Local author tells stories about the human condition

March 25, 2012|By CHRIS COPLEY |
  • Julie Gaver, author of "Must Love Shoes 2," says she loves to tell stories, even if they deal with her own misfortune.
By Melanie Anderson

Julie Gaver really does like shoes, as she indicated in the title of her recent book, "Must Love Shoes 2."

But mostly, Gaver, a Tri-State-area corporate trainer and public speaker, loves a good story. Even a story about her own misadventures.

"I love to write about funny things that happen in the line of duty — funny things that have happened onstage, in front of an audience — wardrobe malfunctions, microphone malfunctions," she said by phone. "Things happen and they happen live."

Like the time Gaver wore her wireless microphone into the bathroom.

Or the time she turned away from the audience to adjust a wireless mic inside her blouse ... not noticing she faced a wall-sized mirror.

Or the time she was leading a training and a woman in the audience suddenly screamed. Her son, a Marine, had just come home from overseas and walked into the training to surprise her.

"I enjoy those stories most, because it shows the human condition," Gaver said.

She collected a more than 30 stories in "Must Love Shoes 2," the second in her series of inspirational and humorous looks at life. The book is available locally at Washington County Arts Council in downtown Hagerstown.

Some of the stories in "Must Love Shoes 2" are about Gaver's work, but most are about her husband Dan, sons Kevin and Craig, her friends or events in her life. She writes about playing bingo (badly), the health impact of watching "SpongeBob SquarePants," teaching fourth-graders about public speaking and kicking in a chorus line in college.

Gaver's writing style is expressive. She writes in italics. She writes in bold. She writes in capital letters. Sometimes she writes in all three at once.

Her writing style, she said, reflects how she speaks. When she started writing her first book, "Must Love Shoes," she liked Erma Bombeck's casual, conversational writing style. And, like Bombeck, Gaver wanted her stories to be personal, and not simply to entertain but to uplift.

"I love Erma Bombeck —her wit and her style. And Robert Fulghum's 'All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten,'" Gaver said. "They were books you picked up to read a story and feel good about life."

Gaver says readers do connect with the stories. And Gaver likes to connect with her readers.

"They say, 'I love your story about X. I had something very similar happen,'" she said.

Gaver said she keeps a journal to help her remember anecdotes for potential stories. OK, technically, it's not a "journal."

"Journaling is too overwhelming for me. I keep a log," she said. "One of the best ways I remember things is in a section called 'the best part of the day.' If something happens that is funny or poignant, something I want to remember, I write about it. The rule is I can only write one line."

Gaver said she learned a thing or two about herself during the writing process.

"One thing I have learned is that I work best under a deadline," she said. "That is the only way the second book got done when it did. I posted it on Facebook 'Save the date!' I have to have deadlines to get things done, or I would have sort of moseyed along."

Gaver's stories examine the quirks of life for women — the things kids do, the things men do, the things women do to themselves. 

"So many people came up to me and told me about how hard it is to be a mom," she said. "There are so many women out there who think they're the only one to deal with all the crazy things you have to deal with."

Gaver's advice: Laugh about it.

"That's the point I like to make in the book," Gaver said. "Humor helps you through things."

About the book

Author: Julie Gaver of Myersville, Md.

Title: "Must Love Shoes 2"

Genre: Humor

Pages: 164

Price: $14.95, paperback

Website: or

Available locally at: Washington County Arts Gallery in downtown Hagerstown; and Molly's Meanderings in Frederick, Md.


Julie Gaver loves to tell stories, even if they deal with her own misfortune.

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