Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finally!

A break from the norm because, well, I'm in a celebratory mood!

This week I've been in Abilene catching up with friends and former coworkers/professors/ students/roommates. I also caught up on the progress of a project I haven't thought about in a while.

Years ago I signed on to help out on an editing project which aimed to turn a giant stack of photocopied excerpts into a book containing a collection of T. B. Maston's writings. It was only supposed to last a semester, but, of course, it stretched on. I spent part of one summer typing up the articles into 749 single spaced pages of text (and also developing a case of self-diagnosed carpal tunnel!) and the duration of another summer hunting down copyrights. I spent hours upon hours reading, editing and hauling the thing around. It was not always an entertaining job, but I started to really love T.B. Maston.

Maybe it was just a byproduct of my stressed and sleep deprived state of mind at the time, but after so much time working on his writings I began to feel like I knew the guy (who died in 1988). In fact, it was my respect for Maston--who was an early supporter of racial equality in the volatile mess of racial tensions in the South, who along with his wife lovingly cared for their severely handicapped son in their home and, even though he had a degree from Yale, always tried to write so that his mom, who only had a 4th grade education, could understand it--that kept me going when my cynicism inched higher and higher.

My love for Maston kept me interested in the project and ended with me digging up bricks from his demolished house (...that's another story). I used to wear a locket quite frequently, but never got around to putting anything inside. You guessed it--(through an overly caffeinated decision and the luck that I happened to have a flyer with a perfectly sized picture of Maston at my fingertips) TB made his way into my locket.


Anyway, I signed off on the project way back in May of last year, but the book has been bogged down in formatting and publishing challenges ever since. I talked with one of the professors on the project and we both agreed that it seemed the thing might never get finished. Fifteen minutes later someone stopped me in the hall to tell me that they had just sent the final version of the reader to the publishers and the thing should be printed and bound (with my name on the cover!) in around 45 days.

In honor of this accomplishment, and of Maston, I'm rocking the locket today and digging up some old articles and videos of Ol' TB. I won't lie, its like visiting an old friend. 

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