A New Door to Open and Explore What’s Behind It

A few of my thoughts on the writer’s life …

I thought of being a writer in my youth. Eager to learn and quick to respond, I began challenging the status quo. My earliest trouble happened in the first grade when I straddled the line of marching children to see a friend as we headed back to class. My antagonist, Sister Henry, a stern, pastel lady, emerged and struck her ruler against the back of my hand. Ouch!

At the time, Highlights for Children was one of my favorite publications, particularly the “Hidden Pictures” section. I’m certain that is how I had learned clues were important. My mother hid Christmas cookies because they’d get eaten before the holidays arrived, but I found them! Another quality I’ve acquired was seeking clues and where to find things.

My adventures in grade school continued as I learned to write about good things and reveal the unexpected. See Blonde Streak and Other Good Girl Stories. (Teachers have to challenge their students more on writing about what makes them feel uncomfortable.)  I grew up in a large family, and often family needs came first. As one of the kiddies, I stayed in the shadows of my parents’ parties. What a thrill to watch their friends having a jolly good time dancing to rock ‘n roll tunes. The Beatles, Rod Stewart, and the Four Tops!

Because I grew accustomed to caring for others, particularly a family member, or a boyfriend, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. Many lessons I’ve learned the hard way. My heart searched further on this journey called life.

While my college years were exciting and exploratory, the different colleges and universities I attended offered me new doors to open and explore what was behind them. I tried new things. As a young adult, I searched far and wide for inspiration. I discovered writing as I saw the need to explain, interpret, and tell a story. I learned to express myself through new vistas and found this one lesson most meaningful: It’s up to me.

Later on, experience would become my best teacher as I saw opportunities to gather material for later use. (Don’t underestimate experience!) My MBA, my journey into journalism, fashion, environmental planning, information technology, Internet entrepreneurship, and publishing offered me pathways to knowledge and interesting subject matter. The corporate corridors and its many doorways intrigued me as I wrote for shareholders, innovators, and end users. It was then I decided I would create my own material.

Neil Gaiman, a storyteller and excellent teacher of the writer’s craft, describes a metaphor, “the writer’s compost,” of collecting scraps and letting them accumulate for use later on. So that’s what I’d been doing: tapping into my imagination and merging experience with my own creativity and spin. “And then what happened?” Gaiman said. (It’s a child’s game of discovery, and what drives the story.) My debut novel was finished! Now as I conduct a search for an agent/publisher, I’ve started a second novel and a children’s book collection–all of which I hope readers will have in their hands soon to enjoy and find entertaining.

For writers, I have one message. Open a new door and explore what’s behind it.