Field Trip!

Well, I’m happy to report that some good came of those dreadful early-March “snow days” of cabin fever and peach-tree panic. Trapped in the house with nothing to do except either polish the silver[plated] salad tongs and candlesticks, or stop procrastinating and write, I actually wrote. (You knew I wasn’t gonna lean toward the silver polish, didn’t you?)

“Forced” writing time led to progress in my work, which sparked enthusiasm, which generated momentum. I found all sorts of stuff to blog about, and drafted a handful of posts in advance. Since then I’ve got back to publishing every week–a vast improvement over the winter, let me tell you.

Even my fiction series started happening again. When I passed the halfway point in Book One, I started itching to do some groundwork for my future Author Website.

Hmm… I’d need some decent photos of myself, against backgrounds that complement my series.

About this time I realized that by some amazing coincidence, the Dogwood Festival was about to start in Palestine, Texas–my hometown and the setting for the series.

Stuart: Capturing the best of Palestine

Stuart: Capturing the best of Palestine


Enter Stuart Whitaker, Palestine attorney/photographer/goldmine of local information. I had picked his brain back in July when I was looking for quirky things about town that I could use in the stories.

So I messaged him on Facebook: “Are the dogwoods starting to bloom? Do you know a freelance photographer I could hire to take some pictures of me with dogwoods, for my website?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “Me.”

On the appointed Saturday I parked on the west side of the courthouse square. Stuart crossed the street toward me, carrying a camera with a lens roughly the size of my office wastebasket. And off we went…

Here's one of Stuart's finest photos of the historic Anderson County Courthouse.

Here’s one of Stuart’s finest photos of the historic Anderson County Courthouse.

Seriously, the man knows everything about our home town. Knew which houses had pink vs. white dogwood trees, and which were vacant. Knew every single person we saw out on the street. Related bits of history about the buildings we used as backgrounds, while adjusting camera settings.

With characteristic generosity and enthusiasm he didn’t charge me for the nearly-an-hour he spent tramping around with me, scoping backgrounds and taking photos.

He didn’t even let me buy him lunch. He said he didn’t have time because he had a civic event to photograph. Besides, “I just like to help people out, and anything I can do to promote Palestine, well…” he shrugged.

Boy, this series better be good. And I think it will be, thanks to the support and interest people like Stuart have shown.

They inspire me. They make me realize that I’ve chosen the perfect setting for my fiction. And they remind me that everybody has a story.

Thanks for reading,

PS: Thank you again, Stuart!
PPS: You can see more of Stuart’s work on his Facebook page.

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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5 Responses to Field Trip!

  1. Anonymous says:

    He is wonderful several yrs back he came to the cartmell Home to capture a picture for me 5 generations of woman the pic is priceless to me My grandmother passed several months after that pic. Thanks Stu…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jodyo70 says:

    Well, so where’s the photo of YOU my dear? Do I have to wait for the website to be up? Probably…. :-)_


  3. Reblogged this on Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story and commented:

    Greetings, friends!

    After a couple of busy weeks with company and extra activities, I’m going to immerse myself in my fiction project now. For motivation, I went back to this post from a couple of years ago.

    I share it here for your enjoyment.


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