Since last Thursday, all my energy has gone into discovering guidelines in the Chicago Manual of Style, napping, checking compound words in the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, cookie munching, aiming for consistency as I copyedit a 488-page nonfiction manuscript spanning nearly two hundred years, drinking black tea liberally laced with skimmed milk, creating a style sheet, and tsk-tsking at the cats as they jangle the Christmas tree ornaments.
Christmas in my Stillwater, Minnesota, home ten years ago.
Note the T-shirt!
I had hoped to finish the project today. Tomorrow, I planned to begin reading and commenting on your blog postings. But ah, my friends, the best-laid plans of Dee Ready, the neighborhood cat lady, have gone astray. I’ve asked for and received an extra day beyond the deadline.
So today and tomorrow will be taken up with copyediting the last thirty pages, going back over the manuscript to check my notes, and composing an explanatory letter to the author with suggestions for design. Thursday I will sleep in and then do my final Christmas shopping. It will be Friday before I begin reading all you’ve posted since I began my final campaign to complete this project. I hope, in the days that follow, to read and comment on every posting I’ve missed.
Now a little more on the process of Dulcy’s book getting published between July 1991 and October 1992. Jane Meara, the editor, called in early January with the news that Crown had decided to add drawings to the book. The surprise left me speechless.
She knew that as a curriculum developer I often worked with designers who found artists for what I’d written. “Do you have any illustrators you’d like to recommend, Dee?” she asked.
“Do you need the answer right away?”
“No. Take a day or two.”
I immediately called my favorite designer. She knew Dulcy. She also knew many artists and their styles. “What about my sister?” she asked. “She’s great with animals.”
I’d never before worked with her sister. “Do you have any samples of her work?”
The next day, she showed me her sister’s art. I saw immediately that Judy King had the unique ability to capture the essence of cat. I gave Judy’s phone number to Jane Meara and left the rest to the Universe.
In the months that followed, Jane sent me the rough art Judy submitted. All but one of the illustrations pleased me mightily. That one portrayed Dulcy glowering. She looked mean.
Dulcy was never mean. When Judy heard my reservations, she assured Jane that fixing those eyes would take but a few extra strokes of the pen. And so it was done.
Finally, Jane sent me copies of Judy’s final art. I found myself in awe of her talent. Her inspired cover beckoned readers with its jeweled hues.
Dulcy lies on the red Persian carpet—from Sears—
that covered the floor of the dining room.
She’s grooming her white fur.
I will always be grateful to Judy for her significant contribution to A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. Her art enhances the book. Since its publication, she and I have become good friends. Another gift from Dulcy.
(Continued on Thursday . . . )