Laura Burns

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Laura Burns

I found this bio that was sent in by Laura Burns to the TI-99 List Server on 02/25/1998.

I don't know how interesting this is, but I was born in Houston and went through public school there.

I went to The University of Texas at Austin and have a degree in journalism and did graduate work in English and philosophy. My husband and I lived in San Antonio for a while and then went to Calgary, Canada, where he worked as a psychotherapist in a treatment center for adolescents. We lived there eight years, and then after a nasty divorce and custody fight which made a Canadian legal journal (not the way anyone would want to achieve his or her 15 minutes of fame, I assure you -- I hope nothing so painful ever happens to any of you) I came back to Austin, Texas, with my younger son and started to try to get my life back together again. (My older son joined me four years later.)

I was doing odd jobs and freelance writing while looking for permanent employment after being out of the work force for some time; I felt I was doing better all the time, though. The freelance brought in enough more each month that I qualified for fewer food stamps each time, so I thought perhaps I would make it eventually somehow. Then I got a job as a copy editor on the Midland Reporter-Telegram and went out to West Texas. Before that, I had met John. I had filled in for him while he, the managing editor of the Round Rock Leader, was vacationing. Then I filled in for a reporter there who had to have an operation.

After I left, still living in Austin and freelancing, we started dating. After I went to Midland, he asked me to come back and move in with him. So six months after I finally got a job, I was back and jobless again.

I started freelancing and putting out applications again, and got a job as information specialist at the Texas Commission on Alcoholism, which I held for five years. Meantime, John had bought a computer.

I had checked out a book on doing newsletters, in hopes of finding some ways to improve my agency newsletter, but it was more how to start them up and manage them. So we started MICROpendium. Computing is and has been always more John's interest than mine. John traded computer consulting at the newspaper for being able to use their typesetting equipment, etc., after hours.

It grew so large I eventually had to quit my job and we had to buy our own equipment (now long gone), and we were involved in startups of two other publications. John had to quit his job. We finally got married after 10 years together (no sense rushing into things) and now have a certain respectability, though probably not much to brag about on the morals front.

The other publications were eventually sold; we had deals with partners that didn't exactly go our way. MICROpendium began to decline. We started looking for other jobs. John eventually went to work for Texas Department of Health. I went through a lot of frustration, but now have several steady customers for freelance copy editing and proofreading (better to freelance as an editor; freelancing as a writer requires too much creativity on those queries to editors, little left over for the actual writing).

My boys have degrees from UT in government and physics, respectively, and have applications in for law school and graduate school now. My great interest that has developed in the last few years is doing volunteer work with AIDS patients. My brother died of AIDS almost three years ago. I am co-team leader of an AIDS care team through the Interfaith Care Alliance, and we have had five "care partners" (never more than three at once). One moved away and two have died, the latest one in January. It is pretty intense volunteer work but I feel very drawn to it. Maybe it is a maternal outlet now that my boys are grown.

I also study voice. That's it, more or less. Enjoyed meeting many of you all in Lubbock.

Laura Burns