After spending the first six years of my life in the Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park, our family fled the concrete jungle for Michigan. Thank God, I think now. We settled in a tiny resort town called Sawyer. Growing up, I was never far from a book, and took to writing my own stories in middle school. I remember little about those first musings, other than I’m certain they were ridiculously dramatic, and I tried to draw their cover art on lined notebook paper.
When I met with a school counselor to discuss “my future,” I had no aptitude for anything other than band and English, and I told him I liked to write more than play my clarinet. Somewhere in these years it was determined that journalism could be a path for me. That idea was met with swift suspicion on the home front.
“What?” my mother said irritably. (I’d likely interrupted the sacrosanct “Sixty Minutes” on Sunday night with this revelation). “Working for a newspaper? That doesn’t seem like a practical job. Where’s the security in that? What about a band teacher?”
Sigh. Anyway, sufficiently dissuaded, I picked psychology and child development instead. Twenty years after a career in early childhood education and social service work, a marriage and two boys, writing reared its persistent head again. I started going to groups and conferences, began a blog about beer, and wrote some pieces that got published. That was the point at which I thought, “Hey, maybe I do have a little bit of a gift with this thing.” What I submitted were short story runner-ups in contests, but it didn’t matter. They got recognition. So what, if it was a small group of bespectacled academics or librarians nodding their heads? They got printed. Somebody who was not a friend or relative read my words and it resonated with them, and that’s a powerful motivator to keep going. Because it’s fucking (sorry. I like swearing and if you’re offended, we can’t be friends) hard to be a skillful writer, and much of it a thankless pursuit. Still. Over time it became easier to say, “I’m a WRITER,” both to myself and in conversation, and then actually believe it as truth.
Thank you for straggling along with me in my journey. Write on, friends, if you too are a storyteller, and cheers to the rest of you for supporting one!
No Place Like Home: A Collection of Short Stories
My very first published book, No Place Like Home: A Collection of Short Stories, is now for sale! You can find it on Amazon here. (Paperback only, Kindle version coming soon.)
Also, check out one of the new short stories I've written, "The End of Our Love Song," included in No Place Like Home. Click here to read it.
Cover art and design by WeezyBear Studios.
My new book, Shelter Me, is coming soon! Click here to read a snippet from it.