Make Big Money Writing Short Paragraphs!

By John Baskin

It was the first (and probably last) annual Nowhere Else Writing Workshop competition in which I asked participants to write an impromptu paragraph of their day thus far; coming into Nowhere country, if you will. Fifty bucks for the best one. The surprise was that the Orange Frazer Press staffers couldn’t decide on just ONE paragraph, and chose three instead, while fretting mightily over another large handful of good impromptus. 

Marcy voted for Conrad Detwiler, in spite of the unsavory whiff of nepotism (one of the clan of Nowhere brothers).

“Made me laugh,” she said.

Good enough. 

Sarah liked Joules Evans, who said the festival was “like the yellow bus pulling up to your drive on the first day of school.” And there was Dave Fournier, who started out from Philly with Josh Ritter but soon abandoned him on the side of the turnpike.
“No traveling companion should expose the other so quickly,” he said, by way of explanation.

There were many nice lines. “As long as it doesn’t become the Somewhere Else Festival,” said Elizabeth Copas’s mother, taking note of the storm clouds on the way in. “My parents had risen at what I would guess was the Hour of Responsible People,” wrote Kelley Bell, and Ann Bell Worthy said that if you listened closely enough, you could hear the Nowhere grass growing. 

DeAnne LeBlanc, staving off a six-hour drive, complained of getting older, then watched her children stir awake and said, “I fill with joy that they will soon experience the beauty of music that I fell in love with when I was eighteen years old. Life, full circle.” 

And Kathy Jones: “The harmonies feed us.”

Dave Sheffield from somewhere in Ontario said, “Dear Ohio, you’ve exceeded my expectation…” And: “Thank you for your patience.”

Ohio IS a patient state, and our natural prose style is cautious, a bit sedate, but we tend to have good manners, even if it costs us. “If you’re looking for fun and do not particularly need wind, sand, or an ocean, come to Ohio,” our friend Laura Pulfer said once, suggesting a slogan. And among other things, we have Nowhere, which is more Somewhere than you’d first think. The workshop attendees seemed to think so. 

Here’s three good ones, among many good ones…

 

Joules Evans

It feels like Nowhere Else. Or maybe somewhere else? Some other time? Driving over the hills and through the woods—not to Grandma’s house. Butterflies. That’s what it feels like. Not the literal kind. The kind that do somersaults in your belly when you were seven years old and the yellow bus pulled up to your drive on the first day of school. That’s what driving to Nowhere Else feels like to me. Butterflies in my belly. The kind that try to escape but sit stuck in my throat on their way out when the teacher says, “Joules Evans?” Present. That’s what it feels like. Being here. It’s a gift. To be here. Here again. Still here. Here is like Nowhere Else.

 

Conrad Detweiler

Fourteen hours in a truck, plus tomatoes, plus five hours of sleep, plus a quad-espresso
X-hot cream equaled a seminar whose speaker said beforehand “…Don’t know; I make it up as I go along.”

 

Dave Fournier

An hour out of Philly, it was Josh Ritter. I was heading Nowhere with no one, and his easy Southern drawl seemed to be a good first companion. His stream of consciousness ramblings about memory, God, and love became a thin blue stream, flowing alongside and intermittently merging with my own flow of contemplation. Josh raised me to Zion and then crashed me suddenly back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike with the words “Only a full house gonna have a prayer.” He knew the house I was speeding away from was empty, and I hoped I might be heading towards some kind of prayer. No traveling companion should expose the other so quickly. I stopped and politely invited Josh out of the car. He sheepishly apologized but it was too late. He grew smaller and dimmer as I drove off down the midnight highway. My car was now filled with unbridled cowboys and cowgirls, and their incessant punning about their trucks, dogs, drink, and exes soon had me heading Nowhere in an easier fashion.

 

"Lilly & Tom" by John Baskin

As I watched the Super Bowl Sunday night, I kept thinking of my old friend Lilly, who’d left us five years ago at the age of 95. Lilly, with everything about her growing fragile except her Tom Brady/Patriots’ fandom, had been brought by her daughter Marcy from Sharon, Massachusetts, a few years before. And out here, she’d become an immigrant in a strange country filled with goyisher Bengals’ fans who, like some primitive and persecuted sect, persisted in their idolatry without any hope of salvation. Some of us speculated it caused her final decline, although in all likelihood, it was her secret trips to the deli for corned beef. 

But, my gosh, she would have been so happy Sunday night that she wouldn’t have complained about her puréed supper. (Her unimaginative servers, if they weren’t watched, might have puréed her place mat.) She would have done her little wheelchair dance with her friend Annie, and she would have slept the sleep of the blessed (which included all Patriots’ fans, an entire country watched over by Brady and providence).

She was coy about her own fandom, though. It was never the unabashed deification of the ordinary fan, rather it was something more subtle, a kind of knowingness, as though she’d had Tom over to her condo for tea, and he’d told her something about upcoming strategy that no one else knew but the two of them. Sometimes, it was simply an aunt’s pleasure at her barely understood nephew’s athleticism. Whatever form it took, it elevated her in the presence of the Bengalis, who lurked about in their tattered orange-striped rags, always banished off television just after the holidays. She never gloated, though. She simply knew

She’s back in Sharon now, at the memorial park, and close enough to the Patriots’ stadium to hear the faithful cheering on Sundays. What dedicated Brady fan could have wanted a better place?

Nice watching the game with you, Lilly; sorry about the corned beef…

Count the Seven Fruits of Israel: Before and After

One of our favorite parts of the publishing process is the joy of bringing a client's project to life. When our custom book client, Polly Jordan, came to us with her fun idea for a lift-the-flap children's board book, we were excited to do just that. In order to better explain her vision, Polly showed us her mock-up of Count the Seven Fruits of Israel, which she delicately made by hand out of cut paper. Working with her unique concept and colorful paper-cut illustrations, we were able to make her idea into a reality. Along with the creation of die-cut flaps, the client also desired the addition of a handle that would allow small children to carry the book along more easily. The following before and after images highlight this transformation process. 

Here you can see the mock-up cover on the left beside the final cover on the right. 


One can compare an interior spread from the initial mock-up with the finished product below. We take pride in quality manufacturing and materials, which were especially crucial in the function of the flaps, handles, and rounded corners. 


Here is a more detailed look at a flap, which opens to reveal the inside of the pomegranate.


This is another before-and-after look at a different spread. The integration of the glossary directly onto the background and the addition of a scroll behind the verse added interest to these pages. 

You can purchase Count the Seven Fruits of Israel on our store. Have a book idea you would like to make tangible? Learn more about our work, and we would love to help you create a professional, quality product that stands the test of time.   

Sneak peek of Living Artfully, by Shannon Carter

Shannon Carter knows that preserving tradition is an act of love. Whether she is collecting and displaying family heirlooms, repurposing antiques, or artfully arranging collections, she prioritizes artful living alongside excellent craftsmanship. We were honored to publish a coffee-table book celebrating her love of tradition and inspiring others to collect, preserve, and display their treasures. (Additionally, she offers a few family recipes, one of which we preview here).

Here are a few exclusive photo excerpts from her book, Living Artfully, which will be available for sale in September. 

Living Artfully will sell for $40, and all proceeds from the book will be donated to the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, Ohio.