“You Might Be Interested . . .” –selling “Glimpses…Now I Can See”–

Promoting my book has been a new experience for me. I wanted to envision myself like John Grisham, smiling at the long line of people waiting to buy my book while I autographed as fast as I could. I knew it wouldn’t be quite like that, but what if nobody even came over to my table. I couldn’t just sit there, could I? So, the following depicts what took at my first book-signing. 
Scene: A bit of drama at a bookstore as the author approaches a patron:

“Hello there…Ah-It looks as if you’re buying books today.  Here’s a little gift for your selection–a bookmark. Oh, note that the reverse side has a description of the book which is the same as that on the back cover of the book there on the table. … Yes, it’s title is ‘Glimpses…Now I Can See’ … Yes, I am the author. You might be interested in looking at a copy of it. … What kind of book is it? Well, I’d call it a biography. Some say it’s a memoir. It’s not written in the usual  chronological order. You know–I was born, I lived, I died. I organized this book into various life-categories which embrace 4-5 selections. These-stories, essays, or poems-can each stand alone. Combined they all create or make the book.

Ah, yes…you ask about the meaning of the title? Each piece and what it offers is a ‘Glimpse’ into my life. ‘Now I Can See’ reflects the times when I literally lost my vision. That was restored through transplant surgeries. The title also refers to losing and regaining vision or insight about events and people in my life. … The selections? A few are about uncomfortable times, some are poignant memories, but many are just funny, delightful stories. … Oh, there’s one, ‘Sugar and Secrets,’ about the exploits of my donkey and me. I have to say this: My parents thought so much of me that they gave me a ‘jackass’ on my 13th birthday! … Well, I’ll say no more about that. …

Mm-m…you say you’d like a copy? Certainly–and, Thank You. … Yes, I’d be most pleased to autograph your copy–and might I write a few thoughts for you or perhaps a friend? … There you are. Do enjoy. And, Thank  You, again.”

The event was certainly not a John Grisham book-signing. However, by the end of five hours, I no longer felt like a “newbie” author. Books had been purchased. Intriguing people had been met. I could take pleasure in thinking of Grisham’s tired hands aching as much as my tired feet.


(“Glimpses…Now I Can See” is available from the author, Elizabeth A. Roberts, at eroberts975@comcast.net – and from Abbott Press, and Amazon.)












Perceptions While Reading “GLIMPSES…NOW I CAN SEE”

“What Good Does All That Education Do For You?”

You hear that question again and again. It’s disheartening, discouraging, disparaging. Add another “d.” You feel defensive–and self-doubt creeps  in. You begin to wonder why you chose history as a major–why you chose German as a minor–and, furthermore, why you chose Latin as a minor. Yes, you can share the first words Julius Caesar wrote about Gaul and its three parts. Yes, you can recite the German poem about the father, the son, the horse, the night, the wind. Yes, you can compare the Renaissance works of Erasmus and More. Yes–you can…  But, really now, what does having such information do for you? According to some, it certainly doesn’t merit promotion as a marketing specialist. It certainly doesn’t improve skills in computer technology. It certainly doesn’t add to Blogging, Tweeting, and Facebook posting acumen. . . . How do you respond? You ponder the question again. What good does that education do for you? The answer doesn’t come with a bolt of lightning on your Damascus road to Graduation Day.

You keep asking  yourself that question–the “What good . . .” question as you and  your fellow graduates march slowly to the dais to have a diploma–a certificate of approval?–thrust into your reaching, grasping hands. Is your essence shrouded in that sheepskin-covered document? As you leave the symbols of authority on the platform and return to your seat, there comes to your mind a sense of calm, a moment of no anxiety, a moment of no fear–about answering the plaguing question. For then, you know. That is it–the answer. You “know.” You have gained knowledge. You have observed a part of the world–a part of the universe. You have seen the actions of the few–the actions of the many. You have beheld the condition of death–you have beheld the hope for life. 


These thoughts developed during the writing and the reading of GLIMPSES…NOW I CAN SEE.” Consider your own thoughts as you read selections in the book–available from the author Elizabeth A. Roberts – (eroberts975@comcast.net), or from Abbott Press, from Amazon, from Barnes and Noble Book Stores.




A LOSS OF SIGHT – Thoughts from “Glimpses…Now I Can See”

“…And Then, There Was Fear”

I wondered if I would ever see again. For weeks, for months, my loss–my lack of  ability to see–deteriorated.  Spring was arriving with the blooming of bright yellow-budded-forsythia, the emerging white of jonquils, the vivid hue of the redbud trees. My friends and I had always commented that finally spring had come to banish the gloom-gray of the November to April, Ohio sky. But, that spring–it was 1993–the beauty I had relished was but a blur. Maybe there was a hint of soft colors, but they were only a blended nothing. I could not distinguish any lined-features.  What had been an irritant in January had become a feeling of fear–fear that I would soon be unable to sense even the faded colors. I could not drive. That limited my activities immensely, and forced me to rely on anyone who had time to take me for tasks, such as purchasing a few staples for my home. I found this simple endeavor frustrating, and a bit humorous. I had to hang precariously onto the squeaky metal cart at the local market and answer far too many questions. “Do you like pork and beans? “…”Uh, I guess so. Is there any other kind?” “Of course…there is,” said with a slight tone of impatience. “Would you like some Busch’s Baked Beans? That big dog loves them…” And, on the queries went with each aisle of the store.  …   Not only could I not drive, but I also could not walk…unless appearing like a weaving, stumbling drunk was in vogue. So, more folk came to save my embarrassment.   One dear, well-intentioned, friend always grasped my elbow firmly as we negotiated sidewalks, curbs and streets–and stop-signs. No…they were not the red-yellow-green kind. They were the metal ones bolted to a strong, steel pole. El—her name just had to rhyme with Hell, didn’t it? That’s what I  uttered each time she ran me into such a pole. I mean her enthusiastic walk and talk ran me right into the face of the signs. “Hey, El…uh, you did it again. Hell…El, can’t we get it right?” I don’t recall if we ever did.   …   As a passenger in any vehicle, my views were a weird contrast to the dark gray of the stop signs. I observed–well…how do I describe what I “saw?” I would suddenly close my eyes in a jerking, gut reaction that comes when one is going to hit or be hit by something. The something was a tree, but not a tree…I “saw” intricate, lacy images of what might have been trunks or branches or leaves–right there in front of the car…and, we were going to crash into them. I cried out, “Stop!” I jerked and flinched. A chuckle from the driver disarmed me. “Hey, it’s OK. Nothing is there.” “But…I see… trees and even long, wavy grasses, right there–beside and in front of us.” Frank, open laughter to my fear eventually brought less anxiety about my supposed surroundings. …  I wished that I could have had photographs of what I saw. But, how does one take pictures of fear in one’s mind?


These thoughts are based on the Introduction to “Glimpses…Now I Can See.”     The book is available from the author-Elizabeth A. Roberts, at  eroberts975@comcast.net, or Abbott Press, or your bookstore.


“Why I Like to Write” . . . Thoughts About My Past

Mrs. Higgins–Prof. McAdow–Dr. Wagner


Why I Like to Write

Mrs. Eloise Higgins and high school English were inextricably bound. From Mrs. Higgins I garnered appreciation for language, not only from her choices of literary works, but also from her skills at imparting the  essence of grammar–the rules of writing. I took to heart her admonition: “Learn these ‘rules’ of writing…Learn them well…Then, you can learn how to break them.” For years, it was customarily said that if you had the somewhat oddly-attired, red-orange coifed, pigeon-toed lady for English,  you’d be guaranteed a place in an Advanced Freshman English class in college. It took little time for me to see that reality.

Five times a week, I and 19 compatriots met with tall, stately, elderly Miss Beryl McAdow, whose 2-piece,  lavender, knit outfits  seemed to suit  her demeanor. That dear lady looked sweet, demure, and kind, but was a true grizzly with assignments. With her mantra of “Good morning, dear students,” Prof. McAdow would stride into the classroom and promptly read a short article from “The Saturday Review of Literature” or “The Atlantic Monthly.” The writing-axe dropped as she requested that we compose analytical statements about the article. The tricky part was not only to write intelligent observations, but also to incorporate complex elements of grammar. A smidgeon of creativity was appreciated. My face, no doubt, had a downcast expression as I submitted my assignments. Only when the words came: “That will be all for today, dear students.” did the glimmer of a weak smile begin.

My anxiety might have created an aversion to writing; however, a new challenge appeared. Learning to find, use, and document primary sources for the grizzly’s term paper actually became a fascinating endeavor. The task for each of us was to write about “John Brown at Harper’s Ferry and Charleston”–an excellent prelude to a Civil War course the next  year. There was, though, a recurring question involving our papers. How did the good professor keep separate each student’s thoughts and words? … The mystery was never solved.

So, in the beginning were the words–about writing. Five years of studying history allowed me to hone my skills. And, that work served me well as graduate courses in theatre history and literature involved more writing. Growing love of language permitted creativity that went beyond trodding the theatre boards. Words were there, as if a muse directed the structure, the arrangement, the flow of thought.

During doctoral studies, that interest in language–oral and written–became my focus in communication theory, and in ancient and modern rhetoric. Enamored of the eclectic thought-filled writings of the 20th century’s major rhetorician, Kenneth Burke, I employed his concepts in my dissertation. For it, I examined the biased, slanted, and devastating use of language in the Security Clearance Hearing of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Dr. Ray Wagner, my mentor and friend, guided my writing for that project. In his inimitable way, that superb professor graciously demanded high quality writing in courses he taught and in dissertations he chaired. 

As with Mrs. Higgins and Prof. McAdow, Dr. Wagner held a deep appreciation of writing. I believe they shared, in their individual ways, not only a love for writing, but also a love for each of their students. A statement I made in tribute to Dr. Wagner certainly applies to those three teachers–and to each of us. “[They] taught us to see that in this vast, immense, boundless world we can love one another.”


(A tribute to Dr. Ray E. Wagner, “Because We Can Love One Another,” may be found in “GLIMPSES…NOW I CAN SEE,” a collection of personal stories, poems, and essays based on my life. The book is available by contacting the author at  eroberts975@comcast.net, or from Abbott Press, Amazon, or your bookstore.)

“Being Happy”-Thoughts with an Excerpt from “Glimpses…Now I Can See”

“Be Happy”

I don’t usually like being told to “Be Happy.” That forceful directive can turn my mood from sad–to mad. After all, Sandburg reminds us to “Be happy, kid, but not too doggone happy.”   …   Just surviving, just scraping through life, doesn’t bring happiness. But, if that life is punctuated by oddly occurring, downright laughable events, a smile may break the mold of sadness. Having a quirky friend who figures centrally in unusual events also helps one move toward a state of happiness.    …   I had a friend, Cecilia-Cec-who unwaveringly offered gifts to all she met. The gift of humor. The gift of laughter. The gift of a glass half-filled…no, completely-filled with joy.   …    I  have written about Cec, of  her adventures that bring happiness in the telling. Her stories are found in “Glimpses…Now I Can See,” a book comprised of selections about my life–a life  in which I became “happy” because of people like Cec.   …   Here, I offer you an excerpt from the book when Cec served as a Dispatcher in law-enforcement.

“Sir, . . . sir! I cannot understand you. Speak up, sir. What is your problem? Sir, please carefully state your name and address and the purpose of your call. Sir?” The 911-caller refused to clarify the emergency. Precious minutes passed with more questions, and the desperate-sounding breathing of the caller continued. At some point, the Dispatcher began to think the problem was actually an obscene caller–a “breather.” “Would you get off the line, now!” and other angrier orders were made, but the caller ignored the admonitions. The disgusted Dispatcher determined that the call was being made from a phone programmed for a 911-emergency. By simply pressing any button, the call would be made. The police were sent to the home, managed to enter, and picked up the abusive caller. And, who was the abusive caller? “He” was a dog, a small, innocent, German Shepherd puppy, that had jumped onto a table, hit the phone, and then breathed excitedly each time he heard the Dispatcher’s voice. The attending officers got on the phone to contact the frazzled Dispatcher. “Hey, gal, we’ve got a four-legged perp. here. What was that emergency again? Please clarify. Do you think it was an empty puppy-chow bowl? . . . Better send the EMT-squad ASAP! He’s still a lickin’, and slobberin’, and breathin’ kind of heavy. Over and out.”

I try not to be too directive, but may I say “Do Enjoy” the other “Things About Cec” in the book, “Glimpses…Now I Can See.”

(You may obtain “Glimpses …” from me– eroberts975@comcast.net — or from Abbott Press, or Amazon, or your bookstore.)












“Sugar and Secrets”- Thoughts on Unconditional Love, with an Excerpt from “Glimpses…Now I Can See”

Feelings of truth and dedication can come to us when we think of a few beautiful relationships we have had in our lives. For some of us, the companionship provides unconditional love which binds us forever. And…I speak here of friendships with special beings–of animals with whom we bond. These creatures give freely to us. They may be dogs or cats or  other furry-critters. Andy, Chloe, Eager-Tigger, Mon Amie, Peanuts, Popcorn, Punkin’, and Sasha-Two-Bears =  The list can go beyond counting. They love without question. They become confidants. One striking fellow I came to know had tall, shaggy, brown-tipped ears into which I whispered my dreams, my hopes. His name was Skeeter.

The following is but a small excerpt from a story of unconditional love, “Sugar and Secrets” found in “Glimpses…Now I Can See.”


“I can still feel Skeeter’s head on my shoulder and the touch of his shaggy ears and see the love in those deep brown eyes. Ah-h, the secrets he kept for me. I know one day my friend will come running and braying to me–and Skeeter and I shall again share sugar and secrets.”

Do read the complete story in my book, “Glimpses…Now I Can See” available from me (eroberts975@comcast.net), from Abbott Press, from Amazon, from bookstores.