My travels to South America were fantastic! I spent a week and a half in Buenos Aires, Argentina working at the Lincoln International School. This was my third time there, and it was great to work with the staff once again. Everyone is hardworking and very interested in doing their best for the sake of the kids. I got to work with students as well, and found them to be as curious and engaging as I remember.

After leaving Argentina, we (the First Lady and I) stopped by Peru for our first visit ever, and found it to be rich in culture, color, and friendly people. A trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu were the highlights. Machu Picchu is the remains of an ancient community high in the Andes Mountains. It is amazing to see how the Incas lived in the 1400 and 1500s, their incredible building skills and innovative approaches such as the intricate water system that flowed through the community. We were transfixed by the power and the great presence of this world wonder.

Back at the ranch now and getting back into what I had left, most especially my A.C. Gilbert book. Mary Ann, the artist, and I are doing the final, final details on the layout. Despite the great number of times I've gone over the word and pictures, I am still interested and excited about what this book presents.

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link
The tide is rising. Have been working hard to get ready for a journey to Argentina, to work with my friends at Lincoln School in Buenos Aires. It will be a grand time, with lots of collegiality. These trips are truly worth the preparation efforts. I always come back knowing something I didn't when I started. This time will be no different!

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link

Okay, that worked. Now I can get down to the latest. It's been a busy summer, working with the artist on the AC Gilbert book, polishing the gum book so I can get it to several agents who showed interest, trying to fend off other book ideas that would take my attention off of the work that needs to be done. It's a balancing act, for sure, but it's (mostly) an interesting challenge.

In July, I spent 10 days on the east coast attending a seminar on Lincoln in Gettysburg. Immersed in the topic, I'm sure you know what happened. That's right, book ideas. I even made a contact who may just well provide a forum for the works I create. Can't dwell on that now, though; got to finish up the stuff that's started.

Writing consultations are heating up now. Tomorrow I'll be traveling to San Antonio to do some Traits work with teachers. In a few weeks I'll do Writing Across the Curriculum with the secondary teachers in Lebanon (OR), then next month a week with teachers in Buenos Aires. I'm looking forward to it all.

Another UO online class just wound up, and I'm feeling more comfortable with that venue. Will be designing another such course, but not right away. A higher priority is to upgrade this website / blog, so don't be surprised if it appears different. Soon.

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link

Have been having some issues about getting things posted here. My last four or five went...elsewhere. So, I'm doing this test to see if maybe I'm closing out too soon.

We'll see...

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link
It Ain't Over Til It's Over 

Just when I got the gum book to where I want it, I have another thought - a different format and layout. So, guess what I'm doing now? That's right, redoing it. Again...
Maybe it will work better, maybe not. We won't know til we see it.

I need a rest from all this. That's why I'm headed to the Oregon Coast. Some cool weather, some waves, some distance.

Then, on we go...

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link

Still working on the gum book. An interested publisher requested I do it as a picture book, so that's what I've been doing. As usual, I check out other books to see how other authors have formatted. There certainly is no ONE WAY. Which is good; otherwise all Realia (nonfiction) would look the same. Boring!

This site will be changed this summer sometime. I'm in the process of rethinking my public approach to writing and the consultant work I do, and I want my site to reflect both as well as possible. But first, I need to have a clear focus on what I want. It never ceases to amaze me how often I pursue things before I even decide that I really want them. Although, it can easily be said that working at something helps provide you with the insight of whether you do, indeed, want it.

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link
I think I’m in trouble. Big trouble. A writer’s lifeline is the U.S. Postal Service. That’s how we send our queries and, if we’re good and if we’re lucky, our completed manuscripts to an editor who has shown interest. If we’re really good and if we’re super lucky and our manuscripts get accepted, it’s the mail service that carries the edited and revised copies back and forth, then the final copies for review before printing. And when the books get sold and royalties are earned, it’s that small silver palace that safely holds the checks until I open it with my key.

Yesterday I wandered out to my mailbox, hoping for some good news. The mail truck idled next to the multi-family box and the pith helmeted mailman dealt mail into the slots like dealer at a blackjack table. Talk radio blared from the truck, and I recognized the voice of reaction and misplaced passion: Sean Hannity.

“What kind of lies is he spreading today?” I asked the mailman.

He finished dealing mail, slammed the box shut, and glared at me. “None,” he said, then drove off.

Yep, I think I’m in trouble.

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link
June 9, 1951 

On this day at 5 p.m., 59 years ago, I entered the world in a Millville, New Jersey hospital. I am reminded of the thoughts I had when I was in my twenties that I could "never imagine myself being 30 years old." I still can't!

I'll spend this day doing my favorite things: spending time with my special lady, exercising, watching squirrels out the window, and, of course, writing.

Make June 9 a special day for yourselves, too. And June 10 and June 11...

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link
Picture book? 

Another publisher contacted me and would like to look at this book in picture book format. Would I be interested in submitting such?

YES! This book would is perfect picture book material.

Get to work, Robert!

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link
Wuz Up? 

So, I'm working on the revised edition of my gum book (The Chewing Gum Book) done in 1989. The book is going to be shorter, clippier (try to find that in your dictionary!), and be more varied in its visual aspect (FWI - I was very disappointed in the number and quality of the illustrations in the original book). The challenge, or course, is including the most appealing information while leaving out the rest. This is easier said than done, unless you don't want to limit pages. Me to publisher: "Yes, the book I want you to publish has no page count." Publisher to me: "Sounds good, Robert." Yeah, right!

I have been working with a major gum company, from which I hope to get high-quality photos. The problem is that my request has to go up the "chain-of-command" for approval. For many companies, such photos would be considered proprietary, meaning that you're not going to get permission to use them. This seems a bit curious to me. What secrets would the photos give away? The formula for making the gum? Top-secret equipment? Special techniques? You know, you can watch real-live footage of bubble gum being made on U-Tube.

Haven't heard back from the gum company after several follow-up inquiries regarding my request but I'm not losing faith that they will come through. In fact, I think I'll give them another ring this morning.

Happy day to all!

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link