My Life: A Condensed Version
• I carry two homes in my heart: southeast Missouri (the bootheel), where I was born and grew up and Central Oklahoma, where I have lived for the past 39 years.
• I graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in Magazine Journalism and the University of Oklahoma with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science.
• My husband, Tom, and I have six children (plus three spouses), 12 grandchildren (with new spouses being added) and one great-grandchild.
• I am blessed with an enormous extended family with numerous branches (including more than 60 first cousins).
• I enjoy reading, writing, and exploring family history.
• My reading preferences include southern fiction; books about family relationships and friendships; books with connections to Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas; memoir and history. I do read outside my “preferences” and have discovered many wonderful books and authors through recommendations, award nominees and winners, and reading reviews.
Expanded Version (My Life as a Bookwoman)
I suppose that my journey to becoming a bookwoman began that day in first grade when I first opened my Dick and Jane reader. It wasn’t that I knew what to expect or to understand the rudiments of the story. I believe that I recognized that I held a certain magic in my hands. It was beyond what I had experienced at home, seeing my parents with their own books and magazines.
It was something that I recognized would be under my own control, once I mastered the skills I needed. I found in the following years that I could dive deeply into a book or swim in the shallows, I could read comedy or tragedy, I could travel near or far – the choice was mine. The sense of magic has remained — even expanded — as I have learned about story and the power and wonder it holds in our lives.
From that day to this, reading and books have been my companion, my solace and my touchstone. Here are a few of the life experiences that have brought me to my life today as one of the many, many bookwomen (and men) who share my passion and commitment to reading and books.
- I am a card-carrying (make that book-carrying) member of Ravenous Readers. Ravenous Readers is a most wonderful group of women (and an occasional man) who meet each month at the McLoud (Oklahoma) Library to share books, friendship, and food.
- Those words also describe my relationship with books – I read, read, read! I read books, books and more books, plus magazines, literary journals, newspapers, blogs, long-form internet content, any format you can think of.
- I worked in the world of books and reading for 25 years as a librarian for Pioneer Library System. My positions within the system gave me the opportunity to help our customers locate their next “best books”; oversee the selection of books and other materials for adults and young adults for the nine system branches.
- I also planned and/or presented hundreds of library programs for our customers, including storytimes, summer reading programs, book discussion groups, author visits, outreach to schools, senior citizen centers, community organizations; and participate in special events like Frontier Days, Native American festivals, and holiday galas.
- One of the most rewarding of the library special events was the Red Dirt Book Festival which drew more than a thousand participants and more than 100 authors over two days. I was honored to be the Program Chair twice and Festival Director twice and to work with the many Pioneer staff, donors and volunteers who made the festival possible.
- I had the privilege of serving on the board of the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book, broadening my knowledge and understanding of the importance of books and reading to our state.
- I served as a member of the “Let’s Talk About It” (state-wide read and discussion program) Advisory Board.
- I was honored to be a member of the Shawnee News-Star (newspaper) Editorial Advisory Board, which gave me the opportunity to promote the library through writing and speaking.
- I was able to combine my love of writing and reading through numerous published book reviews, editorials, and articles in support of libraries, books, authors and the publishing world.
- I provided a regular column, “The Reading Woman” to “She’s Ok!” Magazine.
- I value my membership in the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., the Oklahoma City Writers and the McLoud Area Writers and enjoy the relationships with authors and the opportunities to further develop my writing skills.
- A special focus in my life today is keeping personal and family memories through writing stories. I have begun writing my own and will be encouraging others to do so through my blog and other outlets.
- I continue to promote and share my love of books, reading and writing through social media and traditional means. This website is my effort to expand my efforts and bring people together to celebrate each other and what we hold dear.