Works and Days



Publishing and Education with Ruth Werner: Serena Offenbaker, Winter Shadow 2016

For my Winter Shadow, I stayed with Ruth Werner and her family. Ruth works from home where she juggles various projects related to her role as an author, artist, and educator, specializing in pathology and massage therapy. I had the fortune of getting to know her and her family, while getting some insight into publishing. Unfortunately, due to some health related concerns I was unable to engage with the opportunity as fully as I would have liked.

I did, nonetheless, have a rewarding experience. Speaking to Ruth about the intricacies of her work helped me realize the various approaches one can have into the field of education, despite my previous misconceptions of its limits. Seeing the way that she interacted with the field and others in it showed me how I might incorporate my own interests, skills, and passions into my educational pursuits without having to sacrifice different aspects of my identity. For example, Ruth talked about how she majored in theater at Reed but that her time here “made it clear I [Ruth] could go into any direction I wanted” stating that she “never felt constrained to follow any particular path” because she was supported by Reed to study anything that made me passionate and to trust that that would work out. And despite theater belonging to an entirely, seemingly disparate realm, she believes that her practice in the area helped her develop skills that were transferable to her role as an educator. Together we spoke at length about the importance and marketability of effective communication, which gave me confidence about moving forward into the world of publishing.

Ruth and I also talked about the significance of having vision, of being imaginative, problem solving, and being open to failure. She gave me some very valuable advice about pursuing publishing, which I’d like to share for others who might be pursuing it as well:

Textbooks and the Oregon Coast: Winter Externship, Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin, junior English major, participated in a winter externship on the Oregon coast with Ruth Werner, author. Nathan is also a recent winner of this summer’s President’s Summer Fellowship, to pursue poetry writing in the desert.

I'm used to textbooks. I've been buying them now for over four years.

I'll continue buying them for another one to three years, depending on
what I do after Reed. I don't think much about where these books come
from. I've cursed when the edition I need is a hundred dollars and the
previous edition is fifty cents. I've cursed louder after finding out
I could've used the older edition after buying the new one. I've also
been fond of textbooks. I had a history text at my community college
that surprised me with the effectiveness of its question and answersunset format. I do love books, but that love has never extended to textbooks. It still doesn't, but now I know a good deal more about where they come from.