Back on the Horse

comments: 41


Thursday then, eh? Already?

The last few weeks have been a blur, and seem to have gone by in a flash (like a fast blur). I have dozens of personal emails to answer, several voicemails to return, and many thank-you cards to write. For I must say again, until I can get to them, thank you — thank you for all the little things, the bubble bath, the chocolates, the sweetest notes and cards, all of the sweet little things. I'm touched beyond words by the donations to animal organizations that have been made in Audrey's name. I'm really . . . wow. People. My heart is so soggy. I have so many feelings about the last month. It's hard not to believe that everything's going to be alright when you know there are friends like you all, all over the place, little Swiss dots of love, sprinkled down everywhere. Look how that helps. Thank you. For helping me feel like that again.

The reality is that the book is getting finished, fast and furiously, as I enter the last month, the homestretch of my steeplechase, for it has felt like a steeplechase, thrilling and too fast, hooves pounding, mud and sticks flying. Many, many times over the past few months I've thought I might just ride the horse right off the track and out into the forest — Goodbye! Goodbye! I can't do this!

So when I look at my desk and see the huge stack of paper that is the almost-finished manuscript and its giant companion-pile of projects I feel liquefied with relief. My technical editor on this book is my former boss from years ago, when I worked in publishing myself — I was able to hire her to work with me and I am so grateful that I've had her expertise to guide me throughout this summer. Ellen has worked in the industry for almost thirty years. I was hired by her and became her protege when I started as a production editor myself. We worked together for three years. She taught me everything I know about how books become books — we are both traditionalists, and I loved being trained in the old ways. I always wanted that. It is a small miracle that we are here, exactly ten years after our first meeting in August of 1997, working together again on something that means so much to me now. I have learned a million things in the past few months, and at times the lessons have been painful! Some days have been great, some days have been impossibly hard.

But when I am working on this book I am transported to that time years ago when I sat in my little office with my green banker's lamp and proofed page after page of manuscripts and layouts, sentences and paragraphs and photos that would become books about bush pilots, wild birds, the medicinal herbs of Alaska, and felt like I was in heaven. I was so excited when I got that job and I loved it so much when I was there. Sometimes, over the past seven years since I left, I've thought that I'd like to be there again, back in the office with my friends, a pile of chores where I know just what needs to be done and how to do it. But working on my own book now, after all these years of sewing and not thinking about books very much, has changed my life. I see now that it is exactly the right thing for me to do, weaving up both those sides of my life in a seam that feels exactly right. And I almost never feel like that.

The draft ms. is on its way to being finished, the projects are almost finished, the photo shoots have started, the kids are passing in front of my camera, populating the special little world that the projects inhabit in my imagination, making it real-ish. Turns out, photographing kids is, oh, a million times harder than I thought? A billion? Of course, it's also a billion times more fun, but Oh! you cross your fingers when you look at those thumbnails, I tell ya. I don't have as much experience shooting people as I do shooting jars of cloudberry jam. If the project is in focus, the kid has his eyes closed. If the kid looks cute, the project is upside down. If the kid looks cute and the project's front and center, it's all unfocused because someone was laughing (could be the kid, could be me). My great reward will be shooting still-lifes. I didn't know how easy we had it, me and my crochet, my sock pups, my quilts that just sit there for hours and hours, patiently waiting for me to get what I want. But you know I wouldn't have it any other way, giggles and dog-and-pony kisses and all.


More than anything, I am so eager to buy your book when it is released! You make the whole process sound so magical. Good luck with all that you have left! I know it will be absolutely beautiful.

You write so beautifully, I feel like an old friend when I read your blog. I am anxious to be able to buy your book when it is ready.

Fellow sister of the soggy heart here. You have such an ease and way with words Alicia and I constantly find myself saying "Yes!" to your posts. Happy to be among your many *swiss dots of love* out here! Continued hugs and doggie mom hands to hold coming your way.

I can't wait for your book to come out!

Rennagayle says: August 30, 2007 at 11:17 AM

I began regularly reading your blog a few months ago, immediately enamored of your style of writing, cooking, creating, etc.

I had a couple of week period where I didn't have time to do my blog reading, so I'm just now finding out about your precious Audrey. I had fallen in love with the pictures of her, and said a prayer for her when you requested, before the MRI.

I'm so deeply saddened for you. My dh and I have lost three beloved dogs in the past two years due to old age and diabetes (in one). People who aren't dog people simply don't 'get' the depth of emotion we who 'are' feel for our four legged babies.

The first few weeks are the hardest. You never quit missing them, but you do finally get where you don't expect to see them in all their normal spots. The hardest, I'm sure you've discovered, is when you come home and they aren't there to greet you. It really does get easier, though, I promise you that.

After the horrible initial grief passes, you still miss them, but you began to laugh more together at the memory of their antics. It does get better, really it does. (big hug)

I'm glad that you are enjoying creating your book. I agree that taking photos of children are difficult - I have two little ones and out of the many shots we may take, only a handful end up looking "right". Hopefully, the book will help heal you. Good luck and I can't wait until your book comes out.

I honestly have to tell you that you have never written one thing that doesn't resonate with me in some way.

Thank you.

You are a joy and a gift and I am honored to call you friend.

p.s. gettin' those kid shots is sumthin' else, huh? hee.

Chris Howard says: August 30, 2007 at 11:44 AM

I can't wait to see this lovely special book that you are writing. I know it will quickly become my favorite "escape" book.

Hon, take some time off this fall to just "be". I worry about you guys!


Bobbie Duran says: August 30, 2007 at 12:09 PM

So excited for you and once again thank you for including us on your book journey. Can’t wait to buy it!

can't wait for the book, when do we expect it gracing our bookshelves? and kids, tell me about it, i try to get good shots of my twin boys, i find i just need to shoot multiple exposures as fast as i can after carefully positioning them. and more often than not one has his hand stuck in the other's eye. gotta' lve 'em.

I'm so happy for you that your world loose seams and all are binding together beautifully. I look forward to seeing your final creation. I know it will be exquisite!

Well, thank you in advance for all your very hard work making something beautiful that we can page through and keep forever! I can't wait to finally open the cover and dive into Posie-world. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I can't wait!

thanks for the little sneak peeks (via words:)...can't wait...

i would like to join you in your gallop through the forest.

piles piles everywhere!


Just like everyone else, I am SO looking forward to your book - and I enjoy reading about the process, too. Reading your blog is always a little spot of brightness in my day , even when it has a sad note, somehow.

I can't tell you how much your book will mean to me when it's finally in tangible, hold-in-your-hands form! I feel shameless and awkward in saying it even - I'm just a blog reader, for heaven's sake! But you have drawn us in to the process, from the creative view, as well as the emotional and intimate parts. Your lives have been so full, I imagine them spilling over into the pages of this book. (It might be just me...I can get pretty emotional over a well-wrought craft book.)What a privilege to have a peek behind the photos of your book-to-be!

It is great to see an update from you. I honestly didn't know that you had worked in publishing before - how exciting!

Alicia, I am so excited about your book! I can't wait!

I feel as if I'm right there with you, putting together all the pieces for this fantastic book that I can hardly wait to possess myself! It is quite amazing how bit by bit these things seem to miraculously come together when everything else seems to be otherwise falling apart. I'm gonna keep sending you happy "go-go-go, girl, you can do it!" thoughts until this baby's off the presses!

Hi Alicia. I've enjoyed your blog for awhile now; you really have a gift!

Thank you for sharing it, here. :)

Wanted to send hugs to you and Andy, too. So sad about little Audrey. Take care.



I love that pony!
I just bought "Softies: Simple Instructions for 25 Plus Pals" because YOU were in it!! So I can't wait for your new book to come out!!! Looks like it was fun work... photoshoots are very tiring but so gratifying when it's all pulled together.

Oh, thank you for being here. That I can catch up on your week after a harum-scarum week that makes me want to cry with relief now that it is over. I have not even had time to visit you, my friend and it's just nice to come and find you still here. Thank you.

the picture is gorgeous. i especially adore the fading pink polish. glad i stumbled upon your site...


i love this photo! it sounds like this project is full of challenges and rewards. i cannot wait to have your book in my hands, seriously.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.