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The Edge Outer Banks 2006.2007

Linda LaubyIn Praise of Ticks

Lyme disease may be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Granted, that’s not what one would expect to hear, but it’s true. This illness not only had the power to incapacitate me, but it also changed my life – for the better. Prior to June of 2005 I was a workaholic. Lunch at my desk if I didn’t have a noon meeting. Weekend off? Ah, rarely. Marriage? Nope, too busy. Glued to the computer after dinner? You bet, and usually until after midnight.

And then, while attending Publishing University in New York, the symptoms settled in: sore throat, blurred vision, aching everything, fever, chills, disorientation, unbearable weariness, an inability to sleep. Most unsettling was an abrupt diminishment of cognitive abilities. For the next few months, I’d forget my telephone number, call people by the wrong name, not know which road to take to my house, confuse words that once peppered my vocabulary. My book-a-week reading habit came to a sudden halt when I couldn’t concentrate on a single sentence.

Thankfully, my staff jumped in and took over. No friends could be dearer, more helpful, more supportive or more caring. While I spent the next six months recovering, they proved that they could pretty much run the company without me. While I kept dropping the ball, they kept picking it up. When once I might have been resentful to hand over responsibilities, I was now incredibly grateful.

In conjunction with my third intensive bout of antibiotics and a doctor’s admonition to slow down, I took an extended vacation, attending the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California, touring Sonoma and Napa valleys, and exploring the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona. At the Bioneers Conference, I made a commitment to take the company in a more environmentally aware direction; in wine country, I rediscovered my agricultural background; in Arizona, I decided to relinquish some of my responsibilities and hire more staff. The trip was a life-changing experience, and best of all, I began to feel better.

Since our last issue, we’ve added Molly Harrison as an editorial assistant and Amy Huggins as a part-time consultant. We’ve also partnered with Independent Publishers Group (IPG), an amazing company that is now distributing our books to a worldwide market. Long-time Outer Banks Press staff members Greg Bailey, Sara Birkemeier, George Scott, John Gaw, Steve Alterman and Gayle Tiller have remained as invaluable as ever, along with honorary staffers Madeline Bailey and Lynne Alterman.

Great challenges often come with great gifts. Remember to work less and create more – whether it be music, art, food, poetry or paper airplanes – and tell your friends how much you love them.


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