WEbooker of the WEek Hits the Inauguration

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WEbook is all about the presidential inauguration this week -- so it's only fitting that our WEbooker of the WEek, bekka, is spending the day in Washington, D.C.

Bekka first came to my attention as the author of "New York, New York: Start Spreading the News," an article in Ex-Pat Journal, one of two books green-lighted for publication from WEbook's second voting cycle. "New York, New York" tells the story of a Brit adjusting to life in the Big Apple, complete with amusing vocabulary mishaps.

A glance at Bekka's profile suggests that she has a lot of fascinating stories under her belt -- I, for one, would love to hear more about her evening with a member of Journey -- and according to her latest WEbook submission, she's part of the American story today. In "A Sigh of Relief," Bekka's contribution to WEbook's community-sourced history of the presidential inauguration, Jan 20 2009: True Stories, Real People, One Day, she writes of her pride in her adopted home on the day of Barack Obama's election -- and reveals that she and her husband will be attending the inauguration in Washington, D.C. today!

Bekka
We'll have to wait a day or two to read about Bekka's inauguration experiences. In the meantime, I asked her a few questions about writing, the ex-pat life, presidential politics, and more.

Q: What's
the brief history of your life? When did you start writing, and what has that
journey been like so far?


A: I grew up in Birmingham, England in what could be deemed a very normal
middle-class family. As a kid, I often made up stories of grandeur, involving
quasi-aristocratic families with absurd names and extravagant lives. I
sometimes wonder whether this was a result of all the historical stately homes
and museums we used to visit. Through my teens I kept personal diaries and
notebooks filled with angst-ridden poems and my philosophical musings
(philosophical here is used in its loosest sense). Since then I've written in
fits and spurts, mainly in the first-person and often to record the ongoing
drama of my life. Whilst most of my scribblings remain private, it has been
fantastic to get positive feedback for the few pieces I've shared on WEbook.


Q: In your Ex-Pat Journal essay, you write about adapting to life as a Brit  in New York City. How long
have you lived in New York now? Has anything changed since you wrote your
essay? What's the most important thing you've learned about yourself as a result of living abroad?



A: I've learned a great deal since I've lived here, but one of the things that
surprised me was how much more I am affected by the weather than I had ever
realized. This might seem trivial and also odd coming from a Brit. After all,
our mainstay of conversation is supposed to be the weather. However, it's a
much bigger deal that I would have anticipated. In Britain you can't plan a
summer barbecue or other outdoors event because you can never rely on the
weather to comply. Weddings can be interrupted by hail stones in June and rain
is the percussion accompaniment to most weeks. It is simply wonderful to live
in a place where sunshine is almost certain from May through to October. I love
eating al fresco on summer evenings and I adore the crisp coldness of winter
here. I truly believe that rubbish weather and lack of leisure time
options is why the Brits spend so much time in the pub!

Q: According to your Jan 20 essay, you and your husband will be in D.C. at the
inauguration and the ball. How did that come about,
and what are some of the practicalities involved?

A: My husband worked on the campaign throughout the 2008 primaries and the
presidential election. So, his staff connections have afforded us the
opportunity to be in DC for this historic event. We will fly down on Monday and
we're staying with a friend of my husband's who also worked on the campaign; the hotel option
is precluded by Washington having been booked out for weeks! The main
practicality has been finding something appropriate to wear to the ball. This ended up
being more stressful than buying an outfit for my wedding (although this really
says more about the low-key nature of our wedding). So, despite having an
Oscars-ready outfit and my husband resembling James Bond, we will be sleeping
on an air mattress that night!


Q: What impact, if any, do you think Barack Obama's presidency will have on the
part of the world where you come from?


A: Already, I sense that people back home in England and across Europe are once
again open to what America has to say. Bush and his politics created a sizable
divide which has begun to close since November. We live in a highly complex
world, but when you strip humans down to our most basic needs and drives we're
all essentially trying to create pleasant and easy lives for ourselves and our
loved ones. I think Obama's message helps us all remember that.


Q: If you could take anyone, living or dead, to the inauguration with you (in
addition to your husband, of course), who would you choose, and why?


A: There's an older black lady in my office with whom I share a daily interaction when I'm stopping by the cafeteria for lunch. We tend to chit-chat about all
sorts of topics, and during the election we talked a lot about Obama. She was a
staunch Hillary supporter and seemed unconvinced about Obama's abilities. She
even intimated that she might vote for McCain if Obama beat Hillary in the
Democratic nomination. In the end, she came around and voted for Obama in spite
of any misgivings.
She was truly overjoyed and proud when he won. When I told her we would be
attending the inauguration she was over the moon and her eyes turned misty with
a hint of tears. I would love for her to come to the ceremony -- she's a
wonderfully optimistic individual whose company I enjoy daily, and she's also
someone for whom this presidency carries much greater personal significance.


Got your own story about the inauguration? Submit to Jan 20 2009: True Stories, Real People, One Day!

Jan20
WEbook is accepting submissions of 250-500 words through midnight EST on January 21. Share your inauguration day experiences! The best essays will be published in a book which will be available for sale within weeks after the inauguration. Profits will benefit 826 National, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center. Be part of this community-sourced history!

WEbooker
of the WEek




Do you
have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook?
The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and
publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a
message with the title "WEbooker
of the WEek
" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will
have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.



Join WEbook Today



Sign up for WEbook today and
start reading, writing, and feedbacking.



-- Melissa







Introducing JohnnyWEbook and WoW pastelspring

JM_ProfilePic_small
Hi all. John here. I’m WEbook’s new in-house book maker and
editor. Before I get to the (much) more interesting stuff below, I wanted to
say a quick hello and introduce myself. As you might’ve already learned in the WEbook forums, I’ll be taking over for the venerable Melissa while
she finishes her latest masterwork, a mini-Melissa. Until she returns, I’ll be
keeping her seat warm as WEbook’s mascot-in-chief. I’ll be writing the blog,
giving feedback where I can, and shedding light on interesting projects (so
don’t hesitate to send something my way if the mood strikes ya). I go by
JohnnyWEbook and I think you’ll
find me the easygoing type, which means I’m always happy to hear from you with
suggestions, requests, or anything in between.



WoW! It's Pastelspring!



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I can’t think of better WoW for my first blog post than pastelspring, one of the early
contributors to WEbook’s exciting new project, Jan 20, 2009. If you haven’t heard about it yet, Jan 20, 2009 is WEbook’s first “community-sourced history” and will take the
form of a short-essay collection about the inauguration of Barack Obama as the
44th President of the United States. We’re accepting essays (250-500
words) until midnight on January 21st, so there’s still time to
submit your own inauguration story for consideration. After submissions close
on the 21st, we’re going to stand on the gas and get the book
produced and available in just a few short weeks.





But we need contributions, especially like the one from pastelspring. Entitled “A
Day in History,” she talks about her feelings as she watched Barack Obama’s
acceptance speech on the night of the election. “As he chastised the boos for
McCain by his faithful supporters, I cried. He spoke in a fatherly way to the
crowd about John McCain's accomplishments. He quietly, with dignity, explained
that he would soon win the respect of not only his supporters, but also of his
critics…Yes, all is possible now.”



As a resident of Virginia, one of the more hotly contested
states in the 2008 election, pastelspring
had a unique view of the campaign. Because of that—and of course her poignant
essay—we thought she’d be the ideal candidate to field a few of our typically
hard-hitting questions:





Q: You live close
to D.C. Will you be going to the inauguration on Jan 20? Why or why not?



A: I live in
Virginia, but I will not be going to the inauguration. I would rather share it
with the working-class people in my small town. The enthusiasm they express is
invigorating to me.



Q: If you could
invent a new Presidential cabinet position for yourself, what would it be?





A: Hmmm.....If I
could invent a new Presidential cabinet position? Well, I would love something
along the lines of encouraging people of color with limitless possibilities
that have been unavailable in the past.

Q: If you could go back in time and
vote in any Presidential election, which would it be? Why?



A: I wouldn't go
back in time, I think this presidential election is the most significant and
exciting time in history.



Q: What was your most profound
moment on WEbook?

A: I think it was when I wrote of bi-polar
disorder and people of all ages responded positively! Very encouraging feedback
and nurturing expressions. I found strength in numbers.



WEbooker
of the WEek



Do you have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook? The fantastickest feedbacker? Or
anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook
the best writing, reading, and publishing community on the internet? Drop me an
email, or visit my profile and send me a
message with the title "WEbooker
of the WEek
" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will
have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.



Join WEbook
Today



Sign up for
WEbook today
and start reading, writing, and feedbacking!

-- JohnnyWEbook



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