair. Dressed in the geriatric version of jeans and a t-shirt, she wore khaki’s with a white oxford cloth shirt under a practical blue and white windbreaker. It was the pristine white Nikes making the squelching sound, the thump a mahogany cane with an intricately carved buckeye tree decorating its staff. I smiled at her. She smiled back, and started toward me, stopping where the tile floor became carpet to get her bearings.

As she made her slow, plodding way toward me, I could hear the labored breathing of an asthmatic, a malady she had apparently learned to cope with over her many years since its effects didn’t show in her bright eyes or determination to get across the waiting room. I moved my edited pages to make room for her to sit, shoving them into my briefcase in time to see her back up to the chair and drop, carefully avoiding bending her knees.

“You a teacher?” She asked while pointing absently with an arthritis twisted finger toward the file folder on my lap.

“No, I’m an editor for a small publishing company.”

The lady stared silently at me long enough that I was starting to believe she hadn’t heard me, and then she snorted.

“There are writers in Ohio?”

“There are writers everywhere.” I was fighting to keep the defensiveness out of my voice when she started to laugh and patted my knee.

“I’m kidding you girl, I’m not so far gone I don’t know about writers. I taught journalism at Ohio State for thirty years; believe me, I KNOW about Ohio writers.”

The tense moment broken, we exchanged names, (hers was Marabelle Feineman), and information on our purpose for being at the hospital, the weather, and the great season OSU basketball was having. At one point, she caught sight of the other occupant in the room, the lady reading the book about Eleanor Roosevelt, and tapped her cane on the chair beside the unsuspecting woman.

“That’s not the best book written about old Eleanor, you know? I promised myself I wouldn’t inflict my book taste on anyone, and look at me bothering a complete stranger, but you’re wasting your time on that dried up old lesbian. You want to read a book? Read Pompeii. Great story! It’ll stir up your wonder lust, get your blood flowing!”

The Eleanor loving reader hastily gathered up her belongings muttering something about getting coffee and beat tracks out of the waiting room, an event Mrs. Feineman found vastly amusing. We talked about dogs and husbands, jobs and kids. She explained her daughter was a judge in New York, her son-in-law a photographer for National Geographic. She said her son died in 1988, and I saw the pain still lingering behind her sparkling eyes.

“Once I followed a young man all around the mall.” Mrs. Feineman whispered in the quiet room. “I knew it wasn’t Teddy, but I just wanted to drink him in, his walk was the same, the way his hair fell over his collar…” she fumbled in her pocket for an inhaler as her voice trailed off, no longer strong enough to fight the asthma and the sadness.

I felt goose bumps rising on my arms, seeing the intensity of her loss still like a living thing clinging to her frail body. Before I could comment, or express my sympathy, a nurse stepped through the double doors across the hall and called her name. Mrs. Feineman’s husband was out of surgery and ready for a visit. She returned the inhaler to her pocket and when she looked back at me, the feisty 81 year old woman was back.

“You have a card for this publishing business of yours? I have a reading group, I’ll tell ‘em something about it if you want.” She painstakingly raised herself to her feet and adjusted her windbreaker before gathering up her cane.

I asked her how many she had in her group as I dug my business cards out of my purse and then gaped in surprise when she said 35 regular members…

“…ranging in age from 45 to 81, can you guess who the old coot is?” Mrs. Feineman winked at me, tucked my stock of cards into her pocket and started her painful journey across the waiting room. When she reached the desk she turned and looked back at me.
“Will you have one of your writers put this in a story?” She asked.

“No, I’ll write it myself.” I answered, smiling at her.

She laughed that shallow, dry chuckle of someone who can never get enough air into their lungs. “I didn’t think you were just an editor young lady, they never have time to talk to old women.”

I have no doubt that Mrs. Feineman’s reading group will each receive a copy of my business card, as well as her bridge club, ladies auxiliary and alumni members. I’ve never missed an opportunity to talk instead of read, but if not for my crappy desk chair which forces me to carry my work everywhere, who would ever have asked me about our business?


Entry filed under: randomness, Reruns, writing.

Resolved – It’s A New Year Gators? Who? Oh! Those Guys!

25 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Catch  |  January 6, 2007 at 1:10 am

    This was a great story! I work with the elderly and I just love them. She sounds like a spunky lady. My favorite kind!

  • 2. J.  |  January 6, 2007 at 2:56 am

    I just love older people. They have so much to share. The people who cast them aside as old or infirm are really missing out on something.

    And you! Girl, when you write … you really WRITE! That paragraph where she’s approaching? Awesome. Simply awesome.

    I loved this post. Can you tell? *wink*

  • 3. Mr. Fabulous  |  January 6, 2007 at 4:45 am

    What a cool lady and a great story! Thanks for sharing!

  • 4. John Linna  |  January 6, 2007 at 6:33 am

    Since I wasn’t reading your blog before I enjoyed the rerun. It does sound like you met a great lady.

  • 5. Quilldancer  |  January 6, 2007 at 8:07 am

    Lovely post. There is much to be said for talking to strangers. If one doesn’t, how does one make new friends – or find story material?

  • 6. DaveM  |  January 6, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Good story Kat, you certainly have your work cut out keeping everything in the air, especially with young children in the house. Very poignant when she followed that guy in the mall, what she suffered as a parent has to be the worst experience.

  • 7. katcampbell  |  January 6, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Catch – She is spunky! I hope to be like her one day.

    J. – Thank you. Chasing the dream….

    Thank YOU, Mr. Fab. Sometimes great stories stumble right into your lap.

    Dr.John – Nobody was reading my blog when I first posted this, lucky for me!

    Quilly – Exactly! I never pass up an opportunity to yak at somebody.

    Dave – When she told me about her son it gave me chills.

  • 8. Smoky  |  January 6, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    What a great lady and a super story! Thanks for sharing with us.


  • 9. Stacy  |  January 6, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    Love the way you told the story, Kat! I feel like I would recognize that woman anywhere and I WANT TO JOIN HER READING GROUP.

  • 10. jackie  |  January 6, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    I’m with Stacy – wanting to join Mrs. Feineman’s reading group! Older people have so much to offer. I love their stories. And yours – you wrote a great one, Kat.

  • 11. katcampbell  |  January 7, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Thanks Smoky.

    Stacy and Jackie – I would like join her reading group too…no invitation though, jeesh.

  • 12. drlinna  |  January 7, 2007 at 3:54 am

    I am glad that you shared that story

  • 13. Nessa  |  January 7, 2007 at 4:15 am

    Great story.

  • 14. Nessa  |  January 7, 2007 at 4:16 am

    btw – I’m back to reading after my holiday break. I hope to be done soon.

  • 15. smileymama  |  January 7, 2007 at 5:49 am

    Thank you for a most entertaining story and the feeling that I have also met this wonderful lady. A true storyteller, you are.

  • 16. katcampbell  |  January 7, 2007 at 5:49 am

    Thank you Dr. John, her story deserved to be told.

    Thanks Nessa!

  • 17. katcampbell  |  January 7, 2007 at 6:15 am

    Thank you Smiley Mama! No better compliment to a writer than that.

  • 18. cindra  |  January 7, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Great story…life kinda takes us on some interesting paths, eh?

  • 19. NMOTB  |  January 8, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing that story Kat!! I have a soft spot for older people and I love listening to their storys from way back when!!!!! I have been so busy since I got back from holiday that I am only now starting to catch up with all my blogs

    Take Care!

  • 20. Diesel  |  January 9, 2007 at 1:23 am

    Wow, fascinating story. Thanks for taking the time to write that down. Makes me feel like I should get out and talk to some people occasionally. 🙂

  • 21. katcampbell  |  January 9, 2007 at 3:07 am

    Cindra – yes, it does. You just have to be alert to the possibilities.

    New Mom – Welcome back! Senior citizens rock, they always have an interesting story to tell.

    Here to serve Diesel, whatever it takes to inspire my blogger buddies.

  • 22. Shelli  |  January 12, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    OMG! I loved that story. LOVED it. Have you heard from her? It made me smile. I love talking to the elderly. They have so much to offer us and few ever take the time to listen.

    When my grandfather died, I learned the hard way that if you don’t listen, you won’t get the benefit of their experience. Now, I never let the opportunity to listen to the elderly, be it someone I know or a complete stranger, pass me by.

  • 23. Janet  |  January 13, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Great story! You never know who you’ll run into in the unlikeliest places.

  • 24. ca corona house new  |  August 20, 2007 at 7:32 am

    ca corona house new

    From House to Home:. Texas House.

  • 25. cqkgjytmwg  |  November 26, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    cqkgjytmwg cqkgjytmwg cqkgjytmwgcqkgjytmwg
    cqkgjytmwgcqkgjytmwgcqkgjytmwg cqkgjytmwg


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. (Robert Benchley)

Welcome to My Neighborhood!

Shortly after I learned to use a spoon, I learned to use a pencil. Crippled by shyness as a child, I found that the things I couldn't say out loud, I could say with a pen, and then a typewriter. The shyness was overcome with education and age...but the need to write has never left me.

Books That Have Toured Here

Murder For Hire - The Peruvian Pigeon Dana Fredsti mfhcoverjpg.jpg

You’re Not The Only One

Compiled and edited by Peach, this book includes a story by Kat Campbell, as well as 105 other great writers from across the internet. Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the War Child Fund. Great reading for you, help for some deserving kids. Order by clicking on LuLu in my links.

Recent Posts

Woo Hoo Awards!

rockingirlblogger.jpg biggestheartaward.jpg
thinkingbloggeraward.jpeg thoughtfulbloggeraward.jpg
January 2007
« Dec   Feb »


%d bloggers like this: