Thursday, May 16, 2019

A community of writers and readers . . .

This week, I had the privilege of sitting down with a group of readers. A local book club at the Medical Lake Library invited me to talk with them about my books and how I came to write them.

They warmly welcomed me and plied me with home-made peanut butter cookies. They listened with patience as I talked about how I became a writer. Then, they asked questions about my stories, my writing routine, and when (oh, when), that next book would be ready for them to read. A few talked about their own writing projects and asked how they might get started.

"Thank you," I said, at the end of the hour-and-a-half we spent together. But thank you seems so inadequate for this committed group of readers, supporters of literacy in their community, and lovers of the written word.

Most of the time, I write alone. I ponder and dream. I revise and edit. And revise again. I wonder if my stories are good enough for that next step -- publication. For  now, it's spring. A time to be grateful that winter has passed. We can think of new beginnings -- or share our stories.

May this turn of the season be very good to you.

Spring and a favorite walk
through the Rose Garden in Manito Park

Thursday, May 02, 2019

IWSG: The first time . . .

Maybe the first time I thought that 'language had power' (this month's question for the Insecure Writer's Support Group), happened when I was a teenager. I wrote secretly. Short stories, poems. Rarely shared. But once I slipped a short story into a pile of assignments that my English home room teacher had collected. I was thrilled at her note of encouragement.

But the first time I really felt language had power happened when I was about 9. My younger sister had been sent to the grocery store by herself to buy something. I can't remember now what. Eggs. Milk. She held back a few pennies to buy candy, and my mother found out. I was standing in the kitchen, when my mother hit my sister so hard that her head bounced against the pantry door. "You will never lie to me," my mother screamed, and I remember thinking, "Someday, I will write about this."

I left home to go to college at 17 at a time when tuition was free. I only had to pay for my books (and work part-time). I was happy to escape into a world of books, art, literature, and classes with teachers. Maybe those teachers drank, I didn't know. Their words, their lectures filled me with hope.

Much of my life has been spent involved in writing in some way. First, with technical reports as I worked my way through college. Later, I taught composition, business and technical writing, some literature, and humanities at a community college, much like the one that inspired me so long ago. And, once I retired, I returned to writing, to tell the stories that generally involve people fighting against the odds, struggling for survival, regardless of circumstances around them. Sound familiar?

For me, that's the power of words that have shaped (and continue to shape) my life. An old Scottish saying tells us, "In love and life, we have no fear." I believe that is true for writing as well.

Why not join in this month's challenge? Or, visit those hosts for this May posting for IWSG:  Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin!

Spring at Manito Park