- ABOUT US
Karlie Tipton, Editorial Assistant
Photo by STEVEN WALKER
By Karlie Tipton
May 31, 2013
They say if you find something you love to do, you’ll never work a day in your life. My true love—other than the man I’m going to marry in less than a month—is the written word. Writing, and especially reading, would occupy almost every moment of the day in my ideal world.
Although life at a magazine is much more talking, emailing, and errand-running than usually suits me, my role as lead fact checker at Oklahoma Today affords me the occasional opportunity to live the dream. Those days when I’m actually sanctioned by the need to verify the words of writers like Jim Logan or Susan Dragoo, when I can lean my chair back and allow my mind to slowly disappear into the landscape and characters of Oklahoma’s past, I could not imagine a better place to be.
Here are some of the literary experiences I’ve undertaken in service of fact checking:
One Woman’s Political Journey: Kate Barnard and Social Reform, 1875-1930 by Lynn Musslewhite (OU Press, 2003). Kate Barnard is one of the most amazing women to have lived in the twentieth century. That might be a big claim, but she certainly earned it, and would tell you so herself if she were still alive. From becoming the first woman ever elected to state office in the United States nearly a decade before women even had the right to vote to fighting for the prisoners and Indian orphans no one else dared touch, Saint Kate’s legacy cannot be underscored. Although Barnard’s short life is worthy of many volumes, Musslewhite succinctly captures both the hard-edged conviction and pure-hearted compassion of her character.
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C Gywnne (Scribner, 2010). First, they perfected their tactic of breaking horses—a process that involved almost strangling the horse, reviving it, petting it, jumping on its back and simply taking off. Then, the Comanche quickly established an empire that made other tribes as well as the white man quite nervous. Finally, their way of life was destroyed. Although Gywnne has the advantage of writing about arguably one of the most fascinating Native American figures in warrior/statesman Quanah Parker, the former Time magazine bureau chief expands on his main character to create a rich historical narrative.
Shot in Oklahoma: A Century of Sooner State Cinema by John Wooley (OU Press, 2011). From a Roy Rogers western called Home in Oklahoma to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders, Oklahoma has provided the stage for some outstanding movie moments over the past hundred years. One of my favorites is the low-budget comedy UHF, starring “Weird Al” Yankovic and Michael Richards, which was filmed in and around Tulsa in the late ’80s. There is no shortage of surprises in this book by one of Oklahoma’s preeminent entertainment writers.
I could list a dozen more stories I’ve enjoyed since joining Oklahoma Today almost three years ago, but my next fact checking adventure awaits.