Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Francena H. Arnold’

Guidepostsnot-my-willGreat writing reaches across the miles and years, touching people in ways, places and times the author could never anticipate.

I remember as a boy visiting a Tokyo bookstore how impressed I was when I saw the name of my grandmother, Francena H. Arnold, in English letters down the spine of a book whose title and contents were all in Japanese. That was Grandma’s work reaching across the miles, around the world from the Chicago home where she wrote her books in longhand.

The “Tillie’s Treasure” item above, from this month’s Guideposts, a devotional magazine, shows how Grandma’s writing reached across the years:

Tillie … gave me Francena Arnold’s classic Christian novel Not My Will, about a young woman struggling to make the right choices in life. Tillie thought it would help me in my faith journey. It not only did that, but this first “grown up” novel in my collection inspired me to become a writer myself.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

This continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms.

An effective newsroom leader understands how much creative control and authorship means to journalists.

My grandmother, Francena H. Arnold, was a novelist who once rejected a publisher’s suggested story line, saying, “I could no more write someone else’s story than I could birth someone else’s baby.” Journalists don’t have quite the freedom Grandma did to choose their own stories, but they share her parental and possessive feelings about their work. Good editors respect and nurture this sense of authorship even while they have to provide more direction to their staff’s work than Grandma allowed. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Francena H. and Frank M. Arnold, my grandmother and grandfather

Francena H. and Frank M. Arnold, my grandmother and grandfather

Whenever I’m getting a little too full of myself, I can find some humble pie by recalling or looking up what my grandmother accomplished. I ate a lot of humble pie recently learning in greater detail than I ever knew about her achievements.

Grandma wrote her first novel, Not My Will, at age 58 (my age right now). And her books have sold more than 1.2 million copies. But until recently, she didn’t have a Wikipedia entry. Now she does. I wrote it.

Writing a Wikipedia entry – or at least editing a Wikipedia page – had long been on my someday-to-do list (a list on which I make meager progress). I was thinking I might write one about Bob Moore, a World War II hero from Villisca, Iowa, whose life (and the lives of some family members) I chronicled in 1997 for the Omaha World-Herald and updated in 2008 for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He’s certainly worthy of a Wikipedia entry, but no one’s written it yet (and few know more about him than I do). But I hadn’t gotten around to it. Maybe I will someday.

My prod to become a Wikipedia contributor came in a series of emails starting last October. First an academic researcher contacted me (having found a brief mention of Grandma on my blog). The researcher’s work hasn’t been published yet, so he asked me not to use his name. So I’ve edited his email slightly to respect that request:
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Francena H. Arnold

Francena H. Arnold

Here’s my original draft of my Wikipedia entry about my grandmother, Francena H. Arnold. To leave it sort of in the format of a Wikipedia entry, I have left the footnotes as footnotes rather than linking in context (except to other Wikipedia entries). I also have added individual sales figures for her books and translation information, which I actually received after doing the first draft and discuss in my post about the process of getting Grandma into Wikipedia.

My cousin, Jan Worgul Ackerson edited this before I submitted to Wikipedia. I have used some of her edits, but have not made most of the cuts she suggested because I decided to use Grandma’s full story here (as full as I could tell it anyway). Jan correctly suggested that it probably needed to be more dispassionate for Wikipedia. While I did that for Wikipedia, I have not tried to tone down any passion here (for what it’s worth, I thought I was being pretty dispassionate when I wrote it, but Jan’s pretty passionate about Grandma, so I accept her judgment. You may see some hints of affection or admiration). I also added photos, which I have not done in the Wikipedia entry (if you’d like to help me figure out how to upload photos to Wikipedia, please contact me.)

Introduction

Francena H. Arnold was a 20th century novelist, author of the Christian fiction classic Not My Will and nine other books.1

Not My Will has sold more than 500,000 copies2 and has been translated into at least seven languages. Published by Moody Press, it remains in print and available as an electronic book 66 years after it was first published. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Harriet Arnold, 1940s

As I considered writing something about Mom or Mimi for Mother’s Day, I initially dismissed the idea as not right for my blog.

I generally blog about digital journalism and innovation in the media, and though I occasionally veer into personal topics, I usually try to relate them to journalism in some way. As I considered the moms in my life, I noticed quickly how much my career owes to both of them. So here are five reasons (I could have picked more, but five is a good number):

  1. Mom always had newspapers around the house and she always read them. She always talked about the news and often about the journalists reporting the news.
  2. Mom encouraged me to read and write and set me up with a great first teacher (Mrs. E.R. Shaw) when I was too ill to start school as a young boy when we lived in England. (more…)

Read Full Post »

When I read Philip Lee’s ignorant anti-Twitter rant, Notes on the triviality of Twitter, my first reaction was that I needed to write another anti-anti-Twitter-rant rant.

But I’m getting tired of those rants (maybe you are, too). I previously noted how Leonard Pitts, Edward Wasserman and Paul Farhi wrote foolish things about Twitter without bothering to learn what they were talking about. Do I repeat myself just because Lee has echoed their whining, or could I find something new to say?

Lee did say lots of ignorant things about Twitter, but they are things I’ve addressed before, so I won’t dwell on them here. He has tried Twitter out (barely, 34 tweets in nearly a year), which the others noted above had not.

I want to address Lee’s concern about Twitter and storytelling: (more…)

Read Full Post »

This week my boss, Gazette Co. CEO Chuck Peters, “tagged” me in a Facebook application called “25 Random Things.”

As closely as I work with Chuck, I learned some interesting things about him through the 25 facts he posted. I saw that I was supposed to post my own 25 random things, then tag Chuck and 24 other people. I didn’t mind sharing some facts about myself, but the tagging process felt a bit like a chain letter. Plus I was busy when Chuck tagged me, so I knew it would be a few days before I would be able to compile my 25 random facts.

Then yesterday I saw that John Robinson, editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., noted in his Twitter feed that 25 Random Facts was “officially dead” now that a newspaper (the Charlotte Observer) had written about it. The story explained both the upside I had noted, learning interesting facts about people you sort of knew, as well as the downside, that chain letter thing. (more…)

Read Full Post »