Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Paperdolls, Sears and Roebuck Catalog, and The Accidental Author

By Celia Yeary
Many authors have said the urge to write was natural and a life-long goal. In fact, it seems that most writers “always had a dream.” This often made me wonder why I don’t fit the mold. Of course, I had an imagination, but don’t all children have one to some extent? Playing make-believe is as natural to little girls and boys as is breathing.I grew up when paper dolls were popular. When I had a fifteen cents or a quarter, that’s what I bought—a paper doll book. My little sister and I spent many hours of our childhood cutting out the dolls and their clothes. Each piece of clothing had little tabs to fold over the doll’s shoulders and around her waist. We had boxes of paper dolls—Victorian ladies, teenage girls, little children, mommies, and Western cowgirls. We gave each a name, a personality, and emotions.Shoe boxes held our paper doll sets, and heaven forbid we should ever mix up the dolls and their clothes. If my dolls became intermingled with my sister’s, that was cause for all-out war. The shoe boxes also made very nice homes for paper dolls. For a house, though, we needed beds, refrigerators, stoves, tables, rugs, and chairs. Mother gave us last year’s Sears and Roebuck catalog and we became the nation’s first recyclers. Never threw away a catalog. They furnished our doll homes perfectly. True, everything lay on the floor of the “home,” but that was all right because we played “make believe.”The paper dolls lived in a world of grand adventures. Why, they went to parties, rode on trains to big cities, married, shopped, roped cattle and rode horses, met kings and knights, and became princesses and beauty queens. So, perhaps I carried the idea of inventing stories in my head and heart, after all.Another writer I know calls herself The Accidental Reporter. Well, I suppose I’m The Accidental Author. The first pieces I wrote were scientific research papers and lab reports while attending school. Nothing else, not even a diary. After early retirement, I began to “dabble” in this and that, and one day just six years ago, I accidentally began to write a story. I say “accidentally” because I only intended to add to my miniscule store of knowledge about the computer, especially WORD 2002. Thus, many weeks later, I had a 90,000 word novel stored—yep, you guessed it—written in stiff, correct, scientific language. The first editor who rejected it said—“this reads like a textbook.”Oh, I had much to learn, but fortunately, I have an attribute perhaps all authors have—persistence. Also, I’m a fast-learner, and most often, a self-learner. That first novel is under contract, by the way. Title? TEXAS BLUE.
Now, I am enjoying the giddy experience of my first release. ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS is a Western Historical, set in the far reaches of the Texas frontier in the Nineteenth Century. Please take a peek at my website- The Cactus Rose blog

Thank you-Celia Yeary


Lindsay Townsend said...

Celia- what a lovely post! I think you were nurturing your writer's imagination all the years you were playing.
Many congratulations on having ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS published and the very first novel you wrote ('Texas Blue') now under contract! That's a great moment! (I finally managed it myself this year and it's a very special feeling.)
I used to play with paper dolls, too.

Celia Yeary said...

Lindsay--thank you. It seems everyone loved paper dolls. They're still available,as you can see by the "Faye of the Fifties" website. Google yields dozens of sites. But it's not the same as going in a five-and-dime to see all the books from whihc to select. If I had little grandaughters, I'd buy some. but I'm destined to buying cars and trucks and balls. Celia

Savanna Kougar said...

Celia, beautiful post, indeed. Yep, I played with paper dolls. Mostly Betsy McCall.
Congrats on contracting TEXAS BLUE ~ love that title by the way.
And, congrats on ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS... what a gorgeous Western cover.

Kaye Manro said...

What an interesting post, Celia. I can see that creativity was always with you. Congrats on your new release.

Francesca Prescott said...

Hi Celia! You reminded me that I used to play with paper dolls too, when I was a little girl. I remember those tabs you'd have to hang on their shoulders, and around their waists. I think my mother found a cardboard box full of my papers dolls in a cupboard in the guest room when my Nana passed away a few years ago. Such nice memories! Thanks for reminding me!

Celia Yeary said...

Savanna and Kaye--thanks for your nice comments and compliments! It's a thrill, isn't it? I'm happy to become acquainted you two--since you're part of this blog.

Celia Yeary said...

FRANCESCA--hi! Nice to hear from you. Thanks for visiting this morning. All is well here in Texas, and I hope it is there in Switzerland, too. Celia

Linda Banche said...

Hi Celia, congratulations on your release.

I'm also a member of "I played with paper dolls when I was a little girl" club.

And like you, I never had a life-long goal to write. I started about 4 years ago. I ran out of the books I like to read, so I wrote my own.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Wasn't there a doll in one of the lady's magazines when we were kids? I'm thinking McCall's? That sounds right. I used to play with Betsy (Bitsy??)when my Mom allowed me to cut up her mags and sometimes before (grin).

I got news for ya, Miz Celia. You are no accidental writer. You're a real writer!

Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--interesting. I just began in 2004--I couldn't even send an e-mail. My dh did it all and I wouldn't learn how to write a message. We've come a long way, baby. I can't believe how much I've learned. Fun, isn't it? Thanks for your comments--Celia

Linda Swift said...

Dear Celia, I'm so glad I stopped by. Ah, paper dolls. What lovely memories. I can see them yet. And no thrill was greater than to get a new paper doll book and cut out those clothes. I believe the dolls themselves punched out, didn't they. And (sigh) I have no granddaughter to pass those memories on to. Wonderful essay.
And I wish you as much success with Texax Blue as you have had with All My Hopes and Dreams.

Celia Yeary said...

MAGGIE--I wonder if we all have abilities we knew nothing about. I used to pretend I could sing, because I really wanted to. Oh, to have such a talent. So, by myself, I sang and used all the motions--I did this from early on. I believe someone at sometime told me I'd better learn to do something else. So, I learned how to play the piano. And I was good at it. My hidden talent.Celia

Celia Yeary said...

linda--I think the dolls did punch out, because they were made of thicker paper, thin cardboard. Except the Betsy McCall paper doll--she had to be cut out just like her clothes. I think I recall she was an advertisement for dress patterns. Thanks for stopping by--Celia

Linda LaRoque said...

Celia, I played with paper dolls too. Most of mine came from catelogues my mother and grandmother had. I made clothes for mine with paper and crayons. Kids knew how to entertain themselves back then.
Nice post, I enjoyed it very much.

LK Hunsaker said...

Celia, I'm horribly late but what a nice post! And welcome!

Yes, I had a few paper dolls, also, but I lost interest pretty fast since there wasn't much you could do with them other than change their clothes since they didn't hold up well. ;-) I thought they were pretty cool, though, as an idea.