Christine Musser: The Wandering Writer

I first met Christine nearly fifteen years ago as we both entered Vermont College in Montpelier. She came with a big smile, and a bubbly personality that lit up the room. Her love of history was so deep that she would sleep with history books stacked on her bed, reading until she fell asleep. She lives life full of passion and brings that passion to her writing, her photography and now her teaching.

Christine can often been found wandering through her favorite places in Pennsylvania. Her camera is her companion; she always has it on her. Her pictures often posted on her Facebook page of the beauty she discovers. Let me tell you what makes her so special. She is a great friend. Always there to talk to and willing to fly to California to surprise me for my 40th birthday. Friends, and such passionate people as her are priceless.

How did The Wandering Pen came to be?

I have wandered since I was a child and still enjoy doing it. I like to explore and learn new things. I like to write about places I’ve been; I mainly did this in my journal then decided I would blog about the places I’ve been to.
What inspired you?
It was probably growing up on a 92 acre farm where roaming was endless.

Where do you wander? What are some of your favorite places to wander for photography and/or writing?  

I wander often to rural areas; I love the country & the mountains. I am also drawn to water; such as the Conodoguinet Creek (Native American name means water with many bends) or the Susquehanna River; named for the Susquehannocks who lived in South Central PA in the late 17th century. These are places I like to photograph, as well as old barns and rustic looking buildings.

Where does your love of history come from?

My love of history comes from my love of family. I am a believer that history needs to be told or learned in order to understand who we are. I believe that family history is important. And in learning family history you can’t help to think about the periods of time our ancestors lived in or their struggles during those periods.

Where do you see your path leading you in the future of writing and teaching?

Both. I believe they are intertwined, at least for me they are. For me writing is teaching. I believe teaching will inspire me to write.

I know you were a history major and love history but did you also always want to be a writer? 

I have always been a writer. At times I feel cursed because writing is something I have to do. I think it picked me rather than I picked it.

Was writing something you fell in love with later?
No, writing and I have a love- hate relationship.
My love-hate relationship with writing is because there are many times I want to call it quits with my writing, but like a stalking lover, it won’t let me be. I have to write, even if it’s just writing in my journal. Writing is in me. I am always thinking about writing and what to write.

What influences your writing and your photography?

Everyday living really. The media, family, and people. My photography can influence my writing, but it’s not at the foundation of it.

 I notice a lot of your photos are local to you. Is this where your heart is?

A lot of my photos are taken within Pennsylvania; mainly because that is where I’m at most of the time. I do have places I really enjoy shooting like the Susquehanna River along Fort Hunter and the Rockville Bridge.

What are your current projects?
Currently, I am working with Silver Spring Township on their own book narrative. This will be different from what I published with Arcadia,  which was more of a pictorial history with photos used from private collections. The new one will be mostly narrative with some photos of historical buildings in the township.
The book, Silver Spring Township, can be found at here.
It can also be purchased via Arcadia, Whistlestop Bookshop, & Amazon.

I am revamping my website, and in October I will start substituting at local schools. I am also working on another book of my own.
I’m keeping the subject confidental, but I found the topic while working on my book for Arcadia.
Where does the love of history come from?

My love of history comes from my love of family. I am a believer that history needs to be told or learned in order to understand who we are. I believe that family history is important. And in learning family history you can’t help to think about the periods of time our ancestors lived in or their struggles during those periods.

Where do you see your path leading you in the future of writing and teaching?

Both. I believe they are intertwined, at least for me they are. for me writing is teaching. I believe teaching will inspire me to write.

Do you think the Bosler story was a spring board into your other projects? That it was a good place to begin this journey?

The Bosler story took me out of my comfort zone. My drive to tell the Bosler story took me to Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota; where otherwise, I probably would never have gone to those places. The one hold up with the Bosler story I need to do further research and that needs done in Sioux City, Iowa and I am just not sure when I will have the opportunity to go there. I will more than likely need to spend a month there. Back to your question about the Bosler story being a spring board, yes, it was a catalyst to where i’m at now.  I haven’t completed the Bosler story, but it’s always on my mind. Just the other day i received an email from someone inquiring about the Carlisle Boslers. I go back and forth with whether or not to move forward with the Bosler book

The last questions are just FUN ones. What is all your all time, no holding back, favorite meal/food and where is One place you want to travel to that you haven’t yet?

It has to be something that has black beans, salsa and hot peppers and really messy – like Mexican Quinoa.
Petite syrah (thanks to my friend Laura bringing the wine in September to Vermont) with pepper jack cheese.
Where to travel to? That’s an easy one – the south of France.

Below are a few of Christine’s beautiful pictures. 

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2015-10-01Christine Musser holds a bachelor’s degree in American History from Vermont College at Union Institute & University. She has also taken history courses at Shippensburg University towards a master’s degree in Applied History. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) approached Christine in 2011 to use her article, “Preserving Memory: National Holocaust Memorial Museum Controversy”, in the Advanced Placement (AP) exam booklet. In March of 2013, she was approached again by ETS for permission to print additional copies of the article. Her article is currently referred to in AP English classes. Christine published Silver Spring Township for Arcadia Publishing “Images of America” series ; a pictorial history of Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. She has published several articles online and in print. Christine has participated in various historical events and an archeological dig at the Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Currently, she is a member of the Silver Spring Township Conservation & Preservation Committee. Besides her interest in history, Christine also loves photography and to travel. Contact information: the_wandering_pen@yahoo.com
You can also find her at the following:

Author: Silver Spring Township
Facebook Page: The Wandering Pen
Twitter: The Wandering Pen
Blogs: The Wandering Pen, Happenings Around Cumberland County, PA, Happenings in Christine’s World
Photography: The Wandering Photographer