Special thanks to Cave Moon Press Publisher Doug Johnson for his business and artistic visions. And to Artist Alfredo Arreguin for Central Heating’s cover image, The Magic Garden. It invites readers inside.

Betty Scott
Gary Wade, Photographer

As a sophomore attending college away from home for the first time, I enrolled in a business education course. I’d harbored secret dreams of becoming  a writer but in those days women didn’t have as many options. On the first day of class I noticed only one other female in the cavernous classroom. The professor singled me out. He asked:

What are you doing here?

Five words embedded inside me.

After class, I headed to student services for academic guidance.

“Relax,” the counselor said. “Students like you find a spouse and marry right after graduation.”

She advised me to drop business in favor of home economics. I’d learn useful skills like how to cook and sew.

So I dutifully sewed my first apron. The next step was to hem it. I didn’t notice until I stood up that I’d hemmed it to my mini-skirt.

Once again, the professor singled me out:

What are you doing here?

Words threaded together, sharp as a needle. Like life, I thought.

I was also taught to write academic papers. My professors scribbled their feedback. Each comment echoed:

What are you doing here?

Four years later I graduated (with a BA in English) and promptly got married. I also landed a job as secretary for The Wenatchee World newspaper.

One day I submitted a funny story about my son to the newspaper’s entertainment editor. Unceremoniously, he scrounged up a photo of me and published the piece under Musings by Betty Scott. It looked like a column. Being a columnist was a coveted role, the closest I’d ever been to being seen as a writer.

The following week I wrote before my husband woke up. I wrote before my children got dressed. I wrote before I fed them and took them to school or day care. I wrote during breaks at the office. I wrote, revised and turned in a second story by the 9:15 a.m. press deadline, thinking the effort deserved a brass band. The editor accepted it without fanfare.

Betty ScottWhat are you doing here?

I’m writing.


I scribble them down. I build “cottages” for waking thoughts and feelings. Without a blueprint, I pour the foundation, nail studs, put up walls, and decorate the living space with tea cups and oak table. Or I take readers out into the garden. I write poems, stories, and short memoirs: Lifesongs with maternal sounds. Words threaded together. For words are free, rich with history, fragile and strong as the people I meet.

Isn’t it fascinating how words threaded together carry meanings, dependent upon inflection. Emphasize any of the five words in the phrase, “What are you doing here?” and the meaning changes.

WHAT are you doing here?
What ARE you doing here?
What are YOU doing here?
What are you DOING here?
What are you doing HERE?

Change it to “What am I doing here?” or “What are we doing here?” and the purpose becomes reflective of self-exploration.

Change the sentence to “What are our hands doing in this soil?” or  “What are our souls doing in this soil?”  and the words become metaphysical.

Words travel through time and space, through oral traditions and silent readings. Words hold up the world. Despite obstacles, through the centuries, writers and readers have gathered together to hold words sacred.

Thank You

I thank you who’ve crossed the mind’s divides and found your way here.Betty Scott Business Card A special thanks to visitors who ask, “What is Betty doing here?”  and decide to buy a copy of Central Heating anyway.


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