I call myself "an independent professional writer." I provide communications services to area companies and organizations and write business profiles and features for a handful of area publications. I researched, wrote and edited Through Their Eyes, A Story of Doylestown Hospital for the institution's 75th anniversary in 1998. In 2007 I interviewed, researched and crafted a written document that pulled together the model for community-to-community disaster relief developed by the BucksMont Katrina Relief Project (BMKP).
My first journalism class was taught by Diane Whitehead during my junior year at Central Bucks High School, where she showed us how to put together the school's Chatterbux newspaper three times a year. My last journalism class was taught by Miss Whitehead the next year. Despite the execrable product we turned out, I must have learned quite a bit about communications from her, because I've been supporting myself from that foundation for more than 30 years.
My skills, however, were fine-tuned by an exceptional editor ("…an editor comes down from the hills after the battle and shoots the wounded." —Rita Mae Brown) and by the seat-of-the-pants learning that comes from teaching. My memorable editor was the gentle and encouraging Gary Andrews, who held things together at The Free Press when it was a little community-minded daily in Quakertown.
The teaching-learning came during three years of leading in-house writing skills workshops for middle and upper management at companies around the country. That experience taught me to edit on-the-fly by listening to participants read their samples aloud and how to get home again by always writing down where I left my car in long-term parking at the Philly airport. (Picture me dragging my luggage among acres of vehicles at 1am. Once was plenty.)
Most people need to know that, due to an unfortunate mishap at birth—my parents expected their fourth child to be a boy and took five days to decide to give me my mother's name—I carry a "real name" that doesn't feel like me (so I've amended it) and a silly nickname that is comfortingly familiar. Please feel free to call me Cookie.
I am Fourth of Five, mother of three girls, GranCookie to four boys and a girl. My household includes my youngest and her baby son, a hand-me-down part Chihuahua named Zorro, a cat-in-law named Raleigh who acts like a cat only when it suits him and a sweet Netherland Dwarf bunny, Abernathy. We used to have mice, but Raleigh's seen to that. Although I grew up in Plumstead Township, I lived briefly in Arizona and Oregon and for a decade and a half in Quakertown. I'm a Doylestown Borough resident now, living across from the Mercer Museum.
My interests and passions include local history (Doan outlaws and the ordinary families of our community who did extraordinary things), architecture (Oscar Martin, Thomas Cernea), sustainability (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance and local farmers), Quakerism (Doylestown Friends Meeting), swimming, walking, ice cream, gardening, knitting socks and reading Brit mysteries and YA fantasy.
Because I believe in the power of a cohesive, informed community, I look forward to helping develop Doylestown Patch into a resource with a big voice. This is going to be fun!