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.


Unknown September 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM  

I enjoyed your post. Also, for whatever reason today Googled Comics Buyer's Guide, as i hadnt checked on its status in quite sometime. Then saw that it was no more. I was a reader and subscriber when it was a weekly and in newspaper format. You and Don through CBG brightened my childhood. My brother and I would often fight over who got to read, the single copy we subscribed to, first when it arrived in the PO Box each week. It is a fond memory of childhood. Just wanted to let you know.

Anonymous,  September 18, 2013 at 9:18 PM  

What a lovely poem! Kudos to all of Udos!

Nancy Hughes

Steven Mitchell October 29, 2013 at 8:35 PM  

Maggie, I've read a few of your mother's stories and would love to read a collection of all of them. Please let us know when and where you will be publishing them.

Maggie Thompson October 30, 2013 at 3:58 AM  

My GOAL is to have the collection ready in time for WisCon (a "feminist science-fiction convention" in Madison, Wisconsin) Memorial Day Weekend 2014. It just seemed a likely spot in which to publicize a volume representing the combined efforts of Mom (the writer), her daughter (me, the editor), and my daughter (the designer). Now, I just have to Do The Work. We'll see. Thanks for caring!

Anonymous,  November 21, 2013 at 10:12 AM  

Hi Maggie, I am with a N. Wisconsin newspaper and would love to talk to you about your story. I can't find contact info for you but if you could please email me at I'd love to chat with you.

Thank you!

Anonymous,  July 2, 2014 at 10:15 AM  

Came here via a friend, a fan of your mother's, and just have to say how wonderful her poem for you is. She expresses so well exactly how a parent, yearning for word, but not wanting to be too much of a pest, feels.

Anonymous,  July 10, 2014 at 6:02 AM  

will anything be done with /passwords/ (languishing in the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Libraries)?

Maggie Thompson July 10, 2014 at 6:48 AM  

Updating: The collection is still on my schedule, with a new target release date of May 2015. I'm hoping to talk to the illustrator who agreed to provide an image for each story, I took a potential cover-design photo this month, and so on. It is definitely time to pursue the wrap-up aggressively. Mom used to say, "Wait and see." I'm hoping to do less of the waiting. Cinda-cite, can you remind me of Passwords details? I recall the title vaguely; if it's poems, I believe she incorporated that content into DRESSIN': POEMS FOR POETS - which I'm also in the midst of preparing for some sort of publication.

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