Push the Button

As I sat at Kathryn Lovatt’s kitchen table Tuesday morning previewing what we thought was our absolute final upload of Serving Up Memory, I said,” I think I’m gonna cry.”

Alarmed, she stopped what she was doing at the counter behind me and asked, “Why? Is something wrong?”

“No, nothing’s wrong. It’s just that, well, it all looks so pretty.”


“Well, you know. Clear and crisp and between the lines.”

“That’s a relief, “ she said as she resumed her lunch preparations for two friends. We were riding high that morning and felt positive that this was IT! She had friends coming by from Southport and I was meeting a Sumter friend at Mickey Dee’s. We knew that what we had to do would take an hour—tops. (I hope someone notices that I successfully included that em dash. Whether it’s used correctly, I don’t know.)

And then I saw something that made my heart sink.  After carefully centering the photograph on page 140, we decided to give it a caption, Tree Love. However, upon closer inspection, we could clearly see that Tree Love looked foreign. What were those letters? Turns out the caption was upside down, and regardless of our many manipulations, nothing budged. We gave up and just deleted the caption.

Running late for lunch, I scooted to McDonald’s to meet my friend. As soon as possible, I hustled back over to Kathryn’s, and we corrected, reviewed, and uploaded the most recent edition of our anthology. While looking at it on the digital previewer, we noticed that one of her favorite pictures, Sunrise at Scott Park, was inching towards the gutter.

We stared at the screen and then at each other. I knew that look. It said, “Push the button.” So I did.

Last night one of the group’s members sent an email saying that she felt a bit emotional when looking at a copy she received yesterday. “I misted all up.  Don’t know why, but I just was suddenly hit with how beautiful that this all came together.” I know the feeling.

And she wasn’t even looking at the most recent version.

About three weeks ago, a professional copy editor volunteered to look at our anthology, and she sent pages and pages of suggested changes. At first we were daunted, but after about five minutes we realized what a favor she had done for us. We took deep breaths, squared our shoulders, and went to work. Just to give you an example of how far we’ve come, here are a few of Beth Crosby’s recommendations. Note that these all relate to the same thing: overuse of a word. Who knew? That’s just one reason why we appreciate Beth’s sharp eye and expertise.

So here in the second line, we have the first “concoction” of six to follow.
I’m happy to change this to something else, but consider the following:
Page 102 – leave as is
 Page 111 – 5th line – change here to “mixture”
 Page 116 – bottom ¶, line 2, change “concocted” to “created”
Page 117 – line 6 – change here to “confection
Page 128 – 2nd¶, last line, leave as i
Page 162 – 3rd ¶, line 4 – not sure here, Jayne, as you used the phrase “culinary concoction” on page 128 – what do you think

Summative statement: The anthology is a labor of love compiled, edited, and revised more times than I can recall. When I say “love,” I’m referring to love of story, love of ancestors, love of traditions, love for writing, and love for our finished product. Are we ready to start Part II. Yes, I think so. Maybe you’ll consider contributing your story.

About jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer
This entry was posted in anthologies, books, self publishing, stories, writing, writing groups and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Push the Button

  1. kathryn says:

    Particularly enjoyed reading this one, Jayne, and glad you put it to words so we can remember that good feeling of what our writers’ group achieved, and how we felt and feel about having helped such a good book along.


  2. My comment is about the techie-anxiety associated with just ‘pushing the button.’ I think that part of the creative process is more daunting than all the blood sweat and tears in the creating of the work itself…HA!!
    Can’t wait to see the final physical copy of this!


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