Editor’s note: Last month we asked Kara Gebhart Uhl to help us with editorial tasks at Lost Art Press. During the last decade, John and I have taken on book projects that are more and more ambitious. And in the next 12 months we’ll be announcing several additional ambitious projects that will take lots of brainpower and red ink.
After months of agonizing over how to manage these projects and keep our sanity, I read a blog entry that struck me like an electric shock. One of my former editorial employees, Kara, was lamenting/celebrating the fact that her kids were all going to be in school during the day.
I sent her an immediate email. She knows woodworking. She knows our editing style. She can already read my mind. And no one – no one – is as organized and on time as Kara.
She agreed to help us out about 10 hours a week and has already started chewing up our backlog of editing – the next Charles Hayward volume is now two months ahead of schedule.
As you’ll see below, Kara is crazy overqualified to work with us, but we hope to treat her well and hang onto her for many years to come.
Fifteen years ago Chris Schwarz hired me as an assistant editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine. I had a magazine journalism degree, and I was hired for my writing and editing skills. My only woodworking skills at the time involved a turned lamp I made in junior high shop class.
Chris served as a mentor, helping me improve my writing and editing, while also teaching me the art of woodworking. I took classes, including a week-long class with Lonnie Bird to build a Shaker end table, and a chairmaking class with Don Weber. Several other pieces see daily use in my home, including a knockdown Arts & Crafts bookcase.
But I never truly fell in love with the physical aspects of woodworking. I did, however, fall in love with the idea of woodworking and, more importantly, the folks who did it. My absolute favorite pieces to write for Popular Woodworking Magazine was a series of articles called Great Woodshops. I’d spend a day in John Wilson’s The Home Shop or in Brian Boggs’s “laboratory,” and I’d simply look and listen, and then retell.
I served as associate and managing editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine, and helped launch Woodworking Magazine. But eventually my love of the craft of writing led me to Writer’s Digest magazine, which was two floors up in the same building.
My daughter, Sophie, was born in 2008. My twin boys were born in 2010. During this time, I quit my job at Writer’s Digest magazine, and went about the daily tasks of raising three young children. We moved into a foursquare built in 1901 in Fort Thomas, Ky., right across the river from Cincinnati.
I worked as a freelance writer and editor, doing the occasional final binder reads for both Popular Woodworking Magazine and Writer’s Digest. I maintained a column at Writer’s Digest, wrote ads, edited Writer’s Market books, and wrote profiles about interesting people for our small city’s blog, http://www.fortthomasmatters.com.
I also wrote about parenting on my personal blog, http://www.pleiadesbee.com, and my essays were picked up by TIME: Healthland, The New York Times Motherlode (now called Well Family) and The Huffington Post. It was in the comment sections of those blogs that I developed a thick skin.
I still maintain my freelance workload, all the while working toward my dream of publishing a picture book. I’m represented by Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert Agency and I currently have two out on submission. As Sylvia Plath once said, “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”
After eight years of being home with my children, working during naps, nights and weekends, my days have changed. In August all three of my children went back to school, full day. What once were a few precious hours here and there has turned into six solid hours at home. Chris, aware of this life change, emailed me, asking if I was interested in helping out.
And so, in many ways, I feel like I’ve come back full circle. I’m once again working with my former mentor, and serving a community of craftspeople who I’ve grown to admire greatly over the years, people who believe in the beauty of working with one’s hands, building objects designed to last longer than themselves. I’m happy to be here.
— Kara Gebhart Uhl