Betsy Curtis September 17

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Betsy Curtis was born 96 years ago today - and married 72 years ago today. And yesterday - yes, just yesterday - I finished preliminary proofreading of my transcription of her 14 published stories. Because I'm in the midst of a project that will be a rarity: the edited collection of all the published stories of a pioneering woman science-fiction writer. (Part of the fun will be its existence as a three-generation project: stories by my mom, editing by me, and design by my daughter, Valerie.) My next step will be to edit all 14 (roughly 100,000 words) into my favored formats (Oxford comma, typos repaired, etc.). Happy birthday and anniversary, Mom! Hope my tinkering doesn't bother you - and wish you were here to participate!

Thanks, too, Mom, for providing reproof to me for not posting on this site since I left the offices of Comics Buyer's Guide. Just yesterday (again!), I uncovered the manuscript for a proposed collection of her poetry. She was (in the terms of a George Price cartoon she had attached to the 20-gallon crock she used to make home brew) "a very remarkable woman" - and, I think, a compulsive, playful writer. In honor, then, of the folks who haven't seen posts from me in more than half a year (and who, giving up, may not see this, either), here's Mom's "No Word from Thee." (She guessed at the year of composition as 1938, not long after the time this photo was taken.)

When for a time I've had no word from thee,
Strange causeless fears my mind do oft oppress
And add a terror to my loneliness
From which no reasoning can set me free.
I fear that thou perhaps unwell may be
Or caught in trouble's grip; and then I guess
Thou findst in me some grievous faultiness:
Conscience and apprehension well agree.
     I know thy labors have enforced charm;
I know thine hours for letter writing few;
I'm sure thou hast not met with any harm.
     Why should I fear? Knowing thy love is true,
I need not feel unwonted grave alarm.
--I know not why I should, and yet I do.


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