Betty and I met in cyberspace more than 10 years ago. She was just embarking on the first steps toward a career as a published author, and I was exploring the idea of writing fiction. Destiny landed us in the same online writer’s class. As we posted our assignments and participated in discussions, Betty and I connected on another level. Soon, we were emailing and phoning outside the group.
We continued to stay in touch after the class ended and had an opportunity to meet in person when Betty was in Nebraska for a reunion. At some point, we began to work together on the wonderful stories that became her first book, Dancing in My Nightgown. She would write a story, and I would suggest changes. The transition to a writer/editor relationship was as effortless as the friendship we had developed.
I’ve been editing for many years, and each experience is different. Working with Betty, however, wasn’t just different. It was special. The process reminded me of working with clay. The stories she created took on a life of their own, and I was privileged to help mold them into finished pieces. As we removed a blob from one place and added it in another spot, subtle details gradually took shape. We fine tuned and smoothed that clay until it became a work of art. Always, it was a labor of love.
Sometimes the process became heavy on the “labor” part. Translating life experiences into words can be hard work. That’s when silliness stepped in to lighten the load. If you’ve been reading Betty’s blog, you’ve sampled her delightful sense of humor. Fortunately, we found the same things funny. Most of it wouldn’t make anyone else laugh, but she and I found those exchanges hilarious! It could be a simple typo that completely changed the meaning of a sentence or a wacky idea that cleared the confusion when we ran OUT of ideas.
Eventually, the time came when each of her books was finalized and released to the publisher. Those were bittersweet moments for me. Excitement about the delicious possibilities for Betty had to share space with an awareness that our daily back-and-forth communication had come to an end.
That’s the nature of life, of course. Beginnings and endings tend to occur in pairs. Fortunately, endings are often transformations in disguise. Betty and I continue to work together on projects, and I celebrate her every well-deserved success. Other than Betty’s family members, I’m pretty sure I’m her biggest fan. She is a brilliant example that it’s never too late to become the person you were meant to be.
Sandi Corbitt-Sears, editor