long and short form writing
The title is self-explanatory. Here are a few select pieces of my writing musings. Enjoy!
World’s Fastest Pumpkin Carver at the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta
(writing for a local newspaper in Oregon)
Tim Pate featured two of his large pumpkin carvings at the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta at the Tualatin Commons on Oct. 20. Pate has been pumpkin carving professionally for 19 years. Children swirled around Pate’s large carving of Frankenstein as they eagerly asked about his pumpkins.
“It is a real pumpkin and weighs about 250 pounds,” said Pate. “You can do it too!”
Pate has been attending the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta for 14 years. His designs are have been featured in Culture Magazine and Portland Mercury. Pate’s legacy began at a young age as his great grandfather taught him the art of carving before delving into his own glass blowing studio and pumpkin carving. His eyes danced as he peered over his glasses and explained how his pumpkin carving obsession began.
“It started with wood carving. I’m a seventh generation carver,” said Pate. “I learned how from my great grandfather. When I was 14 years old and he was 85, I asked him to teach me. He said there was only one rule, ‘If you’re in a hurry, you’re doing it wrong.’”
Even though Pate is not featured as a Guinness World Record holder, he by far surpassed the current quickest pumpkin carving record.
“I have the fastest time to carve one ton of pumpkin. The old record was 4 hours 17 minutes and 26 seconds to carve one ton of pumpkin. I did it in 19 minutes and 24 seconds,” said Pate.
Pate is retired and lives in Netarts, Oregon, and enjoys relaxing days off by going fishing. However, he enthusiastically attends many events like Sauvie Island’s annual pumpkin patch.
“Do your very best every chance you get,” explained Pate. “If they want me to do a Picasso give me 15 minutes, and if they want me to do a Michelangelo give me a couple of hours.”
Pate has watched the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta expand and grow over the past 14 years. The event has grown to include more people, events, sponsors, and booths. The Regatta includes what Pate would say are the “wackiest races” as people climb inside giant pumpkins to race across the lake. Pumpkin racing is a large draw for the crowd along with pie eating contests, pumpkin golfing, clown shows, live music, and food booths.
Pate points back to his pumpkin in amazement as people continue to flood around his work.
“That’s just a pumpkin,” laughs Pate. “I love the kids! I try to bring my best every time I’m in public. That’s my job is to make myself and everybody happy. It’s a blast for me.”
The West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta is hosted annually at the Tualatin Commons at 8325 SW Nyberg St., Tualatin, Oregon. Catch the show next year as the 1,000 pound pumpkins race around the lake.
Stur-dy Woodworking: Cindy Seger shares the story behind her home woodworking shop
(writing for a local newspaper in Oregon)
Cindy Seger built her in-home woodworking studio, Stur-dy Custom Craft, out of her garage located at 12825 SW Grant Ave. in Tigard, OR. All of her pieces are custom made and carefully crafted. Over the past two months, she remodeled the inside of her space to fit her growing woodworking demands. Seger would call her woodworking a hobby, but it may soon evolve into a full-time career.
“I go to work with perfect french tip nails. Then I come home from work, and put my bandana on,” explained Seger. “I did everything from ground up here. I named my business Stur-dy, because my work is built sturdy just like me. It’s like heaven in my shop, and my woman cave.”
Growing up, Seger was always sketching and reinventing how to arrange a space. At age 13, Seger was shaping how her mother’s garden would look.
“I told my mom our yard was so boring. I grabbed a piece of paper and started designing the whole yard space,” said Seger.
Seger’s passion for woodworking started at a young age by watching her father.
“My dad worked in the lumber field forever,” added Seger. “I feel closer to my dad when I work out here. I lose myself. It’s the best therapy ever.”
All of Seger’s wood carving instruments have their correct place, and even her wood is stacked neatly categorized along the length of her wall. A black walnut, Seger’s favorite, sits right in front of her as she works. The majority of her wood comes from her visits to her seventh grade teacher’s farm. She selects from a variety of cedar, black walnut, ponderosa pine, and maple burl.
“I’ll drive up ten miles into the mountains to Mr. Pender’s property,” said Seger. “For us kids, he was like a father or grandpa you didn’t have. Mr. Pender takes me on his John Deere tractor to select wood, and he says to get whatever I need.”
Although Seger is humble, her work speaks of her talent as she receives high praise from friends and neighbors.
Rick Smith found Seger’s work through a friend and asked for a project crafted by Seger to surprise his wife. “The creativity and craftsmanship I received was honestly shocking. It was beautiful and we absolutely love it,” said Smith.
Seger’s most recent design was a lifesize perfume bottle with shards of glass she hand crushed. Although her designs take some time, Seger savors every moment she gets to spend in her shop.
In two years, she has made over 50 pieces during her evenings and weekends. Seger’s hope is to own her own shop and create an awe factor in her work. Her goal is to make this woodworking hobby a career and work all day in her shop to create wine racks, home decor and more.
For more of Seger’s work, visit: www.Stur-dycustomcraft.com. If you have questions or would like to contact Seger, call: 971-217-4755.
View more Tigard Life stories at: tigardlife.com
Earning My Toolbelt
(writing for pleasure and commemorating my dad)
I don’t own a toolbelt. My dad wore his oil stained, nails-filled belt proudly for years. Growing up, I didn’t relish helping my dad with projects beyond my regular chores. A scattering of conversations about faith, school and dreams have seasoned our relationship. Years have passed since I made time to reconnect with my dad. It’s like we forgot how to speak the same language. On one semi-sunny Saturday morning, I found a new avenue for conversation by talking about tools with my dad.
I walked around to the backyard through the open garage door. My heart pounding as I resolved to surprise my dad with my hands readily gloved. I walked and stumbled into the newly seeded ground right as my dad looked up. “Don’t step…there,” my dad said. It was too late. The green sprigs of grass sunk into the ground with my muddy shoes.
“Surprise!” I blurred out. I felt awkward trying to cover up my mess just like I did when I was a little girl. It was apparent smoothing over the dirt with my hands wouldn’t breathe life back into the buried seeds. “I came to help,” I reassured. My dad’s face softened as he peered back down at the ground. I stepped closer.
He walked with me around the correct side of the yard and began to explain his project of the day. There would be boxes going here and there being filled with all kinds of plants. I felt trusted with my dad’s ideas as he laid out the blueprints to build boxes.
He dug through a bin and found new gloves, ear plugs and an extra pair of protection glasses from his plastic bin of supplies. These would be my honorary tools for the day.
My dad passed over the handmade garden seed spreader made from an old gallon container with holes punctured in the bottom. I was assigned the task of reseeding the yard. I smiled as we both knew why the ground needed help.
I finished in time to begin learning how to build the garden boxes. My dad moved swiftly and mumbled a few numbers as he asked me to do simple math. I was never good at addition. My inner child stuttered, “Three or, wait, two.” Neither were correct. I understood now how my dad was meant to be a math teacher. He even got his degree and was a few months shy of being certified to teach. The demands of providing for his eight kids kept him from fulfilling his dream, but he never stopped teaching.
After we correctly confirmed the measurements, he asked me if I knew how to use a skilsaw. My rusty memory suggested he had once shown me, along with other useful knowledge of how to change a car’s oil and tires.
My dad calmly re-explained step-by-step how to position the saw on the wood, why the wood needed to be propped up and when to turn it on. The blade roared and kicked back at me like a gun being shot. It couldn’t intimidate me, because I had my dad by my side. Just like the dark or riding a bike. His broad, athletic frame and soft tone reassured me. I can do this.
I let the blades spin. I looked up at my dad, and I felt tough. I looked it. Neighbors drove by. I thought, “I’m a woman with a power tool. Yeah, my dad taught me.”
He challenged me to go faster. Six seconds to saw through a board in a straight line. Just like him. I didn’t breathe. I steadied my gaze on the board willing it into submission under my hand. It moved, I pressed down. The small piece fell to the ground. I inhaled the particles swirling past my eyes. My dad handed me a drill, and I began to assemble the boxes.
My arms grew tired, but my dad kept going. He had always worked hard. My childhood home, playhouse and play structure were his masterpieces. As more kids were born, he added more rooms to our home. Five bathrooms and seven bedrooms made room for my seven older brothers and sisters. I don’t know where he found the energy to build alongside working a full-time job and being a dad. Maybe it’s in his DNA.
My grandfather and great grandfather were farmers. My great grandfather broke his back falling in a shipyard. As the story goes, he was strapped to a board for weeks to let his back heal. My dad said his hands were twice the thickness of his and just as tough. My grandfather climbed ladders, went off roading and rode tractors until the day he died.
I felt my dad’s hard-working blood flowing in my veins. His thoughts becoming my thoughts. We worked together like aged craftsmen on an assembly line. It rained. We kept sawing, screwing and stacking. The large boxes being piled on top of each other like a collection of books.
My dad and I talked in a different language now. I was understanding what made my dad’s heart beat. He doesn’t like to sit and talk about feelings, unlike his five daughters. He takes action. As we finished, I could see it in his eyes. His face wrinkled to reveal a smile. He was proud of me.
We brushed the dust from our clothes and swept the ground. My ponytail and sweaty shirt were my badge of honor. I was my father’s daughter. This was a moment to treasure. Maybe one day I would wear my own toolbelt too.
A writer is born at multnomah university
(a test interview as a part of my being interviewed)
Olivia Lovern works as a content editor and copywriter for Multnomah University (MU). A typewriter sits in her office as a nod to her family’s long history of writers. “I would say I feel nostalgic being here. I laugh because I feel like I’ve been here a long time,” Lovern said. “I started going here back in high school and didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
Lovern’s future was decided after hearing one alumni’s story. “On a whim, I was curious and went to the journalism house. An alumni, who was a reporter, sharing about his work,” Lovern said. “One of the things I liked most about journalism was learning new things all of the time.”
Lovern continued at MU as a journalism major. She stayed at MU for the personal touch and individual attention given in her classes. “My professor was very soft spoken and meek. We connected well,” Lovern said. Meeting with professors for feedback was essential to Lovern’s success. “Someone said if you take advantage of what’s available to you, then the world opens up,” Lovern explained.
Since graduating, Lovern was hired at MU as a content editor and copywriter. She sees how her education prepared her for her career. “My boss, when I first started working for Multnomah, worked in the newspaper business for over 20 years,” Lovern said. “Hearing his feedback felt very validating. Little things would pop up that I would remember I used in the journalism program. Sometimes you don’t really know until you’re out there working.”
The college began with a focus solely on ministry and switched to include multiple majors as a certified university. Lovern is excited to be a part of the future of MU. “Now as we move forward, the vision is to keep offering programs students want that will equip them for a career,” Lovern said. “No matter if they’re a biologist or environmental scientist they can learn in this context of Christian education, and it can benefit not only their career but their personal life.”
(my passions illustrated in creative collective book)
My passions seep through every pen stroke, click of keys and words uttered. Thoughts are meaningful and inventive. I face risk and beam with courage. Passport in hand, camera around my neck, and muddy boots, I run through life with an even stride. Climbing, sometimes crawling, to the top. A view before me, my work behind, I look up and realize better views are still ahead. So, I walk, I crawl, I go on. A journey of reflection and risk. Above all learning, always learning.
i am a writer
(defining what a writer means to me)
I shoot for the bull’s eye.
I see the red and black center.
I won’t back down.
I will fire, because I am a warrior.
I know my feet are firm.
I know the movements.
I won’t back down.
I will stand, because I am a fighter.
I point straight.
I scribble softly.
I won’t back down.
I will inspire, because I am a writer.