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Florence in Words

Jeannette Petras, Creativity in Action

When I first met Jeannette Petras in 2005, I was temporarily the director/publisher and she was working part-time at the Feminist Press, a tall, slim, attractive twenty-something, who spoke with calm energy about what marketing was possible in three days a week. I liked her readiness for laughter as much as I liked her firm sense of order. Between 2004 and 2010, she became the marketing manager at the Feminist Press, directing two junior staff members plus a raft of interns. She was responsible for marketing, sales, inventory (which included paying attention to fast-moving books for reordering), and attending to the website, that ever-growing, hydra-like realm that replaced mass mailings and advertising. For quarterly Board meetings, she produced detailed sales reports that illuminated the kinds of markets books were reaching. Several times during the six years, she was offered jobs that would have paid her far more than she could earn at a non-profit. But she cared about our mission, she said, and felt rewarded by the importance of the books themselves.  Read More 
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Dorothy Sayers, Part Two

So here I am weeks later wondering why I decided to write a blog about Dorothy Sayers in the first place. I think it was the revelation in the biography I happened to find on my bookshelf among the eleven novels: that Sayers had had a child out of wedlock whom she gave to her cousin to rear, without telling her about its parentage. Indeed, the son died without knowing his father. Anyone who has read my memoir will understand my interest, no, my fascination with anyone who could bear a child and then bear to deny motherhood for the child and for herself. As it happened, the young man—we hear from in the volume—seems to have grown into a sensible person, able to understand Sayers’ dilemmas and forgive her.  Read More 
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Wedding Day

Jorge Cao and Don Thomas on their wedding day.
The special Sunday, July 24, 2011, was blistering hot, even before seven in the morning. We stood, near the front of a very long line, for an hour and a half before the doors opened to a loud countdown. Joanne Hanley and I were there as witnesses to the marriage of Don Thomas and Jorge Cao, our friends. While on line, they filled out forms requesting a waiver of the usual waiting period. Reporters and photographers—as numerous as the applicants—helped make the time pass quickly. Their favorite question, “How long have you been together?” Don and Jorge’s “thirty-three years” became their mantra, though they were shy about talking about their courtship beyond Jorge’s saying that “both our families were very supportive.” We were probably 16th or 17th in line, behind a diverse group of women and men of various hues and in various styles of dress, including the comfortable shirts and trousers that Don and Jorge were wearing. Flowers ranged from carnations and roses to lilies and orchids. Several male couples were spectacular in cutaways or formal black suits. I saw several white-gowned woman. Photographers who stopped to speak with Don and Jorge, could not resist photographing two young Asian women, their shining long hair falling down their backs almost to their arms clasped behind them. Read More 
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