Volume IX, No. 1, Fall 1981
A playful kitten slowly stalked his prey, watching every move, being careful not to be seen. The tension mounted as he moved in for the kill, pounced forward, and landed right in the center of a draft I was editing. After the shock left my mind, I moved to untangle the vicious kitty and helpless draft apart. As I grabbed for the nap of her neck, she left the draft, looked up with soft eyes, meowed and began to caress my leg with a purr.
This scene made my mind stray off my work and back to when I was a first year staff member. I remember handing my final draft to the story editor and receiving a compliment for having done it so soon. I went back to my desk and watched the editor out of the corner of my eye as I pretended to work on layouts. I was so excited and curious to what the editor was thinking, I spilled the rubber cement all over my desk. I could see the editor shake her head with a puzzled look and confer with others. I just knew it wasn't all that bad. She didn't seem too unhappy and smiled on the way out at the end of the day. I was very cheerful as I walked in the next day and sat down at my desk. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the editor move toward me with a blunt look on her face. I could see in the editor's eyes--she hated my draft! Like my kitten she had pounced all over it. The draft wasn't mortally wounded but injured some bit. After I got over the shock, I felt better. The editor explained her comments, helped me correct the problems and smiled at me on the way out. Having a draft worked over seemed painful at the time, but I can laugh now. It makes me wonder now that I'm editor if the new staff members feel as if I pounce all over their drafts.
If you haven't noticed, there's a new editor's logo. As customary, the editor's logo changes with the new editor in hopes of reflecting that editor's personality--sometimes. Kathy Long, Bittersweet's previous editor, was not in the least bit like the smirking buzzard her logo portrayed. Kathy was one of Bittersweet's sweetest editors and we all miss her presence among us. She is now attending the University of Missouri at Columbia continuing her interest in journalism.
We have several new staff members this year, eight to be exact, which brings the staff total to twenty-one--one of the larger staffs we've had in a few years. Mrs. Shotts, our assistant advisor, will also rejoin us after taking a break this summer to take graduate courses in English at Southwest Missouri State University.
This year's summer staff worked harder and accomplished more than any summer staff I've worked on. Melinda Stewart, a former Bittersweet story editor, was our summer assistant again this year, and with her help we completed several stories, worked on layouts and did committee work to put ourselves almost six months ahead. Melinda is now a sophomore attending the University of Missouri at Columbia.
We've been rather busy giving talks and operating booths over the summer and fall. On June 20, Melinda, Dwayne and Mrs. Massey were guest speakers at a writing workshop at the University of Missouri at Columbia which was conducted by Dr. Ben Nelms, one of our advisory board members. They talked to teachers about different aspects of writing personality, how-to and feature articles in Bittersweet. Melinda said, "It was one of the best talks I've been on. Everyone was receptive and interested in what we had to say. Being writers themselves, they had an understanding of what we are doing here at Bittersweet."
Dwayne, Allen, Vickie, Deidra and Mrs. Massey also attended a booth at the Frontier Folklife Festival under the Gateway Arch on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Louis August 22 and 23. This booth was a little different from the school related booths, being set outside in the midst of the city with a sense of Ozark folk life and heritage. There were many craftsmen and women and musicians including Dwayne and Allen who took along their guitars.
September 24 we will conduct a workshop for the Central Missouri Journalism Association in Rolla.
The Missouri State Teachers Association will keep us very busy with meetings this fall. We are going to the Southwest Missouri Teachers meeting in springfield, October 14 for a booth. On October 2 we will conduct a workshop on publications for the South Central Missouri Teachers Association in Rolla, and November 5 and 6 will attend a booth and present a workshop in St. Louis for the state meeting.
We've been hard at work starting new stories and going on interviews. Sometimes we don't realize how much time and work goes into one story. Dwayne added up the hours he spent on the story featuring the Wright Brothers, which was in the summer issue. He added his hours to those of the other students involved with the interview, the advisors' and Kathy's consultation, editing and help, the typing, transcribing the music, the darkroom work and the art. The total for the story was 587 hours! Dwayne said, "I never lost interest in the story. I was so tied up in it, it didn't seem like that many hours. It really amazed me that so many hours were spent on one story, but it was well worth the time."
Though we get most of our income from subscriptions, we also get income from sales of single magazines to individuals and stores. Due to rising expenses, we had to increase the price of single issues from $2.00 to $2.50. From the beginning, eight years ago, the price of single issues has been $2.00. The price for a one year subscription of $8.00 will not change, thus making a subscription a better bargain.
Every fall before school begins, we have an orientation for new staff members. They learn all about Bittersweet, how things are run and a little about our history. I thought I'd share a bit of Bittersweet with you. Bittersweet began in 1973 by a special English class at Lebanon High School under the direction of Ellen Massey. The circulation intake then was about 500. It has grown steadily since and is about 4,000 now. We have many subscription in Missouri, nationwide and in several overseas countries from England to Japan. We compete with national and worldwide magazines and have been self-supporting from the beginning.
We are very proud of our achievements and plan to carry on this tradition through every volume. Bittersweet has come a long way since Volume I, Number 1.
The upcoming issues will be no exception. We' 11 learn much about the land. Missouri is the transition from trees to prairies and we' 11 learn all about a prairie's habitat and history, how the Ozark land was surveyed from the 1820s through the 1850s, the changes a sawmill has had and made and the history of the town of Eldridge.
Personalities are a favorite with our readers and us. We feel these people have something to share. We' 11 visit with Stella Muench, Jim Chastain, Clarice Splan, J. W. Lawson and talk with some fiddlers and listen to their old-time music on a sound sheet.
We' 11 learn how to do many things. Melba Woodrum will show us how to huck weave and we' 11 learn how to brand cattle and make old fashion buggies. In addition, we will enjoy some winter fun, continue with happy holidays and much, much more.
We thank the following for their donations to Bittersweet.
Almon Atkins, Springfield, Missouri
Donna F. Hudson, springfield, Missouri
Eldon Kissell, Youngstown, Ohio
Mrs. Robert Staley, St. Louis, Missouri
Mrs. Ralph Meierding, Billings, Montana
Donald Lance, Columbia, Missouri
Jim O'Quinn, Lebanon, Missouri
Mrs. R. P. Stringham, Lawrence, Kansas
Gretchen Pillet, Calumet City, Illinois
Francis H. Balcom, M.D., Anaheim, Calif.
Ray Cahill, Fowler, Colorado
Fay Akey, Arlington, Texas
Robert Doorn, Bruce, Wisconsin
James E. Hudson, West Simsbury, Conn.
Nettie O. Dodge, Wheatland, Wyoming
Miriam Gray, Nevada, Missouri
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.