Last night, on the way to the Trenton City Museum, my husband and I sort of got lost. In doing so, we got a grand tour of Trenton and met some nice residents, gas station attendants and two helpful police officers. During our winding tour, I appreciated the historic homes and a Capital city that was looking pretty good on a beautiful June evening.
What struck me about this little detour was the fact that we were traveling to an exhibit of a notable Trentonian, a woman named Harriet White Fisher, who in 1909 hopped in a Locombobile with her butler, maid, driver and dog named Honkie. She drove to New York City where the car was packed and shipped to Paris and from there the real thirteen-month long adventure began.
So, here we were lost in an urban center with a million signs and arrows and a GPS device that was not cooperating and we almost did not arrive at our destination. Can you imagine driving through unchartered roads of India and Japan over one-hundred years ago with no maps, gas stations, convenience stores? Harriet was most likely rolling her eyes from heaven above.
I felt pretty humbled by this experience. Humbled, too, because through the twists and turns of fate, my interest in this fantastic story led me to a friendship with Becky Urban, the granddaughter of Harold Brooks, the young man who did most of the international driving and through his talent for photography, captured some beautiful images of this revolutionary road trip. Becky, and her family, have opened up their lives to me and have shared so much. Becky is a former educator and created a display that honors her family and the journey. As an added bonus, Triple A (AAA) is the sponsor for this event that runs through late September (Hey, that’s when National Dog Week is observed) Love it!
And isn’t it convenient that there are some terrific Companion Animals included in this story? Honk Honk, who is described as a Boston Terrier (looks part pittie to moi) was her mascot, Billikens, a funny little monkey acquired in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and a little Japanese Chin (Spaniel) the royal dog of Japan, all made a safe journey back to the States!
Next week, I will be sending my Will Judy biography off to its publisher. Its writing has been such a life-changing experience for me. The trouble with documenting persons relatively unknown is the crushing responsibility it brings for being the first to document someone’s life and legacy. So, I will just tell myself that I have done my best and move on. This summer I will work diligently on Harriet’s story and plan to deliver to my publisher, David Kane at American History Press, by February of 2014.
In the coming months, I will let you all know how we are progressing on the Will Judy/National Dog Week publication date and look for the launching of a Social Media platform that will begin on July 17 of this year, the date that Harriet and Company drove over the cobblestones of Trenton and away to explore the world off beaten paths. It will be sort of like a “virtual” worldwide journey with some fun guests joining in along the way.
When I tell people I am an author, they usually tell me that they, or someone they know, is planning to (or has) written a book and asks for advice. I tell them to subscribe to magazines like Writer’s Digest (that’s how I began writing short stories), join writing groups, take courses to work on your craft, attend workshops and seiminars. It is not easy. I can’t even begin to tell you how many rejections I have received. But even in those instances, I have had the privilege to get feedback from some very talented people in the industry. On my “expansion list” are courses in screen writing and documentary production!
Most importantly, enjoy the process and the journey of your writing experiences. When traveling off the neatened path, you will create roads on your own; but buckle up, sometimes the ride gets bumpy. A special heartfelt dose of gratitude to all who have come to help me on my own journey.