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From Joan Enders....
1. If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
a. I wish that my husband would be cancer-free. We are blessed that he responds
well to treatment but this pesky cancer likes to reappear. He had checkups every
b. Now to the absurd: I wish that a modern master bathroom with one of the clever
automatic toilets would suddenly appear in my house.
c. I wish to find my organization again. It went on the lam about 4 years ago and
has not returned.
2. Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal work/writing environment?
a. My studio is on the hill overlooking the monastery and grounds created by Monk
Kevin at Glendalough, Wicklow, Ireland. Expansive windows overlook the
monastery, fields, rivers, sheep, and cemetery. My standing desk faces the
windows and it is laden with my large barreled pens, mechanical pencils, darling
little notebooks, and the voice-activated computer. Behind the computer is a stout
farm table for the littering of gestating piles of purposeful disorganization. An
efficiency fireplace, disguised with a Austin rock facade, is flanked by a chaise
for pondering and reading aloud. The heli-pad in back cuddles my helicopter with
which I swoop to The Giant's Causeway, Warwick Castle or Sterling Castle, or
the British Library for inspiration.
3. Where do you actually work/write?
a. I write and swivel between PC and MAC laptops with my back to our office
windows. My work oozes out to the dining room table. Now it holds my
ShotBox for photographing old photographs and objects to preserve for a learning
4. Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
a. Hum... I would say detail-driven, mostly organized, make-up- is-me, and dry wit is
the only wit. Actually, I feel generosity has nothing to do with wealth; that
anything is fodder for humor; that work is worth doing well; 85% of life is just
showing up; and anything worth teaching can be explained simply.
5. What inspired your book?
a. High school social studies teachers were required to expose their students to
primary sources. I created an inquiry experience for their students so that they
would use primary sources like a historian would to interpret, analyze and create a
life story about the subject. They loved it. Friends found out and wanted me to
share the activity with them. They loved it. When I no longer taught at the school,
the teachers imploded over losing me. (Blush). Concerned, I pondered what to
do and the book was born as a consolation prize! Ironically, the book has many
more primary documents than had been used in the class. A reader has the time
(and not the assignment) to ponder each chapter.
6. How do you spend your free time?
a. I quilted a quilt for all members of our family. Based on the patterns and plethora
of fabrics on hand, I see a second quilt in their futures. I love to travel and cruise.
I love other people's cooking.
7. What do you love most in the world?
a. I love my family most, but I do luxuriate in quiet time.
8. What do you fear most?
a. Liver. It is disgusting and looks like the blob that conquered planet Earth.
9. What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?
a. To visit every LDS temple and to visit every National Park. We have two lists,
and we are checking them off.
10. What is the hardest thing you've ever done?
a. Cataloging class. I circled the dining room table suffocated with my cataloging
books and AACR2 bible, crying as I considered the thousands of pages of
controlled vocabulary and cataloging rules I was to master. My husband walked
in and said, "If it is that hard, just quit." I started reading and working.
11. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
a. No one else could share this information. It was my job to do. Likewise, no one
else had my vision of this book.
12. What is your favorite part of writing?
a. I enjoy researching background information and the historic milieu of the times.
People make history and are shaped by it.
13. Do you have any advice for other writers?
a. My BBF and writer, Charlotte, gave me a little origami chair with "Button Chair"
on the back and a little white button on the seat. It is my writing totem to remind
me that if I am going to write, I had better plant the tush in the chair and get to
14. What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
a. Feeling worthy of writing was numero uno. I haven't the word-smithing skills of
someone who majored in creative writing. Once I saw the book's proof that I
realized that I could do this! My vision of the book was clear and I was worthy to
write it. The second challenge was time management. Life obligations take pre-
eminent roles which is all the more reason for structuring your writing time to an
acceptable minimum. I like what another writer said: promise yourself an hour of
writing per day.
15. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From
your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's
yours. What's your story?
a. Mrs. Bewley was a fearsome English teacher. I realized how much when I looked
at my first sophomore English report card and only received a B for all my A
papers. When I questioned her she said, "Joan, you don't show enough leadership
skills." Whaaaaat does that have to do with English? I theorize that was her line
to get people into her Forensics class. Of course, I signed up. Anything for an A.
The beauty of Forensics was John Goldhammer, a senior to my junior, bright,
sarcastic, argumentative (good for debate). Heart of my heart, I ended up as his
debate partner and we won all our debates. All of us had excellent seasons that
year and we headed to the UPS tournament, crowding into Mrs. Bewley's car. I
ended up on the front bench beside her, mistress of the AM radio controls. Signals
were iffy after you left the SeaTac area yet had not quite reached the Portland
signals. The best station that we missed, our two entire days in Tacoma, was
KISN in Portland. It was THE station. As I failed tuning in a decent signal,
suggestions of which way to turn the dial chorused from the back seat. Distinctly
I heard John say, "Turn it to KISN, turn it to KISN." The distance was just too
great. How did I know? I had already tried that station. When the chorus took up
his request, I swiveled around and said, "John. We are too far away for KISN."
Silence. Choking laughter. Red face. Hopefully I turned quickly enough that the
chorus didn't see. Yah, right.