Beth Camp Historical Fiction

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


  1. “In writing, we have no fear.” I love it! So is this post “the day you’re writing about it” - your sister’s punishment for lying? :-)

    1. Hello, Liesbet. Thank you as always for coming to visit. Well, I'm trying to tell the story of how words have powerfully influenced my life. My sister's story is that moment when I knew all would change. Like many others who have grown up in a home shaped by alcoholism, I had no hope. I simply endured. I didn't know then that words would take me out of that life and into something new. Until I said, "Someday . . . "