News from Abbie’s Corner October 2016

Abbie-1

As I write this, it’s a beautiful Indian summer day in late September. The sun shines in a cloudless sky. Through my open front door, as I sprawl in my easy chair with my feet up, I hear the occasional car going by, dog barking, and a neighbor’s weed eater. Guitar music flows from my device’s speaker, courtesy of the public radio station in Billings, Montana, about 150 miles north of my home town of Sheridan, Wyoming. It’s 77 degrees, and the only thing that keeps me from writing outdoors is my tablet’s low battery.

By the way, I’m working with a new device, a BrailleNote Touch from Humanware. This is the world’s first Google-certified Braille tablet. I like this a lot better than my iPad. I don’t have to swipe, flick, double tap, or triple click. Although using the touch screen is an option, most functions can be performed with the Braille keyboard and thumb keys.

The down side is that it’s running an older version of Android, but most apps I’ve tried work pretty well, and the word processor is a lot better than other Braille note takers I’ve used. After I finish writing and proofreading this, I’ll upload it to Dropbox so I can access it on my computer, add finishing touches, and schedule it for posting. It’s nice not to be tied to my PC all the time.

Believe it or not, I’ve also been doing other things this month. On September 10th, Range Writers was pleased to have as a guest state poet laureate Eugene Gagliano. He did a wonderful presentation on character development and other aspects of writing. September 10th would have been our 11th wedding anniversary so I thought it only fitting that former poet laureate and dear friend Rose Hill read a poem she wrote for our wedding in memory of my late husband.

On September 17th, I attended a writing workshop in Buffalo, about 30 miles south of here. It was conducted by Lori Howe, University of Wyoming instructor and state humanities council road scholar. She gave us prompts and plenty of time to write and share our work. A poem I wrote during this time was posted here earlier.

On September 29th, I returned to Buffalo for a reception for Eugene Gagliano. Again, he did a great presentation where he talked about his life, read some of his work, and demonstrated some activities he does with children in the classroom. I had a great time.

Of course I’ve been busy singing as well. My group, Just Harmony, is working on Christmas music and already has several performances scheduled in December. On the 9th, I performed at Sugarland Ridge for a fall social. On the 27th, I sang at Westview for their monthly birthday party. I’ll be at Green House on October 4th and at Westview on the 25th. Sugarland Ridge has invited me back in November to do a reading and music in an attempt to promote my new book.

Speaking of which, I did a signing this month at Sheridan Stationery on the 24th and sold books in the lobby of the Sheridan Senior Center on the 27th. On October 8th, I’ll be part of a National Indie Author Day presentation at the library. I still have plenty of copies of My Ideal Partner to sell, and it’s also available online through Createspace, Amazon, Smashwords, and other sources.

Well, that’s all the news I have for now. Happy fall, everyone. I’ll be back next month with more news.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

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Wedding Song

abbie wedding

 

 

Our Wedding Picture

Eleven years ago today, a Saturday, Bill and I stood under an arch framed with flowers in my grandmother’s back yard and said our vows, not knowing that tragedy would strike in three short months. The following poem was written for our wedding by Rose Hill, a dear friend and Wyoming’s poet laureate from 2015-2016.

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Wedding Song for Abbie and Bill

 

Ring the bells! Dance and sing!

The band’s tuned up, the table spread.

The day of days is finally here.

Abbie and Bill are wed today.

 

From far and wide your friends are come

to offer gifts; advise the groom;

to eat and toast and kiss the bride,

to celebrate these solemn vows.

 

Beneath the gaiety and fun are prayers,

half-formed, heartfelt and deep,

that your love grows each passing year,

that you respect and cherish one another,

 

And as your love grows deeper, stronger,

your home becomes a peaceful haven,

a fort against the world’s demands

where you find joy together.

 

Ring the bells! Dance and sing!

We celebrate your love and marriage

and many anniversaries until

Abbie and Bill are wed fifty years today.

 

Rose Hill

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Of course it’s not our fiftieth anniversary, and we’ll never make it that far, but we had seven mostly happy years together, and that’s cause for celebration. To read our story, check out My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Visit my Facebook page.

 

 

Meet Wyoming’s Poet Laureate

Sheridan poet A. Rose Hill was appointed Wyoming’s seventh Poet Laureate by Governor Matt Mead on July 9, 2015. Her first duty was to read her poem “Song of Wyoming,” honoring Wyoming’s 125th anniversary of statehood. The program on the Capitol steps included Governor Mead, three former governors, and Wyoming’s two senators.

Rose has never published her own collection of poems, but her work has appeared in such publications as Leaning into the Wind and Woven on the Wind. She’s a great-grandmother, bookkeeper, housewife, historian, and former maid.

I first met Rose over 10 years ago when she called to let me know that an essay I sent to a contest sponsored by Range Writers won second place. She invited me to join the group which I did. We developed a friendship, traveling to workshops and conferences, spending many nights in motel rooms, sometimes in the same bed. She accompanied me to events where I promoted my books and supported my writing in other ways. Through the years, I got to know her and her poetry.

Rose was born on a farm near Cainsville, Missouri, September 7, 1931, and came to Sheridan with her mother and three sisters in the spring of 1947 several years after her father died. She worked as a maid at the historic Trail’s End mansion from 1947 to 1949 and graduated from Sheridan High School in 1949. She was a telephone operator, clerk, and teller for Mountain Bell from 1951 to 1959. Rose began her writing career for the Ocksheperida, Sheridan High School’s newspaper, and later edited a newsletter at Sheridan College. She earned an AA degree in accounting after her husband Gail started Ace Radiator which is now her son’s business. She has kept books for the business since it began in 1959.

She met Gail in the fall of 1948, and they married on September 4, 1949, three days before she turned eighteen. They adopted two boys and a girl. Their younger son died in 2001 of cancer. Gail died on Christmas Day, 2013. Rose has six grandchildren and two great grandchildren with a third on the way. She enjoys reading, singing in a church choir, taking care of her youngest granddaughter, spending time with family, and keeping a journal.

Rose and Petunias
Rose and Petunias

Wanting readers to see what she sees and feel what she feels, Rose puts poetic ideas in understandable form, using as few words as necessary without being obscure. She doesn’t usually write rhymed, metered poetry because she finds it too restricting.
My favorite poem of hers is “Grandma Tol’ Me.” When I asked her, she said, “My grandmother did indeed inspire that poem. She had a way of chuckling when things were a little tense. I asked her once how she could smile in the face of difficulties. She told me, “If I weren’t smiling, I’d be crying.”
Rose says she was utterly astonished upon receiving a phone call from the Governor inviting her to become Wyoming’s next Poet Laureate. During her term, sponsored in part by the Wyoming Arts Council, she wants to celebrate the arts and make the public aware of all Wyoming artists, encourage the preservation of Wyoming’s history and the improvement of writing education in schools, make the arts more economically possible for artists including all writers, and encourage innovation in all of Wyoming’s arts community. To move forward with her agenda, she plans to meet with as many of Wyoming’s writing groups as possible and visit classrooms in schools around the state.
Rose is a member of Wyoming Writers, WyoPoets, Sheridan’s Range Writers, and Third Thursday Poets, all groups to which I belong. To learn more and read “Grandma Tol’ Me,” visit http://www.wyopoets.org/featured-members/a-rose .

 

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

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