Make us late for deadline? Me? Never! 2015.12.16


Late Sunday night, I finished a letter I’ve been writing to author Barbara Kingsolver, asking her to come to our library in conjunction with a new program in the county, Lenawee Reads. This is probably the first-ever One Book, One Community reading program that county librarians have planned and it would be ever-so-lovely to have Kingsolver come speak. 

We’re inviting everyone in the county to read Kingsolver’s book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of food life,” and there will be many events planned at county libraries in conjunction with the book, which chronicles the Kingsolver family’s year long experience of eating only locally-grown food.

My letter to Kingsolver is as long as a column, but I have yet to start writing my column. This has David worried.

“You aren’t going to make us late, are you?” he asks.

He says that every week—or at least every other week.

I maintain that he’s the reason we’re always late since he’s usually writing sports stories right up until deadline, 3 p.m. He doesn’t leave much time for us to proofread and make corrections. He’s always amazed if the pages haven’t been sent to the printer three seconds after he declares a page ready.

Kim and I are methodical. When the page is printed, we check that corrections have been made, and make them if they haven’t been—and then make sure the corrections have been made correctly. It’s Kim who does the lion’s share of this work—and she catches all kinds of mistakes. 

But I’m sure you find more as you read the paper. It is utterly amazing to me how three people (I’m counting Rich here, too) can read what one person has written and still, something really simple can be missed. It’s like sweeping the floor—three people could do it, one right after the other, and still there will be a crumb somewhere that got missed.

Back to the point, which is: I shouldn’t be writing to Barbara Kingsolver on a Sunday night when I should be writing my column. David is right; I’m going to be the reason we’re late in meeting our deadline. Because, here I am at noon, three hours before deadline, still not done with my column and he’s going to be coming home with copy for me to read and pages for me to proof.

Still, I can’t stop fussing with the Kingsolver letter and checking my e-mail to see if my son-in-law’s Berea College-employee mother or well-connected stepfather has responded to a do-your-people-know-her-people request to get in touch with her. (Liz, I’ve already pretty much promised her you would make something delectable like Sour Cream Chicken and Zingerman’s Brownies.)

I remember trying to contact Bruce Springsteen to kick off the Barn to Run 5K run organized by Brad Whitehouse and Gene Momyer back in 2004 as part of the activities planned in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s “Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon” exhibit the library hosted. I really wanted Springsteen to come sing “Born to Run” at the start of the race, certain he would be game to change the lyrics to, “Baby, we were BARN to run!” 

I wrote about it in a September 2004 column.

...I don’t know why I’m so dogged about getting Bruce to come. My family, 15-year-old Maddy in particular, is losing patience with my drive. Witness this particular conversation.

"Somebody said Ned Vizzini is coming again and they're raising money..." Maddy began.

"Yeah, he's staying at the Hardy’s bed and breakfast," I interrupted.

"Why doesn't he just stay at Pat Dister's?" she wondered.

"Bruce Springsteen is staying there," I explained.

"Mom!" Maddy said, in a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee voice, "He isn't coming!"

"Yes, he is," I countered.

"No, he's not," she said, shaking her head, incredulous that I still believe Bruce Springsteen would come to Morenci to sing “Barn” to Run for the 5K Barn to Run road race on Oct. 23.

"I think you should work on the look-alike contest," she advised. "Get a guy who looks like him and he can lip sync while you play a CD of the music.”

Well, Maddie was right about that. Looks like it might be time to organize a Barbara Kingsolver look-alike contest.