Writing Runs Through It
When I was in third grade I read a child’s biography of Louisa May Alcott. In those pages of that little blue book, I caught a glimpse of who I knew I was meant to be. Life, however, pushed and pulled me in other directions. I wrote my way through every twist and turn because writing kept me in touch with who I am.
Poetry in my Head
You’d think by twenty-eight I’d know enough to make sure the man I married supported my writing. But I was in love, and I assumed… Wrong! Not only did my husband not support my writing, he resented it. I tried to give it up to please him. However, I soon discovered stopping writing simply wasn’t an option. So I composed poetry in my head, jotting it down in stolen moments.
Stories for Kids
Not surprisingly, that marriage ended in divorce. The blow I didn’t see coming was losing custody of my young daughter. Poems became tiny lights that helped me find my way through a dark time. Eventually I collected those poems into a book I published myself called Songs from the Deep. As I emerged from depression, I took a correspondence course in writing for children. Inventing stories for my daughter kept me in touch with her. A few of the stories found their way into print, but by far my favorite story was Dreama and the Rainbow Queen.
Writing through Teaching
As I learned during my college days, it’s not easy to support yourself with writing. Because I liked school, I turned to teaching to earn a living. Beginning as a middle-school English teacher, I made my way through the maze of graduate degrees, winding up as a university professor specializing in the teaching of writing. To keep my writer-self alive amidst the stacks of papers to grade, I studied the techniques of my favorite authors, attended fiction conferences, and plotted novels I rarely had the time to complete.
Publish Rather than Perish
To keep my university teaching position, I was required to publish professionally. Writing two textbooks kept me from my novels, but I continued to read and write short fiction. To my surprise, both of those textbooks are still available from Amazon. Evaluating Children’s Writing I imagine because no one else has thought to write a book about how to grade papers. The Learning to Write Process perhaps because it covers many genres of writing.
Free to Write Fiction
After thirty-three years, I was able to leave teaching and focus on my fiction. I traveled to sites across the Southwest, jotting notes for novels I planned to write. Three years into my freedom, I got an unwelcome jolt. I discovered I have Multiple Sclerosis. This highly unpredictable disease makes it impossible for me to keep to a daily word count. But I’d come too far to give up. I learned to write with the ebb and flow of my energy.
The Copper Box
On June 6, two months after my 68th birthday, The Copper Box, launches into the sea of published novels. Forty-six years behind schedule, I’m at the beginning of the career I’ve always dreamed of. My motto has become author Norman Mailer’s quip: “I don’t want to retire. I’m not that good at crossword puzzles.”