I have always been a late bloomer. There’s that.
DIARY WITH A GOLDEN KEY
My first memories of writing and of wanting to be a writer go back to the year 1969 when I was seven years old. I had a pink and white diary with a tiny gold key. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed in my grandmother’s house and writing in that diary. I remember deciding that I would be a writer. That room had white french provincial furniture with blue floral covers on the twin beds. The azalea bushes just outside the window were in full bloom creating buckets of fuchsia so it must’ve been springtime.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
In college I was not an English major or a journalism major. That would’ve made too much sense. Instead, I focused on Latin American literature and Spanish. Not too far off, but still. Over the years I have studied a little bit of everything, eventually getting a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, again, not too far off. But I still wrote.
WORKING & WRITING
When I reached my twenties, I would get up early most morning before work to write. I was diligent. I found writing groups to join and workshops. I submitted short stories for publication. I collected lots of rejection slips, but I did have a few pieces in some very minor journals. My goal back then was to be able to write full time. That did not happen as I had hoped. I just plugged along writing when I could.
At 31 I was suddenly a single mother. I put writing aside, deciding that my daughter was my “opus.” I would get back to it later. Decades went by. Sure, I would dabble now and then but that proved to be frustrating. Although I have always identified as a writer, I have not always pursued the act of writing.
PRATICALITY VS CREATIVITY
Yeah, you can say that life got in the way. However, it’s more complicated than that. I have spent a lifetime battling between others telling me that I have to “be practical” and practicing my art. Like it’s one or the other. Both things can happen. All art forms are under-appreciated in our society. I lacked the confidence to stand up for myself as a creative.
STORIES TO TELL AND THE TOOLS TO TELL THEM
I knew a time would come when I would pick it up again. And I have. Here’s the thing; I have so much catching up to do. All those decades I was not studying my craft. I have so much to learn. I have, however, collected experiences. Because of all those years, I have lots of stories to tell. So many stories! The stories will go nowhere without the tools to tell them.
NEVER STOP LEARNING THE CRAFT
If I could talk to my younger self I would tell her not to stop writing, to at least continue reading everything possible about the craft. Acquire the tools. Now I have no choice but to study the craft every day, write like a crazy person, stay healthy and live a very long time because I have a great deal to say.