Saturday, July 30, 2011
A few days ago I accompanied a friend to a doctor's appointment in Washington. Judy drove, and I got the job of navigator. We got to the hospital on time and Judy got good news about her condition with a 'wait and see' prescription from the specialist.
We were pretty happy on the turn-around, but somehow lost the route. Try as we might, we couldn't find the route out of town - although we did see some pretty nifty neighborhoods.
After a while it became clear that we were hopelessly lost. We stopped for directions, and although each person we asked seemed pretty clear about where we had to go, we continued to find new vistas, but no trail to home!
Finally, Judy stopped at a you-pump gas station where she struck up a conversation with a wonderful woman who went out of her way to lead us to the right route! What a relief. Not only was my friend relieved about her health problem, we were on the way back to the Eastern Shore! What a blessing.
It gave me reason to think. A total stranger went out of her way to help us! She must have been an angel for she had been there to help in a city of strangers. God surely blessed us that day! And He kept the promise that we would be safe...
It occurs to me that there are angels among us and that they will appear when trouble threatens. Both Judy and I were so thankful for the woman who helped us and we both wished there was a way to thank her.
I hope you find the angels in your life and that you keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The world of publishing is undergoing the greatest change since Gutenberg devised moveable type. Before that, books were copied by hand - on papyrus scrolls, on animal skins, clay tablets and parchment - often in aid of one religious order or another. Only rich folks could afford books, which helped them to understand what came before and how to wield the power of knowledge over their inferiors.
Once books could be reproduced rapidly, though, more people could afford to purchase and own books - they could even subscribe to newspapers, and the race for understanding was on!
Books were pretty common when I was a kid - my folks belonged to the book-of-the-month-club and they left whatever they were reading lying around for their offspring to pick up if any of us were interested. Dad went way out of pocket to buy the Encyclopedia Brittanica, which I did my best to devour - along with my textbooks, the Saturday Evening Post and the printed matter on catsup bottles and cereal boxes.
As I grew older, I came to see that even the crappiest fiction has a secondary role -the writers of such dreck recorded a huge array of different worlds. Books did, for most of my life, however, remained products made of paper if you don't count radio and movies as forms of literature.
About 20 years ago something astounding happened. Personal computers became commonplace, people from around the world could converse in real time, and whole manuscripts could be forwarded across continents with the press of a key or click of a mouse.
I got dragged into the fray kicking and screaming. Fortunately, I was writing for a little daily newspaper at the time, so there was no way around it! What a revelation. You could write a story and have it on the page in an hour. You could correct your errors as you went along, and so could your copy editor.
You have to know those novels I had been working on at home were suddenly portable. I could approach a publisher and get a rejection slip in only a few days - versus weeks, months, and in some cases as much as a year! You could also produce a clean manuscript as fast as you could write it down.
What to write? Everything. I have come to understand that much of what I write is history - maybe not the sort you find on the evening news, but stories about people, places and things told from my unique perspective. I write my experiences in Appalachia, the days I spent in an antique shop, the hours blessed with music, and the beat I worked, which included everything from boat races to garden club teas.
I try to write a world people can see, and hope the words I find touch your heart. It is hot out there today, so keep cool - and walk on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Monday, July 18, 2011
In the interests of shameless self promotion I google my own name pretty often. I was surprised to see that the State University of New York had published my biography. Google rocks!
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Terry L. White Submitted by admin on Thu, 2011-02-10 12:17
FM’s Renaissance Woman
Terry L. White had been working as a waitress in the Fultonville truckstops and about to turn 40 when she finally heeded the call for a higher education. Already a folk musician and would-be writer, she sold her kitchen table and chairs to find the funds to send her application to Fulton-Montgomery Community College. Accepted, she found help through grants, the support of her friends, and with a great deal of faith, she completed a course of study resulting in an Associate’s Degree with high honors.
Today Terry has published more than a dozen books. “I remember one of my friends at FM telling me one day over coffee that she had dreamed she would someday have a whole shelf full of my books,” says Terry. “I wanted to believe that dream would come true, but I didn’t have a clue how to make it happen.”
After graduation from FM, Terry wrote a letter to Skidmore College’s University Without Walls, outlining her accomplishments at FM and asking for help in completing her education. She was welcomed with open arms, and the skilled counseling staff at the University Without Walls helped her not only fulfill her goal of earning a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies, but by also giving her experience with local editors who read and critiqued her work.
Upon her graduation at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center along with Lena Spencer, proprietress of the famed Cafe Lena, Terry followed her heart to the International Womens Writing Guild conferences hosted at Skidmore each summer, where she taught a “song as story” workshop for a dozen years, meeting writers and publishers from around the world. It was at the first guild conference she attended that Terry met Arline Chase, her publisher and longtime friend.
“I had collected more than two hundred rejection slips from traditional publishers who were being very careful about supporting the work of new writers when Arline called me and told me about ebooksonthe.net, an Internet publishing company that was distributing books in electronic formats. She said I should submit one of my novels. The idea seemed very risky and foreign, but the editor not only liked my work, she asked for more.”
Terry said she felt a new excitement about her work, even though electronic publishing was still very much a thing of the future. “I burned those rejection slips, though,” she said. “All I needed was a chance to make my dreams a reality.”
Internet publishing has come a long way since then, and Terry’s books are available in both electronic and paper editions, some at Amazon.com and all at ebooksonthe.net, which Mrs. Chase purchased a couple of years ago.
Terry has served as the president of the Adirondack Fiddlers, and on the board of directors of the New York Folklore Society. She has written stories and articles for a number of newspapers and magazines where she earned several writing awards for the excellence of her work. She has also performed at many local events in Cambridge, MD, where she has made her home for the past 16 years. She has been an event organizer for several organizations including the Harriet Tubman Coalition, and creates beautiful jewelry and dolls for the designer market.
“I remember my years at FM as difficult and wonderful,” Terry said. “I had no idea what I could do with my dreams when I started, and a few years later I was doing what I had only dreamed I could do with my life. I can’t thank FM enough.”
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It was a neat thing to see someone noticed my struggle. I appreciate it no end and hope you walk on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Ever since I moved to the Eastern Shore I loved to go out into the country to enjoy the peace and quiet of the farm fields and marshlands.
One feature of the marshes that leaves a lingering sadness in my heart is the decaying hulks of houses that, condemned when environmentalists decreed the ground would not perk and that human wastes had to be processed in above-ground tanks that were often far out of the means of the old folks who lived in those dwellings - even though these hardy folks have lived in good health in those same houses for time out of mind.
I always feel such a sadness when I notice a decaying marsh house. I wonder about who lived there, what children played in the yard, and the face of the bride who came there as a new wife full of hope and love. I especially wonder about the hope - the expectation that a life might be full of the goodness God promised.
Writers have such thoughts.
An amazing thing is that sometimes (but not always) when I see one of those old abandoned houses I find my head swimming with a grand new idea for a story or book.
It is as if I have been given what might be called a cosmic assignment to tell that story as best I can.
Writing is a task I can't seem to put down, although I sometimes feel as if I have perhaps timed out like those sad rotting houses sinking into the marsh. And then the dictation starts in my head and I find myself still at the keyboard writing a history that seems to come from the very heart of love.
I hope that you have found your bliss, and that the world talks to you about beauty, hope and love - and if that isn't enough, I hope you keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Friday, July 15, 2011
I had an email from my publisher at Cambridge Books saying that my new book of short stories called Random Apples is on the cusp of going to the printer.
This will be my 19th book published either in print, as an e-book, or both. You might think the experience would grow old over time, but each of my 'babies' is special to me and I am excited to hold that first copy in my hands. I guess you could say that holding that new book is bliss - and you know what people say about following one's bliss - that goodness will follow.
You might think that such an impressive output might be noticed in the greater scheme of things, but so far the sales have been modest. I was, however, surprised by a young fan Saturday evening at the Taste of Cambridge event, who said she had read all my books and asked to have her photo taken with me! I was touched.
It is small incidents like meeting that young woman that give me that little extra push to keep working - the work is the blessing after all. And yes, I am working on the sixth book for my Chesapeake Heritage series. I'm not talking about it much yet, but it is keeping me grounded in the dream and I am thankful that the stories keep knocking at my door.
I hope you have a dream and are making it come true and that you keep on the sunny side today and throughout your journey. Love, Terry
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Yesterday I was privileged to take part in Cambridge's Taste of Cambridge event. I saw many old friends and had a wonderful time despite the heat, which seemed a bit more than predicted.
All that didn't seem to quench the spirit of community that brought hundreds out to enjoy the best in crab cuisine.
As a writer and historian, I was reminded of the heritage inherent in such a festival. Today there are fewer watermen than ever and we should all take our hats off to these hardy souls who work the local waters.
Also to be congratulated and celebrated are the wonderful women who once waited for their men to come home with their catch, which they cleaned with nimble knives and gospel song. As such, I am including one of my best (I hope!) poems as a gift to everyone who remembers the waterside culture and wonders where it went:
She sits, her hands in her lap at rest,
Fingers bundles of broken twigs,
Brown and knotted, scarred,
Big-knuckled from long hours with the knife
Worrying the sweet meat
From horny red shells that cut to the quick.
Her dress is clean,
Faded at shoulder, breast, and thigh,
Patches over patches
Covered with a familiar apron
Of clean, dim rose print.
Her hair is pulled back each morning
Anchored against the wind –
The constant wind.
Fine lines fan out from
Eyes once as blue as bay and sky,
Now faded into pearly haze.
She was always there
In the house beside the water
Where the fiddler crabs
Clattered their shells
At break of day,
Annoyed at her steps
As she tended the goat,
The chickens, the pig.
She doesn’t need much now.
The neighbors look in on her.
She smiles, says she is fine.
And they leave, shaking their heads
At her presence at all.
Her voice is now an echo
Of the persisting wind
As she whispers her prayers
Over sourdough batter
Started years before and
Stirred with a tarnished spoon.
Her children live on
In faded photographs ranked
By size and age on the mantle shelf
Where the flu is cold
In the summer damp.
They rarely call.
Her man was heavy of hand.
His shoulders as strong as
Trees from the tongs.
She loved him when
The two were young,
But he lay down to sleep
One night, and did not breathe
In morning’s light.
There was a time she waited
On the bridge near the water’s edge
For the sight of a well known sail;
And now for the Maker’s call …
There’s nothing more.
Her world has passed,
And soon her memories will be
Found only in a tattered book
That once fell into the green water
So that the ink ran
And the tales were lost.
I hope you enjoyed the poem and have a wonderful day, and keep on the sunny side!
The poem Mom Mom is found in my book Myth to Me: Songs From the Inner Light.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Later today I will be on Race Street for the huge Taste of Cambridge event. This event has been building for the last couple of years and is growing like the proverbial weed. Congratulations to Jim Duffy and the Main Street board for all their hard work on behalf of the community. They sure have done Cambridge proud.
I will be sharing a booth with the Wednesday Morning Artists and will offer the complete collection of my Chesapeake Heritage books, which are based on the history of the Eastern Shore. The art for the covers are unusual as they were done by Snow Hill artist Dawn Tarr so they are truly a local product.
Starting with the story of Mary, an indentured servant who marries her master in Chesapeake Harvest; the series follows Heron, who is half native; Jane, who waits out the Revolutionary War to find love; Jewel a blind plantation owner at the end of the Civil War; and Mary, who finds herself in peril when a stalker haunts the cannery where she works as World War One ends.
Stop by the Wednesday Morning Artists booth on Race Street during the festival and register for a chance to win a copy of Vienna Pride.
I love to write and feel it is my calling in life. Today, I am waiting for my 19th book to arrive in print and hope to have some copies of the new book of short stories called Random Apples for the Annie Oakley festival on the second Saturday in August. My book of poetry, Runaway Hearts was read on Radio for the Blind and I have been given awards for my poetry, short stories and news articles. Books are available from me, or from Amazon.com and Kindle.com.
Please stop by to see me, Dale Booth, Nancy Snyder, Kay Jones and others near the Hunt Insurance Office on Race Street... and keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Weather permitting, I will join the fun at Taste of Cambridge on July 9 during Main Street's Taste of Cambridge event. I will share the booth along with a number of artists from the Wednesday Morning Artists group and signing books throughout the festival.
To date, I have published 19 e-books and novels. My work is available through Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Bay Country Shop and Write Words Inc. of Cambridge..
My Chesapeake Heritage series is based on the history of this area, beginning with the arrival of an indentured servant who married her master and founded a line of strong women who live on the same plantation during each tale. The series goes through the growing pains of a new nation, poverty, prejudice, slavery, sickness and world wars.
I arrived in Cambridge 18 years ago to write for The Daily Banner and readily admit I fell in love with the area. Over the years I have earned a number awards for my short fiction and journalism. My short stories and poetry were chosen to represent Dorchester County in the Artscape Festival at Baltimore in 1994. My volume of narrative poetry Runaway Hearts was recently read on Radio for the Blind.
Shoppers will have the opportunity to win a copy of Ms.White’s latest novel Vienna Pride, the tale of a cannery girl in peril at the end of the first world war.
Please stop by my booth to say hello and keep on the sunny side! Terry