Thursday, December 31, 2009

SDA memoir

No movement on the memoir about my time with the Seventh-day Adventists--I have one more publisher to whom I'll send a proposal in January, then I'm out of ideas. On the other hand, I've been energized by my conversations with Andy Hanson & the guest posts he has facilitated in different Adventist blogs about my experiences. I'm glad to be part of the SDA conversation on the future directions of their church, especially regarding how they deal with gays and lesbians. It's interesting reading more about Quaker history, too, especially on the splits between the "liberal" Friends and the more evangelical branches. I had wondered why, with similar prophets, the Adventists and Quakers were now so different. It is because Quakers have themselves gone in different directions--in the 1800s during the revivalist period when Adventism was also founded. The Friends' pastoral branches are much more like the Adventists, and were influenced by some of the same theological movements (Wesleyan, Finney, etc.).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guest post #2

Thanks to Andy Hanson for posting an essay I wrote called, "God-given Nature" in his blog Adventist Perspective on Thursday, December 10, 2009. It is set in the midst of his passionate discussion of Andrews University's Conference on the Adventist Response to Gay Marriage. I am grateful to see my voice added to the Adventist discussion.

Also, I've been really excited by the forthcoming book on Ellen White (Ellen White Project) and the follow-up talks (Ellen White in a New Key - LLU, part 1 and part 2). I'm sorry I missed the conference in October!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

re: Convergent Friends

On 11/16/09, Robin M posted The Convergent Conversation Continues and on 11/23, Liz Opp wrote about "how the Convergent conversation addresses certain topics." In the comments on the latter there was discussion about digging into the Quaker tradition & whether or not that is helpful. I've found that among our liberal meeting, most are "converts," i.e., we come from other denominations or spiritual practices or from no practice at all. So, learning about Quaker tradition has helped me, & seemingly others, to be more open to the Spirit and its leadings. Sometimes simply learning the language (Quaker and/or Christian) helps us talk openly with each other.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Guest Post

Thanks to Andy Hanson (Adventist Perspective), an abridged version of my article in Friends Journal (Sept 2009) appeared as a guest post on the Reinventing the Adventist Wheel blog. I had been wondering if I should continue trying to get my book published and have also been thinking about a more scholarly article about Friends and Adventists. As I feel my intellectual and creative energy returning, Andy's message is such a timely blessing!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"New" music

Yesterday I attended a concert by GVSU's New Music Ensemble. They performed "In C" by Terry Riley, a "minimalist masterpiece" completed in 1964. Their new CD, "In C Remixed," got a great review in the Newsweek (October 12, 2009). The composition was printed on the back of the program--it is 53 measures long & each musician must start at the beginning and go forward in order, but is free to decide when to begin playing, how many times to repeat the measure, what octave to play it in, what variations to play, etc. What could be chaotic is instead richly layered, both rhythmically & harmonically, sometimes sounding like John Adams, sometimes like whale songs, sometimes just like itself. It was beautiful.

When I returned to the office, I realized that we didn't own the cd, & am ordering it for the Library. Thus what was originally just an ordinary liaisoning event became a collection development opportunity.

Commanding compassion

I've had my gallbladder out & am making a good recovery. Just after my surgery, my wife was told by someone that my wife should go to that person's house to help her with her chores, to take my wife's mind off her own troubles. I found that particularly insensitive, as my wife was doing her best to run our household, take care of me, and keep her head above the water with her own inner turmoil. Did that person offer to bring us a meal or otherwise help us out? No.

A week later, this same person announced that she thought that certain folks should be making more effort to attend their committee meetings. She also denounced dual memberships in the sense of going to other meetings or churches -- which takes people away from our meeting -- and why can't that be done on Saturdays? (BTW, this is a person who is consistently late for M/meetings, who demands that others help her yet doesn't seem to make much effort to help others.)

I am angry, wanting to elder this person. Who is she to question our Meeting's discernment about memberships? I find strength comes from these connections, not diminishment. Why does she feel free to demand so much time & energy? Why doesn't she ever step up to the plate to organize the events she would like to see us doing?

I need help finding relief from my anger, and help finding compassion. I realize that I probably react so strongly because I would rather complain than act, & I see how this behavior is defeating both to myself & others. I have a hard time loving myself, let alone loving others as myself.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Playing It Straight by Milt Ford

Playing It Straight: Gay Men and Heterosexual Marriage by Milt Ford, has just been released. Milt interviewed many gay & bisexual men and conveys their experiences in the context of orientation & identity, childhood & adolescence, marriage & children, coming out, & religion.

Congratulations, Milt!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Teaching web searching & evaluation

I revised the way I teach this session for the Advertising & PR class.
The students' question/problem=any topic related to (advertising or PR) and GVSU.
Which search engines will give the best results? Are any better than Google or Google Scholar? Set up a blog (in BlackBoard) for students to fill in answers to the questions on worksheet below.
1. Evaluate each website according to Virginia Tech's criteria[ each link in a new tab; work with others sitting at your table; write thoughts under each site below)
a. SolarBotanic :[ - artificial trees]

b. Honeywell Wind Turbine – GVSU Engineering students developed this]
2. Use a search engine [] other than Google to search for wind turbines and colleges or universities.
Compare results with your neighbors.
a. Name of search engine used:
b. Note helpful/useful features of the search engine & quality of results:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The GVSU Libraries have implemented a single box which searches all of the periodicals to which we subscribe and our catalog. I teach several sections of Advertising & PR about database searching. Since Summon is new, I am soliciting their feedback about what features they found helpful in it or the databases (the latter have the advanced search screen as the default), & which they preferred. First, they search Summon with only 1 keyword from each of their ideas, all strung together without Boolean ANDS or ORs. Next, they use the various databases with synonyms & full Boolean. After they have completed their assignment, they will also turn in their worksheet with feedback.

Should we offer a single search box as the database default screen? Should we offer Summon with the advanced screen? Where were the most useful results found?

Friday, September 18, 2009


I went for a brief walk in the woods this afternoon, trying to find some calm by listening inwardly as well as to the forest sounds. I've been wondering what to do about the foreword for the book. When I was on my way back to the office, I met up with a friend who asked me, "What do you want readers to do?" (I.e., take away with them)

Connect to their own spirituality. Be open to people of other churches & faiths. Listen for, discern, & act on God's will.

"You know, I didn't know anything about Quakers before I went to your wedding." My friend's next question was, "Who represents that for you?" Instead of thinking of the marketing value of the foreword, who knows me & would write something that represents my journey? Think more simply, my friend said.

Oh yeah. Quaker simplicity.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

L'Histoire du Soldat

I enjoyed the performance of Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale" on Monday night. It was an interesting way to combine the historical piece with contemporary technology--it was performed by a small group of GVSU faculty musicians and dancers, with a student dance ensemble and a guest narrator. Also, various scenes were projected on a large screen at the back of the stage. A little difficult for me to follow all of it (sensory overload) but I'm sure the whole appealed to the students. The program notes put the performance into context--this piece reflected the lack of resources in post-Great War of 1918--being written for a small group and being staged quite simply. And it ties Faust's story of "the man who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for riches, power, youth, wisdom," etc. & the Biblical questions of riches vs. soul by using jazz, tango, & a street band. Stravinsky was an early minimalist in some ways.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Music Resource Room

Today I spent some time with the Orchestra Conductor and 5 student assistants discussing how to list the books, scores (sheet music), & cds held in the Music Resource Room, 1211 PAC, in an excel file. We talked about working from the title page & verso instead of the cover, & included fields for author (compiler/composer/editor), title (skip "a", "an" or "the" as the 1st word), publisher, date (most recent copyright), format/s (book, music, cd), instrumentation (e.g., piano, orchestra, band), copy #, notes (e.g., v.1). For borrowing/circulation, we entered fields for ID #, name, & date due. Items will be filed by author's last name then title, within categories (still to be defined).

This room is different from the room for band music--seemingly aimed at music education more than large ensembles.

LGBT Resource Center Advisory Committee / Palooza

Yesterday the LGBT Resource Center's Advisory Committee met. The center has become one of the most successful in Michigan & perhaps the nation. They received the prestigious Arcus grant last year, have arranged amazing programming, have a good start on their library collection, have staffing which includes: a faculty Director, an administrative professional Assistant Director, a clerical Office Coordinator, a graduate assistant, and undergraduate student workers. They coordinate with Allies & Advocates, Out & About student organization, a graduate student organization, the LGBT Faculty & Staff Association, other GVSU offices/centers/services, & many area community organizations. They provide many useful links, a speaker's bureau for classes, the Lavender Graduation ceremony, film screenings, & a mentorship program for new students.

As a librarian, I have developed policies, advise them on their collection, & keep a wish list for donations. As a senior faculty member, I provide input for various issues and help with strategic planning.

Also, back at Zumberge Library later in the afternoon, I took my turn with helping at the Library Palooza. It's a marketing event that also includes some useful learning objects.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scholar Works

Yesterday our Collection Development Librarian & I met with the Photography department to discuss putting their senior students' theses in our institutional repository, Scholar Works. While there are some questions to be answered (how to maintain the best control of intellectual property/copyright of the photos--so they can't be stolen--while still providing good quality, and wording for the release form), I think it will be a go. It'll provide a more permanent repository place (url) for the work & be more searchable from both the web & our catalog. Photography will be able to link to the collection without having to provide the server space or risk losing the files when the university's web pages change.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quaker defamation lawsuit

I am dismayed by a Friend who has chosen to pursue (indeed, re-open) a defamation lawsuit, "seeking justice," which sounds very close to seeking retribution. Yes, Friend Scott Savage was unjustly attacked while suggesting books for the first-year reading list at Ohio - Mansfield. The books he suggested certainly would have provided fodder for discussion & opened up learning opportunities, even if he did suggest them "tongue-in-cheek." Yet it has been reported that no one spoke up about academic freedom (a.k.a. the right to free speech) or in opposition to censorship. All lamentable--all of which OSU faculty & staff need to address. Those who wrote the hate-filled emails should apologize publicly & in written form. Yet Savage chose to take a leave of absence and to resign.

As Friends, we are urged to abstain from lawsuits, and to try to settle disputes by arbitration. We strive to live simply, & to reflect on the ways in which we gain our income. Why would a Plain Friend seek $150,000? I pray that Friend Scott will strive to make his yea be yea and his nay be nay, providing an example for his former colleagues who were not able to do so. Many lawsuits are a type of interpersonal violence. Whereas Friends try to overcome the emotions that lie at the root of violence and instead nurture a spirit of reconciliation and love.

Ohio Yearly Meeting's 2nd Query includes: "Do we cherish a forgiving spirit, and strive to 'walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us'? Is each one of us careful for the reputation of others? Are we ever mindful to love our neighbor as ourselves?" []

Reach out to the other parties in the conflict with courage and love, Friend. Seek an apology, not monetary compensation. Seek reconciliation, answer that of God in thy former colleagues.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Faulty Ching" conference

That is, what I learned at the Fall Teaching (& Learning) Conference:
  • Use formative assessment to inform my understanding of student learning. (check)
  • Use journaling to record successful/effective teaching and things upon which to improve. (check)
  • Ask students, "How will this impact your future practice?" (or "What will you do differently now?"). (check)
  • Use collaborative journaling with colleagues, especially across institutions, to find common themes upon which to build the basis for presentations and/or articles.
  • There are 9 intellectual standards for critical thinking (we should get the Set of Twenty One Thinker's Guides): clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, significance, fairness.
  • Techniques for achieving critical thinking:
  1. dialogic questioning (use students' answers to foster discussion)
  2. Socratic questioning (requires your questions to be specific & detailed, students' answers to be interpretive or making new inferences, & your follow-up to summarize & talk about what has not been resolved)
  3. make the application of knowledge in new & different contexts transparent
  4. have the class debate the pros/cons & then switch perspectives with a follow-up discussion on the evidence for which side was more persuasive
  5. give examples that challenge assumptions
  6. have students explain the essence of the readings by using metaphors
  7. have students back up their answers with page numbers or a website or quote from the readings
  8. have students assume the characteristics of something non-human (like a virus and bacteria in the health sciences or gravity in physics)
  9. have students explain concepts to different audiences/levels.

Monday, August 24, 2009

the book; liaising

On the book: I talked to the reporter last week & she provided me with some helpful insights about interviews. I also made my 1st choice in authors to ask to write a foreword and sent a note out. After I hear back, either I'll need to approach others, or can start soliciting blurbs. One retired prof graciously offered to edit the introduction & conclusion (free of charge!) & I'm grateful for that. I have another person in mind to ask to review the entire manuscript, based on another colleague's recommendation. Plus, one of the profs to whom I had sent the mss is very excited about it & wants to chat. It's all very exhilarating.

On liaising: today I attended the start-up meeting for the School of Communications--did my 2-minute spiel, handed out cards, answered a myriad of questions, met new faculty, & lunched with photography colleagues. They're entirely willing to work with us on putting student capstone "theses" into our repository. In fact they have been wondering how to get these already-digitized photos & essays online, so timing is everything.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

preparing for interview questions

I am preparing to market the book (this should be done well before it is published) but I felt so much anxiety about the question, "How did the book evolve?" that I just sat with the anxiety for awhile. I realized that I hate answering questions about myself. The good thing about being a librarian is that questions are rarely personal. As an academic librarian, I haven't done book talks or even reviews, so this is a new area. So a change in perspective: take a step back to look at the book as a librarian, academic or public, might. Oh, time to ask a librarian to read the mss and write a review! I have the names and contact info for reviewers in the spiritual memoir genre but I'm not at the point of asking for formal reviews. Volunteers or suggestions?

Back to the topic at hand. Can I talk about myself as if I were talking about an author (not me) yet not in the 3rd person? What are the things which might interest readers and which I'm willing to divulge? Oh, I know a reporter. It's not her area exactly, but maybe she'd be willing to help me out, since again I'm not at the point of asking for a newspaper article to be written. And who knows, maybe she would write an article when it is time. Are there other hints/helpful advice?

Friday, August 7, 2009

library instruction assessment options

Pre-instruction: ask students a week before the session what questions they have about library research (in BlackBoard or by way of the faculty member). Use this in the conversation with the faculty member about the learning objectives and to structure the activities.

Post-instruction: ask students & faculty, "Should this session be taught for this course in future semesters?" and "In which other courses should a library research session be taught?"

(This would be to supplement the minute questions of, "What was the most important thing you learned in the library session?" or "What will you do differently in your research process now?" and "What questions do you still have about finding information to support your paper?")

Monday, July 27, 2009


Yes, I have a few gallstones, but after the blood tests & ultrasound, the Dr. had the gall to tell me that no treatment will be pursued & I can go back to eating what I want. Huh--I don't know what to think. Well, I've lost a couple of pounds eating low-fat, which I think is a good thing--since I don't fit into most of my work pants since sabbatical. Hold the fries, please.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

UP travels

We went to Tahquamenon Falls which were roaring tannin-brown & I spotted a Blackburnian warbler & a yellow-rumped warbler. I went back the next morning because it was so beautiful--giant ferns in the woods, 8-foot-tall thistles, multiple falls, etc. At Seney National Wildlife Refuge, spotted Sandhill cranes, a yellow warbler, ospreys (flying & nesting), loons with chicks on their backs, trumpeter swans & cygnets, a kingfisher, cedar waxwings, an Eastern kingbird, & a Northern Flicker. We also heard a Hermit Thrush singing away, saw a beaver swimming, & spotted a ruffed grouse sitting just outside the preserve. Gorgeous. I also enjoyed driving through the Keweenaw Peninsula, including Agate beaches, Brockway Drive, the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, & Canyon Falls (wow, flat rocks in MI, & maple-syrup-colored spume). Visited Ed Gray at his studio in Calumet & some other art galleries. Enjoyed the views & architecture in Marquette.

It was neat to see lots of bedrock, stamp sands from the copper mining, white birch & cedars in abundance, thimbleberries, fireweed, harebells, & wild parsnip amongst other wildflowers blooming. Oh, & to eat baked goodies from the monks at the Jampot!

Now I'm home, with the recurring gut pain waiting to be diagnosed officially as gallstones. What next?!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NOT clerking the GRFM

Sunday, Joy & I decided jointly that we were not able to take up the responsibility of co-clerking the GRFM at this time. Speaking on my own behalf, I have just returned to work after a 6-month sabbatical & am finding my energy in short supply. I don't have the emotional energy to do justice to our Meeting. Before Sunday, I woke up dreading the idea of clerking, dreaded attending meeting for worship, dreaded the idea of extra phone calls, snail mail, & emails. I don't think dread indicates a leading. I wasn't nominated but was on the Nominating Committee & said I would clerk when I saw that no one else was stepping up as I talked with people about their committees. I think I have some skills which would be helpful to the Meeting but...just not at the present moment. Not now.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Co-clerking the GRFM

Along with Joy, I'll be co-clerking the Grand Rapids Friends Meeting for the year starting July 1. Here are the questions I believe we need to start with as a Meeting.

• Who are we as a meeting? (& my own addition/take on this:) What spiritual belief [if any] do we hold in common?

• What does it mean to be a member of this meeting? What is the responsibility of the meeting to its members? What does an individual or family have a right to expect of their meeting? What is the responsibility of the member to the meeting? When there is disappointment of expectation on either side, what is a creative way to deal with this?

• Are we satisfied with how we are there for each other in times of need? Does each of us feel comfortable in sharing his or her need for help and support with the meeting community? If not, why not? How can we as a community grow toward greater trust in dropping our masks and in sharing our vulnerabilities?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Finished another 2nd tier proposal; fixed errors in manuscript pointed out by a new reader.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Finished and emailed another proposal. Received an almost immediate reply: declined. Also received another rejection letter. Well, that's 3 down, 1 no-reply after 8 weeks, with 3 left in the top tier of chosen publishers. Then I'll send out 2nd tier proposals.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Ran spell and grammar check. Found several errors & fixed them!

Received a personal note back from one editor declining the project as “the imprint is moving away from spiritual memoirs or reflections.”

Finished reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published (4th ed) by Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander. NY: Alpha Books (Penguin Group), 2006. Studied the contract info and added items to the Marketing Plan.

Worked a lot on the marketing plan: wrote to a couple of well-known Quaker bloggers, asking them if they would read the manuscript with an eye toward providing endorsements. Both agreed. Also wrote to several libraries asking about whom to contact for future author talks. Added contacts for newspaper reviewers and columnists, and listed some radio stations (to give interviews).

Found another publisher for the 1st tier. Will do the proposal.

Finished reading Author Law A to Z: A Desktop Guide to Writers' Rights and Responsibilities by Sallie Randolph, Stacy Davis, Anthony Elia, and Karen Dustman; ordered it along with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published and The Fine Print of Self Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies Analyzed Ranked & Exposed by Mark Levine. All have excellent advice & there is too much to photocopy. The self-publishing book says to avoid Xlibris!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Publishing in the Ministry

In response to a post titled "Travelling in the Electronic Ministry" by Richard M in his blog A Place to Stand:
I realized that I had done things kind of backwards by sending proposals for a manuscript to publishers before I asked for the blessing/encouragement (or something) of my Meeting. Since the book is about having been a Quaker studying and worshiping with Seventh-day Adventists for a couple of years, & during that period I was recorded as a "Minister of Ecumenism" by the Meeting, & while I did a program for the Meeting about our 2 denominations, I hadn't released the manuscript to them...I gave it to Ministry & Nurture a couple of days ago, asking for guidance! I'm grateful for Richard's thought-provoking post.

RichardM replied that he was glad it was helpful to me, & that North Carolina Conservative (Meeting) has preserved more of the old traditions of Friends than most other meetings. Quaker Quaker lets us remind each other of our traditions.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sabbatical: publishing process 1

Things I did long before I began to seek publishers: checked with the Human Research Review Committee to see if my project fell under their domain (it didn’t). Had various people read & comment on the drafts, so that I had material to edit, & eventually, a solid manuscript in hand. Since I felt “called by God” to document my journey as I lived it & then to get it “out there” for others to read, I had a draft in hand before I began to seek publishers. Most writers get a publisher interested before completing their project!

The process I used for choosing publishers:

First, I thought about my potential audience: probably Christians first & foremost; those interested in ecumenism; laypeople or maybe clergy but probably not scholars—so not an academic press. (Later I revised my audiences to include students & scholars, but still chose not to try academic presses.) This project is a combination of a layperson's spiritual memoir with an inclusion of the academic and religious literature as it applied to what I was learning.

Then I looked at one of the Writer’s Marketplace books & realized that there was one called Christian Writers' Market Guide. I borrowed the most recent edition from the public library & read it.

I read the advice & the publisher descriptions. Things I took note of: did they take unsolicited manscripts from individuals or did they only take submissions from agents? Did they take first-time authors? What were their specific areas of interest & genres? (My book fit into the “spiritual memoir” category, a.k.a. biography/autobiography.) Did they have a really narrow or specific focus (e.g., in my case, were they strictly denominational; did they do only “inspirational” items; were they evangelical; anti-gay)?

How many titles did they publish per year vs. how many submissions did they receive? How many copies did they typically print, & did they reprint? Or were they an e-book publisher? How long did the publication process take? Did they allow simultaneous submissions, & what was their response time? Did they do “subsidy” (vanity) publishing? Were they a “self-publishing” house? What length of book were they seeking? Who was their parent company? (Don’t submit to different imprints of the same publisher!)

I looked in WorldCat to see how many titles came up for the publishers I chose, how many libraries owned the titles, & what types of libraries bought the titles. I made sure that the publisher was really still in business by finding their website.

On the publisher’s websites, I took a look at their catalog titles to see if any were similar to my project. (I took note of these for the “competition” section of the proposal & for searching WorldCat.) Did the website have a section for submission suggestions? Did they want a query 1st, or a full proposal, or the manuscript? Did they accept an email, fax, or require items to be mailed? Who was the correct (acquisitions) editor? If I couldn’t find the name that went with the title, I called the publisher.

Initially, I chose 5 publishers for my 1st tier, then added one to make 6. My 2nd & 3rd choices varied as I got into the process--& I moved them around between the tiers. Currently there are 8 in my 2nd tier, arranged in order of preference, & 5 in the 3rd tier. In addition to using the Market Guide, as I came across interesting books in the libraries or in reviews, I looked up the publisher. I kept track of self-publishers, subsidy houses, & all others not appropriate—with the reason/s (e.g., only accepts manuscripts from agents, has gone out of business, does not accept unsolicited submissions, no autobiography or memoirs, too off-topic or narrow).

The next step, which I did out of order, is to read books about writing proposals! I sent my 1st proposal off before I did this, & I regret it. The other proposals are better since I read the books and revised the proposals accordingly!

As I developed the proposals, I had to write: a short and a longer description; Table of Contents with short descriptions; purpose, need, & contribution; description of the audiences; a list of potential reviewers/endorsers; marketing ideas (website, blogs, bookstores, speaking venues including conferences, churches, bookstores, radio & TV); my qualifications. As each publisher poses different questions & wants a slightly different format for the proposals, I learned a lot by doing several at once & by taking time to revise them as I learned, instead of sending each one out as soon as I thought it was done. Thinking about speaking venues gave me the idea to re-write the intro & conclusion of the book to create an article for a Quaker magazine, in response to a call for articles for a special topic issue. If it is accepted for publication, and if the book is accepted by a publisher, I’ll have to put a note on the verso: “Some of the material in this book has appeared, in different form, in the following publication….”

The books or sections about self-publishing are very helpful with the marketing portion. If all else fails & I don’t get a commercial publisher, I will go with a self-publishing option!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Kitty

We have a new addition to the household: "Dawn's Choice" (Choice) is an 8-year-old American Shorthair, silver shaded, retired-from-the-beauty-queen-circuit, female (spayed) cat. Photos at Picasa. (Or try the Picasa link at the upper left and click on the Family album.)


Read Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories into Memoirs, Ideas into Essays, and Life into Literature by Bill Roorbach with Kristen Keckler. Cincinnati,OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2008 (fully-revised 2nd edition). In an appendix, it lists memoirs in the form of journals and diaries, so I looked these up in Amazon and the libraries to see their form and publisher (May Sarton’s journals use a similar format as Nouwen’s and the sabbatical journal of John Royston Coleman (Blue-collar journal: a college president's sabbatical), which I then used for my manuscript). None of the others were really appropriate to list as “competition” in proposals. None of the publishers appropriate for my manuscript.

Faith Adiele, in Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun, (NY: W.W. Norton & Company 2004), used the margins to comment on her diary entries and to put quotations relevant to the entries. Not really a format I aspire to, but interesting.

Also read The Autobiographer’s Handbook: The 826 National Guide to Writing Your Memoir by Jennifer Traig (ed.). NY: Holt Paperbacks, 2008. It listed a memoir about faith, Jesus Land, from Counterpoint LLC ( I can’t see if they accept unsolicited mss. Wrote an email to them to ask. The 2 relevant titles from them are:
The Scent of God: A Memoir. BERYL SINGLETON BISSEL
Jesus Land: A Memoir. JULIA SCHEERES
Received an answer from Counterpoint Press: they do not accept manuscripts from individuals, only from agents.

Revised all proposals, sample chapters, & the manuscript itself by removing double spaces & replacing with single spaces. Wrote 1st proposal in 2nd tier of publishers. Wrote 2nd proposal in 2nd tier of publishers--I'm not too hopeful about this one as it seems be be primarily focused on Baptist materials.

Because it has been 6 1/2 weeks since I sent the very 1st proposal out (the only one in my 1st tier that did not want simultaneous submissions) & they haven't responded (they say they respond in 4 weeks; a directory said 4-6 weeks), I sent out the other 5 proposals in my 1st tier (all allow simultaneous submissions).

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Finished the journal article and wrote to the editor again, who said to send it along, so I did.

Read The Art of the Book Proposal: From Focused Idea to Finished Proposal by Eric Maisel. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2004. Then modified the proposals according to its suggestions. Read several other books like this one...they all say the same things.

I'm working on a website for the book; have received many good suggestions for making it better.

Worked again on the list of publishers, moving names between the 2nd & 3rd tiers, in preparation for writing the proposals for the 2nd tier.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


A journal to which I subscribe sent me a call for articles for special issues earlier this year, so I proposed an article: "I spent 2 years studying and worshiping with the Seventh-day Adventists as a Quaker in their midst, and was recorded as a Minister of Ecumenism in the Grand Rapids Friends Meeting (MI) for this period. I documented the "particular challenges" and how I met them, as I "strove to keep my outward life in harmony with my faith" as a recorded member of the Friends. I propose an article on what I learned and how I grew through these encounters: how we might meet each other within Christianity and across denominations, crossing boundaries in order to learn about the other, but not violating the integrity of either practice."

This journal ask writers to send a query email before submitting an article. I finished writing the article but haven't heard back from the editor--it's been 10 days. How long do I wait for a response?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

James Cowan

The lecture called “Art as Spirit among the Australian Aborigines” by James Cowan was great!
First, I got to meet him before the talk.

Second, the talk was fun. He said a couple of things that really stuck in my mind: "the land is the mythic hero," and that this is essentially "spiritual ecology." Also that the Aboriginal painters weren't creating "art" but ritual, that they were telling the story of their Dreaming. He had many slides of the paintings.

Third, I was in the group that went to lunch with him after the talk.

Fourth and best of all, I drove him back to the place he is staying--so we got some time to chat privately. We talked about mysticism in spirituality/religion. I asked him how we live the connection to God/live the Dreaming and still live in the world, especially when we as a society are so cut off from the earth? We talked a bit about that (Quakers have a mystic religion and try to take the leadings we receive from the Spirit into the world--a continuous cycle; he is Greek Orthodox and finds this to be the most mystical of the Christian denominations). We have to live a more ascetic life, he said--live with restraint. (Simplicity to Quakers.) We also have to live out looking for the gem ("that of God" in Quaker language) in each person we meet. He is trying to convey this mysticism in his writing--especially in Desert Father. He sees some movement in American society moving in this direction (the "emergent church") yet also sees the backlash from those who are trying to hold onto the past tradition of needing to have answers for everything. He said that the "cave" of the desert fathers/abbas has to be in our mind, not a literal ascetic shelter. He suggested that I read Desert Father and email him with my thoughts (email supplied).

How cool is that?


This week I looked up yet another set of publishers & added 2 publishers to the list and weeded out several possibilities. Also created a draft marketing plan.

Finished my 6th proposal.

Read a book by Herman, Jeff. Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! Waukesha, WI : Writer Books, 2009 ed. 19th ed. ISSN: 1548-1344.
Based on that, I then modified the proposal letters for 2 of the completed proposals according to Herman's guidelines, & finished modifying the other 3 proposals.

Today I'm off to a lecture called “Art as Spirit among the Australian Aborigines” by James Cowan (1942-). I know I've read at least one of his books, and he has had shows at GVSU--his collections of Aboriginal art are fantastic.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Worked on adding to & refining the publisher list. I found that some are subsidy/self-publishing presses of larger publishers, so I put them at the end. Others require agents or are have too narrow of a focus, or are just not right for this project. Finished the 5th & 6th queries/proposals.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Finished 2nd, 3rd, & 4th proposals, ready to send if I get a negative back from the 1st. One publisher on my top list has disappeared; must have gone out of business. Another does not now accept unsolicited proposals. Several publishers in 2nd priority group do not accept e-proposals, so am putting them further down the list.

This dratted cold is slowing me down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Conservative Friends Mtg

Sunday I had a very Friendly day. First I attended a joint meeting of the Ministry & Nurture and Advancement committees in the Grand Rapids Friends Meeting, so we could begin to address some needs of our Meeting. Then I went to Bible Study and Meeting for Worship of the Crossroads Friends Worship Group (under the care of the Stillwater Monthly Meeting in the Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends). I had been feeling the need for Bible Study since I have been away from the Seventh-day Adventists, and as soon as I wrote this in a letter to my sister, the Crossroads meeting was announced. Well, put the need out there....

Some (about half, perhaps) of the Conservative Friends are also "Plain Friends" -- they dress similarly to the Amish or Old Order Mennonites as a testimony to simplicity. Yet they drive cars and have electricity in their homes. Conservative Friends differ from Liberal Friends (Friends General Conference) in their Christocentrism and more devoted study of the Bible. Like Liberal Friends, they have silent meetings for worship, waiting upon the movement of Christ through the Holy Spirit for spoken ministry. As a "convergent" Friend, I found much joy in this meeting of F/friends. As they meet in Flint, I may not be able to be present with them often.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Received permission from one prof emeritus, one current prof, and a layperson to have their names listed as contacts (to supply positive comments later that could be used for publicity purposes). This was what I needed to finish & send the 1st publisher proposal! Now I have to wait until I hear back from them, as they do not accept simultaneous submissions. Then I'll send out other proposals en masse.

Am almost finished with a 2nd proposal.

If this book is supposed to be published, I suspect it will happen, despite the economy, this being my 1st book, etc. I am doing all of the work I can to make an excellent manuscript and well-done proposals to the right publishers. The rest is up to the Spirit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

IL reflection Q's for teaching

Just read the following article, which had some great ideas for facilitating critical thinking & reflection in information literacy. It's important to allow the students to answer the questions, not to jump in & answer them yourself as the instructor.

Wallace, Amy. "Information Literacy Instruction: Beyond Measurable Outcomes." LOEX Quarterly. Volume 35(2). (Summer 2008)

"As librarians that facilitate learning, we need to think about the questions we ask students, how we react to the answers, and reflect on who answers them. I believe that there are some fundamental questions, not dependent on discipline or level, which can help with reflection" (8). ...
  • "...who has a stake in the information you are seeking? This question gets people thinking about how information is produced, housed,controlled, and then of course why there is not yet a one-stop shop to efficiently locate information.
  • would you describe the perfect piece(s) of information you are seeking? This will help people think about how they might go about evaluating format, relevance, and content along the way instead of finding unrelated items and trying to make things work" (9).
Wallace also gives some reflection questions for teaching plagiarism, including this last, "Ultimately, the students are asked to consider what happens if the stated author is not really the author." E.g., what if one world leader wrote the article instead of another; what if a team or writers was responsible rather than one person; & unasked but understood: how would your prof feel if you submit work that you didn't write (10)?

Monday, February 9, 2009


Almost finished with the proposal for the one publisher I chose which does not accept simultaneous submissions. My plan is to send this one 1st as it has a very short response time, then to send the proposals for those that accept simultaneous submissions all at once. I wrote the summary, description, Table of Contents, & author description, & had a Baptist layperson read it. She said she would be interested in reading the book based on the proposal. Finished the section which asks for a list of similar books already in print by the publisher & its affiliates and an explanation of how mine will differ from them and, more importantly, improve on them. Wrote to 4 faculty colleagues asking if they would be willing to either have me list their name as a possible contact or supply positive comments that could be used for publicity purposes (1 said he’d rather not as he has several projects going; 1 asked for the mss; 2 have not yet responded). Filled out the section on the readership(s)/audience/s I envisage for the book, and courses for which the book may be suitable.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Removed the last email quotation as it wasn’t really necessary and reworked manuscript without it. Explained why the 7th day Sabbath is important. Finished putting bibliography into RefWorks and produced Works Cited list for manuscript.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Florida trip

The "travelogue:"
We drove to Kentucky on Jan. 6, stopped for dinner in Louisville at a place called Lynn’s Paradise CafĂ©, recommended by a “Road Food” book lent to us by friends—the best food on the trip, especially the delicious fried apples—& then drove a couple more hours to stay the night in Cave City. On the 7th, we spend the day at Mammoth Cave. On the morning tour, we had the ranger to ourselves, so we could ask all of the questions we wanted & go at our own pace, which was great! We learned a lot of history about the cave. In the afternoon, we were in a fairly large group, so not as fun, yet the rock formations & colors were so much more interesting--& we saw cave crickets & hibernating bats.

On Jan. 8, we drove to Montgomery, AL. We drove around the capitol area that night & I found it an odd juxtaposition of Confederacy & Civil Rights history. We ate dinner at another place recommended by the book—pretty good food—a ton of it—but the people were definitely not-so-friendly. The next day at the rest stop in Huntsville, AL, I saw a real rocket, Saturn 1B. On the 9th, we finished the 1st leg of the trip & arrived at Panama City, FL. It took us several tries & phone calls to get to Amy’s sister Lori’s house—it’s really out in the boonies. But it is in a really pretty area, & she has palm trees in her yard & other tropical Florida trees like live oaks & long-leaf pines. Amy & her mom both made a huge effort not to drive each other crazy & mostly succeeded. Lori & I hit it off, had some good walks & talks together. On the lake near their house I saw a lot of coots nesting. We went to Tallahassee one day to have lunch with Lori & Pete's son Ben, & then watched his baseball practice. He is a starting pitcher for Florida State & has a unique pitching style, almost underhanded, aptly named the “submarine.” We also walked around the old state capitol building since we were there & had a few minutes (more history lessons). Another day we went to the beach & felt the soft, ultra-white “sugar sand.” Also ate something I’d wanted to try for years—boiled peanuts—you put the whole shell in your mouth & bite it—hot salty brine, then scoop out the soft peanuts with your teeth—messy & very delicious! I ate them through the trip until I was sick of them.

We started the next leg of the trip on Jan. 14 by going to the center of the state to a town called Lake Wales, where some Quaker friends stay for the winter. They had invited us to stay in their camper—it was really tight quarters but ok for one night. We saw several sandhill cranes. Our friends took us to the Bok Tower carillon & gardens the next day—on the highest point in Florida at a whopping 284 feet above sea level. I learned a lot about carillons--they have the largest collection of books about carillons in the country, which GVSU's carillonist Julianne Vanden Wyngaard had told me. The gardens & walking trails were beautiful & reminded me of Australia. The lush tropical plants & then the dry desert with scrubby trees, cacti, & lizards. Late that afternoon, we drove down to a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Weston, to stay with Amy’s ex-brother-in-law & his wife. The road there went along miles of sugar cane fields—I’d never seen it flowering before & it just looks like tallgrass. Had a nice visit with the Proni’s and then went to the Everglades on the 16th. Oh wow. We went to the Royal Palm station & saw alligators galore (from the safety of a boardwalk), some as close as 5 feet or so. They are so prehistoric. And we saw amazing birds, new to me, like the Anhinga (& nestlings), white ibis, snowy egret, wood stork, tri-colored heron, little blue heron, green-backed heron…. Also saw many cormorants & great blue herons up-close-and-personal. Then we drove down the Keys to our other Quaker friends from Holland, who are staying on Big Pine Key. What a ride, from island to island, over the 7-mile bridge with only miles of water on either side, seeing the train trestle which was destroyed by the 1935 hurricane so that huge chunks are missing from it, seeing the little mangrove trees which seem to sprout in the water & create new little keys from themselves. On Big Pine, there are tiny deer called Key Deer, which wander around in people’s yards. They have been there since at least 1575 & are small because of their environment—they’re a variation of our big white-tailed deer. There were many brown pelicans everywhere. On the 18th, we took a ride in a glass-bottomed boat to the Florida Atlantic Reef, but when I tried to look down through the glass bottom at the fish & reef, urp, I felt very seasick & had to go back up on deck to look at the horizon. Once we got going again & the wind was in my face, I was fine. But I surely didn’t feel well for awhile. Amy said my face went white then green. I did see a few pretty fish, and then a ballyhoo when on deck. That fish went flying by us like an arrow skipping over the water! We also had another 1st in birdwatching--a brown booby (really!).

One oddity in Key West at the public library was the sheriff who worked at the Circulation Desk. Made me wonder why....

We had perfect weather, colder than I had expected. Even with 70 sunscreen every day, I got a little tan. I saw billions & billions of stars at night, more than I think I’ve ever seen before. Orion was especially bright, but the dippers were so low on the horizon they weren't visible most nights.

On the way home, we stopped at Rock City ("See Rock City!"), where there are paths through the huge limestone boulders (as big as houses), & some of the paths were very narrow tunnels so that Amy was scared of getting stuck. But it was beautiful, despite the hokey gnomes & piped-in music. We also stopped at the Kentucky Derby Museum for an hour, which was long enough to see the exhibits & have a tour of the grounds. No horses since they are all in California or Florida training! I had Amy take a picture of me on a horse (statue) in the starting gate. I also tried sitting in the saddle in the jockey position for the 2 minutes it takes for a race but my thigh muscles wimped out so I lost the race.

Got a lot done on the sabbatical project while there. Good to have a laptop & wifi in many places!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

sick day

I came down with a cold last week Wednesday & thought that I was all better yesterday. Woke up this morning feeling rotten--blew my nose for an hour & a half, then took some cold medicine & went back to bed. Finished reading 2 novels I was in the middle of--one a story I will give to a young friend who is 13, Time of the Eagle: A Story of an Ojibwe Winter by Stephanie Golightly Lowden, about a 13-year-old Ojibwe girl in the 1870's after smallpox wiped out her family band. The 2nd was also a YA novel, Blown Away! by Joan Hiatt Harlow. This told the story of a 13-year-old boy living in Islamadora in the Florida Keys during 1935 & the horrific hurricane. It was very moving since I was there & saw the devastation--the railroad bridge with huge chunks missing, & drove on the highway they had been in the middle of constructing. It gave me a good feel for that period of history of the Keys. Now time to return to bed.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Went through the manuscript & removed all named persons from whom I do not intend to seek permission to quote. Added to both introduction and conclusion to address more of Reader C’s comments/questions: Explain more about Quaker beliefs & how they resonate with me, and then, if this is home, why are SDAs drawing me? Why is confusion valid—why is being Quaker not enough? How to reconcile Quaker discussion on all days holy versus 7th day? The journaling was a response to the call from God but the book is how to communicate the lessons learned. Why am I being compelled to speak right now—what am I trying to tell people: The point is that “live & let live” or tolerance, is not enough; have to seriously grapple with each other’s beliefs & move to love and acceptance even of differences & uniquenesses.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Created an Acknowledgments page & added material to the introduction to reply to Reader C’s comment: “Add more about the challenges and frustrations of living in these times, giving a little more body to the person/location from which I have dialog and journey with the Friends and SDAs.” Also started working on the 1st publisher's Proposal form.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Working on “close editing” to remove any reference to GVSU, Library, or work in the manuscript, based on Reader B’s recommendation. Slow going.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Talked with a faculty member (who has had books published) to discuss the publishing process. She advised me to simply submit proposals to publishers without adding more “framework” in to the manuscript, and to stick with my vision of the book in journal/diary form, not to re-write it in chapters or essays. Also advised me to take suggested changes from publisher editors/readers.