‘A Daisy a Day’

Belleville author’s story published in new collection

BELLEVILLE — It’s a very short story, but it tells a tale of a lifetime of love between Gail E. Strock, of Belleville, and her husband.

That story, titled “A Daisy a Day,” appears in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Miracle of Love,” scheduled for release in bookstores on June 5.

The newest entry in the wildly popular Chicken Soup series contains “101 stories about hope, soul mates and new beginnings,” as promised on the cover. Strock’s piece is No. 100, found in the final chapter, “Keeping the Love Alive.”

The book also contains brief biographies about each of the contributors, and describes Strock as a published freelance writer and retired editor who “enjoys finding humor in everyday experiences with her family and friends.”

The author never intended to make a career of writing; it just worked out that way.

“In high school, I knew I liked to write, but I never considered writing as a career,” she said in an interview.

“Then, after marrying and moving back to Mifflin County, and as a mom at home with two small children, I decided to answer an ad for a local correspondent for ‘Lancaster Farming’ newspaper. I wrote for them for 12 years.

“During that time, I also wrote for the County Observer, the Big Valley Area Business Association, WKVA Radio, and several regional newspapers and magazines.”

She also had a short story published at that time, and was published in “Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul” in 2002.

“In October 2006, I had a ‘View from the Pew’ printed in the ‘Link,’ a publication of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. The article described all of the mission work our church had been doing,” Strock said.

After a few years as a freelancer, Strock, wanting to improve her writing skills, enrolled in a 400-level editing course at Penn State “and learned that I really liked editing.”

She answered an ad for a part time editor at Penn State, and took the job.

“It didn’t make sense for me to travel over the mountain every day for a part time job. But after several months, I was hired full time. I worked for 16 years and retired a year ago,” Stock said.

“I would like to say that I had carefully thought out my career and had set solid goals that I achieved consistently, but that’s not the case,” Strock said. “I followed my gut instinct, which I really believe was, and still is, God gently nudging me in a certain direction. I think he formulated my career in spite of me. The saying ‘Let Go and Let God’ really proved true. Like a good story, I’m curious to find out what happens next!”

Strock said her favorite quote, by Stephen King, is: “If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”

So she keeps doing it.

A desire to be published again in Chicken Soup led her to the company’s website, which lists the topics of their upcoming books, and offers suggestions about what makes a good true story. “As for this story about my husband, I knew my subject very well — we’ve been married for 36 years,” Strock said. “He’s a really good guy and I wanted to honor him.”

Strock still writes creatively when she has time. “If an opportunity comes up and it feels right, I’ll go with it,” she said.

Currently Strock is busy editing for Colorado State University, and writing blogs, websites, and print collateral and editing for Ideal Image Marketing in State College.

“Writing and editing come from different parts of the brain,” Strock said.

“Many writers can’t edit, and many editors can’t write. As an editor, I’m not a grammar whiz, but there are a lot of style and grammar resources where one can find answers. But I believe my writing instinct makes me a better editor,” she said. “The writing informs the editing.”