Thursday, July 23, 2015

Judy's Stew--Writing, Grandmothering, and a Dash of Texas

As I begin this year of dedicated blogging, I thought it appropriate to reprint the first post I ever wrote. A lot has changed: I've been retired since July 2010; I have seven grandchildren; I have published nine mysteries, with plans for many more.  My world keeps moving on. But this is where I was nine years ago...and how Judy's Stew came about.
July 1, 2006
When Melanie, long known as my fifth child though she’s married to my third child, suggested I needed a blog, I scoffed. I knew little about blogs and, as I told her, had nothing to contribute. “Jude,” she exploded, “you have lots to write about.” So I began to explore, the idea intriguing me more and more. There are things I want to talk about, things on which I’d like feedback, things I wish I could talk over with someone who shares the same outlook and frustrations as a writer. And then she came with that wonderful title that reflects all the things that fill my life--writing, my grandchildren, cooking, and Texas history. So this is for Melanie . . . and for me.
I am just shy of sixty-eight, the grandmother of five and a half children, the mother of four. Those are my most important roles, but I’m also the author of about sixty published books, though I always demur and add the qualifier that the majority were slim books written for third- or fourth-graders on assignment. Still they took research and work. And I've written fiction for adults and young adults, articles, essays, book reviews. Right now I do a monthly column on Texas Writers for the Dallas Morning New. In 2005, Western Writers of America honored me with their Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement, so the writing life has been good for me.

But writing doesn't support nor did it provide for raising four children as a single parent. For almost twenty years I've been the director of TCU (Texas Christian University) Press, a small academic press in Fort Worth, Texas--it's work that I love and so far, I refuse to really retire, though I've cut back. I also like to entertain and cook for guests (usually an experiment), and I'm a homeowner with a garden, a cat, and a dog, a churchgoer and a volunteer, and fortunate enough to have many many good friends.
So what are my concerns? How to be a good grandparent, how to be a good in-law, what to do about my writing career (which I'm always sure has stalled), what to do about global warming, how to improve the United States’ image abroad—a wide variety of things. And I love trading cooking tips and recipes. Sometimes I may show you pictures of my grandchildren (when I figure that out) and sometimes I may try out a prospective writing project. Who knows? Sometimes I may rant, but this is not an in-your-face blog.

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