[Masthead] Fair ~ 81°F  
High: 82°F ~ Low: 60°F
Friday, May 6, 2016

'Semi View' columns available in book form

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Update: Marcia Gorrell will be available at The Marshall Democrat-News office, 121 N. Lafayette Ave., Marshall, to sign copies of her book. The book signing, with refreshments, will be from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18.

One regular feature of The Marshall Democrat-News that often elicits responses from readers is Marcia's Gorrell's popular "Semi View" column.

The column alternates between humorous accounts of a former suburban girl's adventures in farming and her advocacy for family farms in a time when farmers seem besieged by attacks from various interest groups.

Marshall Democrat-News reporter and columnist Marcia Gorrell has compiled three years of her "Semi View" columns into a book collection.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
Now, 74 of her columns have been collected in a 184-page book that will be available in November. Orders are being taken now.

The first "Semi View" column appeared in January 2008. Gorrell said former editor Chuck Mason encouraged her to start writing regular comments, but she had been writing stories about her family and its farming endeavors since the late 1980s.

Several were published in Farm Journal, and those will be included in the book, too.

Marshall-Democrat-News ag reporter Marcia Gorrell signs a copy of her book, "Semi View," a collection of her columns, during a book signing Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the MDN office, 121 N. Lafayette Ave. in Marshall.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
In the book's introduction, Gorrell notes, "When I was 8 years old, I wrote a long story about a flying hamburger. My mom said I should become ano author one day."

The column's name comes from one of Gorrell's farm jobs, driving trucks to the elevator during harvest.

"One time when we got a new truck, as a surprise my husband put my name on the door," she said. That truck door has been the frame for Gorrell's column photo ever since.

Gorrell said her role models are women writers Erma Bombeck and Laura Ingalls Wilder. The latter wrote articles for Missouri Ruralist magazine long before she wrote her famous Little House on the Prairie books.

She also gets inspiration from agriculture advocate Trent Loos, who has visited the area numerous times, especially to participate in the Houston Mull Memorial Cattle Drive.

Gorrell follows the advice of advocates like Loos who urge farmers to "tell their stories."

That's what Gorrell's column is all about -- telling the story, including ups and downs, challenges and joys, of life on a Saline County farm.

"I'm pointing out that there are family farms left," she said, countering claims by some groups that all farms these days are corporate "factory" farms. "I decided it was time to start speaking up."

Some of her most popular columns, though, give a humorous spin to the typical experiences of farm families, from dealing with the challenges of living with a husband and two sons who are farmers through and through to the travails of farm life, like nursing ailing animals in the kitchen and dealing with chronically uncooperative weather.

She apparently succeeds at capturing the family farm experience.

"I'd say the biggest compliment I get is from people who say, 'I think you've been at my house,'" she said.

She notes that her family, husband Keith and sons Bill and Rob, get to read each column before she submits it for publication.

Because they are so often characters in the stories, she wants to make sure they are comfortable with how they are portrayed.

The book can be ordered at the MDN office, 121 N. Lafayette Ave., in Marshall. A discounted rate is available through Friday, Sept. 28. The cost until then will be $21 for the first copy and $17 each for additional copies.

Contact Eric Crump at ecrump@marshallnews.com


Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on marshallnews.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Thank you everybody!! Upsedaisy, actually it is Maize, my son's border collie in the photo. She is still a puppy. I don't think I could pick up Flash. Thank you again!

-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 7:35 PM

Marsha, Good news for your readers' that you followed your Mama's advice and kept writing and writing.

That is Flash with you on the cover? She looks so intelligent and proud too. After all you've made her famous. She looked freshly bathed--was it a professional job? Our big (over 100 pounds) Bouvier des Flandres loved the results of her trips to the groomers. She grumbled going in but pranced out, all but saying, "Look at me!"

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Fri, Sep 21, 2012, at 10:07 PM

Great Job Marsha. The stories on Century Farms are excellent. Look forward to next addition. Saline County is a jewel, after all, its where corn is grown!

-- Posted by plowgirl58 on Fri, Sep 21, 2012, at 3:45 PM

I've already ordered my signed copy. Marcia's columns are a gem for anyone who mistakenly calls this place "Sayleen."

-- Posted by SayleenCounty on Fri, Sep 21, 2012, at 3:17 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: