Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Inspired Artist

Those of you who commented on my Saturday posting have looked in vain for any response from me. The truth? I’ve gotten behind in the copyediting project.
            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?”
            “I do.”
            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 . . . )


  1. I can hardly wait for my copy to arrive. I guess the holiday has caused it to be delayed. You brought back such memories of my days as an editor. How many times have I perused the Chicago Manual of Style! Glad those days are behind me; I don't envy you the task.

  2. I'll finish the editing job for you. All I want is one million dollars and an airplane with a good-looking pilot who will take me anywhere I want to go -- even the mile high club.


  3. Love it! Ask and you shall receive.

  4. Do whatever you have to do--WE'LL WAIT!!!

  5. Editing sucks! I love the art work in your book. It's so cleverly done.

  6. Dee, right now it is me catching up on your past few blogs, and enjoying every moment of it. Thank you for the insight in getting this book published and in how the illustrator came about.

    Best of luck and patience and strength as you finish the editing of the manuscript, Dee. The rest will come - all in good time, I like to say.

    Blessings to you.

  7. I really like the cover of your book. It looks purr-fect!

  8. The artwork is really wonderful. And becoming friends with the artist is truly another gift from Dulcy. ;)

    Good luck with the editing, shopping, and sleeping!! We'll be here whenever you get back. I have noticed a lot of bloggers have taken time off from blogging over the holidays anyways. No problem. See you when you get back! Have a wonderful Christmas!! :):)

  9. You have a very busy schedule with a big deadline at the busiest time of year! Whew! It will feel so good to complete the task. I enjoyed reading more about the publishing aspect of this wonderful book. Debra

  10. Dee, it's so great that you were able to speak up about that one picture that didn't work for for you and that it all worked out so wonderfully. I love the cover and am looking forward very much to receiving my copy!

  11. Dee, I don't know how you have time even to blog, let alone read and comment with such a big project to finish. Do what you have to and we'll be here when you're done.

    How lovely to have found such a talented artist for Dulcy's book. That must have meant so much to you.

  12. Oh Dee,
    I so feel your pain.
    I'm not editing but doing about everything else and glad to hear I am not alone.
    Loved your post though and of course the story of how Dulcy's pictures came to be.
    I will be reading it within the next two weeks and can NOT wait!

  13. You and Judy are both so talented. I think it was truly meant to be that the two of you would work together to make Dulcy's book. So phenomenal :0) I'm very blessed to know you!

  14. DJan,
    So, you are a copyeditor also. Attention to detail is difficult for me. So when I copyedit, the concentration always has me dreaming of inserting commas in imaginary manuscripts. I wake from those nightly dreams exhausted! Has this ever happened to you?

    Thanks for the offer! But the money and the plane--and the pilot--don't come with the job! Too bad!

    Yes. Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be open unto you. The Universe does take care of us.

    Thank you for your support. I count on it.

    Yes, Judy is a truly gifted illustrator. And a wonderful friend.

  15. Penny,
    Yes, all is good time. I like that. I just feel blessed that I have a talent I can still use. It's like all the talent Rita shows on her blog.

    Yes! Purr-fect! Dulcy was as sweet as Judy King drew her.

    I finally got to your blog today and caught up. Your art work is inspiring.

    Yes, the deadline comes at the worst of times and yet at the best of times also for it will help me return to Minnesota.

    The cover is so lovely. Judy truly captured the spirit of Dulcy.

  16. Perpetua,
    Writing the posts keeps me sane! And yes, Judy did a wonderful job. And we have become such good friends. Another gift.

    Dulcy's book will be there waiting for you whenever you can get to it. Your life does seem so busy to me. You do so much good for fellow writers. Thank you.

    And I am blessed to know you.