Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Uh Oh


Above is a westward looking shot from the Islander, a Gwynns Island motel, restaurant and marina that used to be a wonderland. Those posts made up part of the marina until Hurricane Isabel decided she'd had just about enough of it.

The Islander is one of those places about which a book or a movie could be written, so much happened there. There are lots of places here in the county that have a story to tell, but unless someone tells the tale, the buildings will die and their stories along with them.

You probably don't realize this, but that was just a round about way of saying that life as I know it will soon be changing because I've signed a contract to do a book.

It has taken me several months weeks to be able to put those words down, but there, I said it. I've signed my life away. Officially and completely.

Once upon a time, Chesapeake Bay Woman tried to blog as a way of keeping her mind off one of the most horrendous times in her life. Blogging very successfully distracted her from real life, and she discovered that she liked her imaginary life in cyberworld taking pictures as well, even if she didn't know what a digital camera was how to use her digital camera.

Then one day, a publisher who stumbled upon her blog contacted her and asked if she'd be interested in doing a book on Mathews County. CBW jumped up and down for joy and spewed off all sorts of ideas for the book she wanted to write. The publisher was amused by encouraged by CBW's enthusiasm and sent her the paperwork for a proposal.

What CBW didn't realize at the time was the publisher had very strict specifications for the book, which is to be a pictorial history of Mathews County. There will be pairs of photographs: "Then" photos (which CBW must acquire and research) will be paired with "Now" photos, which CBW will take herself. Then 600 30-60 words explaining the historical significance of the photo pair must be provided.

Several hundred photos are needed, plus several thousand hours to research each one, and already CBW requires smelling salts just to finish typing this sentence because the amount of time this project will require is overwhelming.

Please listen to the Kenny G. elevator music while CBW revives herself.

There now. Where were we? Ah yes, any spare time I didn't have before will soon be even scarcer.

Did CBW mention that she already has a day job with a 100+ mile round trip commute? Did she mention she has school-aged children with very busy schedules? Did she mention she has a house and yard to maintain, a house loaded with insects and faulty electrical outlets? Did she mention that history isn't her thing and the prospect of having to do anything under any sort of a deadline causes her to contemplate a swan dive off the New Point Lighthouse?

Well, she meant to.

So, CBW received the proposal, which was thirty thousand many pages long, loaded with questions such as, "What positions of community leadership have you served?" (Crickets.)

"Are you a member of the local historical society?" (Really loud crickets.)

"What time span does your book cover, and what is your thematic focus?" (The crickets are howling with laughter now at the word "focus." Also, there's the sound of a crying woman's sniffles in the background. She'd say something now, except she's too distracted by something shiny.)

"Please write a one-page summary of at least 500 words of the proposed content of your book. Be sure to discuss the historical and cultural content of the book, little known historical facts associated with the area, people and places of special interest, and outstanding images you plan to include." (Crickets can't be heard any more due to sobs and whatever sounds accompany a woman in the midst of a panic attack.)

CBW was overwhelmed by the proposal and soon convinced herself there was no way she had the time or resources to devote to such an enormous (and important) project. However, she realized this was not an opportunity that came knocking every day, so she told herself she'd try to do the proposal to the best of her ability, even though she was in the middle of kids, school, spring sports, spring concerts, overdue bills, family emergencies, other emergencies, and a panic attack. She felt certain the proposal would not be accepted because she did not have the time or ability to focus on it at all! properly.

So she completed the proposal and sent it off, happy that she at least tried but confident that nothing would come of it.

Then, just before Memorial Day, she received an e-mail which said, "Mathews County Then and Now: Proposal Accepted!"

Then she fainted and hit her head so hard she hasn't been right since and has taken to wearing crab hats at island festivals.

The End.

p.s. I need the community's help in a big way. Anyone with any ties to Mathews: I need your old postcards, your old photos, old newspaper clippings - any old photographs of Mathews County sites such as schools, wharves, churches, the court house, the lighthouse, beaches, country stores, post offices, houses, plantations/estates - anything that would represent Mathews. If I use your photo--and I will-- you will be credited in the book. I will then take a current-day photo of the exact same place to place beside it.

p.s.again. Help!

28 comments:

Annie said...

Wow..you did it! And i was first to hear about it?

Amazing. I am so pleased for you. I always knew you would.

Congratulations CBW. I am sure you will have fun! Maybe you can have a workshop at blog fest where everyone comes armed with material, or else!

Or maybe not. Anyway you manage to get it together will be just great!

TSannie said...

This is just all kinds of wonderful! And you are up to the challenge!

I want the copy of my book autographed!

O for cryin' out loud - my WV is dined. "We dined on fabulous eats during VA blogfest." Too easy!

Anonymous said...

I'm excited for you! You will do a great job and I can't wait to see it. Let us know when the book signing is!!
Trinia

Pueblo girl said...

I AM SO PLEASED FOR YOU! Many, many congratulations. It will be hard work, but "sarna con gusto no pica", as they say over here. You're the perfect person for the job - you've been doing it here on the blog for ages already.
Oh, well done. This news will keep me smiling all day.

Ann Marie said...

i gots pictures...

Country Girl said...

This could be the start of something big. Will you take me when you go on Oprah?

I am so very excited for you!! Yeah, now about all that work . . . you can do it. You know you can.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Well, it's not like it has to be done by the end of July, right? You'll git 'er done. And congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I have a Box of pictures tho not as old as annie re but some are from Hubert!!! you are welcome to them!!!

KL

marta said...

Wow, that is just fabulous! I love your blog and I have loved Mathews since my teen years, so put me down for a signed copy now.

big hair envy said...

I'd love to be your manager...;) Congratulations, my friend! You are going places!!!

Mental P Mama said...

I have no doubts whatsoever about your ability to do this!! I want my signed copy, too!!! W00t! Next up: The Movie.

Linda said...

You're going to do GREAT! We'll all beable to say 'I read her blog before she wrote the book!' Now I'm really going to have to get to your Blog Fest!

Trisha said...

Congratulations on the book deal! I know it will be wonderful. Yes, it will be a lot of work but that is just the kind of stuff you like so much!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Oh you can do this! And I want a signed copy too! Go CBW!
<><
ps I'm emailing a picture right now!

Diane said...

I'm so happy for you. Even though your schedule is now in the crapper. You deserve all the accolades that are coming your way!

xoxo

See you in a couple weeks!

Daryl said...

YES!!! So glad you went ahead and did it ...

deborah said...

Wow!! This is awesome news! A celebrity! You can do this - you have an enormous talent and you enjoy researching Mathews history. It will be an amazing book.
Wow!!

Kaffy said...

What great news, CBW! I'm so proud and happy. I always imagined that one day you'd write a book. Bravo!

Kate said...

Yay!!! How exciting! Put me down for a book also! I'll have to go through my old pics and see if I have anything significant.

Anonymous said...

Good sources for old photos of Mathews: Sara Lewis' book (Arcadia Publishing, 2007); the Library of Virginia (in Richmond and online);the Gazette-Journal archives...congrats, I will look forward to the finished project.

foolery said...

I for one don't want a copy.

HA!

Of course I do. But no pressure or anything. I will e-mail you what I want inscribed on the title page. In blood, please.

But no pressure or anything.

You know what? Just pretend the whole thing was 100% your idea and no one wants you to do it and make sure to trespass CONSTANTLY to keep it fun. Then it'll be your baby.

The Ninja Book about Mathews.

You go, Cheeky. : )

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Thank you all so very much, I truly appreciate your words.

The whole thing is overwhelming. I sincerely appreciate any and all offers of photos, and come August when I start focusing on this project (ha! there's that word "focus" again), I will definitely want to make arrangements to see and discuss the photos anyone wishes to contribute.

This is a great opportunity for people around here to preserve images for posterity. Go up to your attics, pull out the old trunks and let's talk about getting them in the book. The sooner I know what the "then" photos are, the sooner I'll be able to photograph the same place for the "now" shots, preferably before the dull, drab colors of winter set back in.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your photographs!

Maria from NJ said...

Kudos! and well deserved

LOL, my WV is 'nocrab'- evidently they know I don't have one of those cool hats

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you! You will do a wonderful job. Just let me know where I send money to to get a signed copy.

Postcard Cindy

mom x 2 said...

Congrats CBW!!!! You can do it :)

Anonymous said...

As they say, good things come to good people :) Congrats! ...and now the work really begins!
SMBS

cats said...

I'll dig and see what I can come up with. You must take me to Dr. Phil when you go. Love some Dr. Phil.

MommyTime said...

I KNEW you should be working towards a book with this material! Congratulations!!! You deserve this. I'm so excited for you.