Once I began blogging in a consistent manner, I queried my reading public about what kinds of topics they would like to explore. One suggestion was that I discuss the writing process and what it takes to see a novel through from start to finish. Therefore, on Wednesdays this month, I will tell the story of my stories, particularly my series The Magnolia Arms Chronicles.
Once I published my first book and people began to comment and question me about it, I told them all the same thing.
“It’s my lifelong dream.”
I count “lifelong” as being from the age of 7, because that’s when I first found satisfaction in writing a story. My 2nd grade teacher assigned us to bring a rock to class. And when we did, she asked us to tell the story of where that rock had been before we found it where we did. I remember being completely engaged in that assignment.
And the thrill of that experience never left me.
When I got to 6th grade, we were advanced enough scholars that we were assigned each week not only to learn our spelling words and definitions, but to use as many of them as possible in a story. I never failed to use every single one. My teacher told me I should consider writing as a career.
And then one year later we moved to Florida. Again: my passion for writing suffused my life…saved me really from the “aloneness” such as only an 8th grader in a new school in a new town in a new state can feel. I was a dopey-looking kid in 8th grade. Small town girls don’t dress like big city girls and there I was in junior high school, still wearing tennis shoes and socks with dresses to school every day, while the other girls were considerably more sophisticated and knew it.
I tried and tried to make friends without success. And then my 8th grade English class read Tom Sawyer as a play in class. The teacher chose people to play the parts. Being the new kid, I wasn’t chosen. But she did ask for volunteers to write commercials to take place between the acts.
I don’t remember what I wrote, but they were a hit. Everyone from the teacher throughout the class was impressed. The teacher bragged on me to the whole class. Writing was my ticket to greatness, I thought.
I ended up in an honors’ English class the next year and all through high school, still distinguishing myself as a person who could write. I wrote on my own as well: short stories that occurred to me and very self-absorbed poetry.
And away I went to college. I would have majored in Creative Writing if there had been such an offering. I could only write Student Body programs, which we did once a month—original plays, sometimes musicals—performed on Saturday mornings.
And then I graduated, went to grad school (Dramatic Production). That got interrupted. I traveled with a music and drama team for a year, took care of my grandmother in her final days, and then came home and started teaching high school English.
And then I got busy with marriage, teaching, motherhood, more teaching, and writing fell by the wayside till 1998. That’s when I started writing Trevorode the Defender…a radically different story than the one I ended up publishing.
Until finally, in 2010, when I “retired,” and attended my first Writers’ Conference, I had to write ten pages of a story in order to join a critique group. I told the coordinator of the conference I could not possibly write 10 pages. Could I write five?
She encouraged me. “We all started out just like you are.”
I wrote the ten pages and ten years later, I have four books to my credit.
Dreams come in all sizes. Some of them are more than irrational.
But they sure are good when they come true.
Well done Holly Well done. So happy for you and the talent you have and share with ohters.
Thank you, Kathy. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to tell me.