SIDNEY — Three writers with ties to the Sidney Daily News have essays in a book recently published by the Edison State Community College English and Art departments.
Contributing columnist Christina Ryan Claypool, of Troy, and contributing writer Paula Frew, of Sidney, are two of them. The third, Betty Paulus, of Russia, is the only one among them who is not a professional writer. At the Sidney Daily News, she is a media consultant and advertising salesperson.
But just because Paulus is not a paid writer doesn’t mean that she hasn’t been honing her craft for decades. She has.
Even in elementary school, she was writing poems. As an adult, she wrote short stories to illustrate lessons for the children in her sabbath school classes at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Piqua.
“I would pick a familiar Biblical story, use scripture, and then relate it to everyday life. Some things were based on things that happened when I was a child. Some were fiction,” she said. She also wrote fictional pieces for adults at the church that were delivered as adult sabbath remarks during services. She presented them about once a month for 15 years.
“Those were the people who kept encouraging me to write,” she said of the Piqua church’s congregation. But church-goers weren’t her only audience.
“When I was a classroom teacher (she taught kindergarten for 12 years at Russia Local School), I wrote stories for my students,” she said.
When the departments at Edison State hosted a reception to announce publication of “Excursions: A Literary and Photography Journal,” March 19, Paulus was one of four writers invited to read her work there.
Paulus’s essay, “A Most Unusual Teacher” is about a blind pony who taught her lessons when she was a child.
“We selected interesting and well polished poetry, short stories and personal essays that were under 3,000 words, works with a sense of literary unity. We were particularly interested in writers and photographers from the communities surrounding Edison State, but we did include writers and photographers from other regions of the country, too. So, the pool of submissions were sought from writers at Edison State, Miami County and beyond,” said “Excursions” editor and Edison State Associate Professor of English William Loudermilk.
“Excursions” includes the works of some 70 writers and photographers, including a past poet laureate of Kentucky and Pulitzer Prize nominee, Lee Pennington; retired Edison State English faculty and much published poet Cathryn Essinger; poet Jane Kretschmann; coordinator of the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame James B. Goode; University of Arkansas Press Miller Williams Poetry Prize finalist Roy Bentley and current Edison State English professor and writer Stephen Marlowe, who is a graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
Paulus saw a notice about the opportunity in a newsletter put out by the Piqua YWCA.
“I held onto it for awhile. I got close to the deadline. The type of things I write, being morally or scripturally based, you have to find the right market,” she said. She selected two stories and a poem that she had previously written and sent them off.
“I thought, ‘Why not?’” she said. She learned just a day or two before the reception that one of her essays had been accepted. Then, she was invited to read it aloud during the reception.
“I was kind of proud that (Loudermilk) asked me,” Paulus said. Loudermilk and Essinger each read from their own entries and Essinger also read a poem by the late Rebecca A. Ault, a former Edison State English instructor to whom the book is dedicated.
“Excursions” is available to purchase at a price of $44.83 per copy at www.bookemon.com.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.