Bona Fide! Finally Walking the Talk!
It was quite a process, really. I wrote my first short story in the fifth grade and the entire student body was scandalized because in my story, I paired up very unlikely people from my school into romantic relationships. I had threats, people telling me I’d better stop writing right then or risk a beat down. (!!) The effect this experience had was not the one that was intended. Instead of discouraging me from writing, it instead taught me that when you are a writer, you can hold a person’s strongest emotions in barrel of your pen.
I was hooked forever.
I took Charles Lindsey’s writing class when I was a sophomore in high school and wrote a good bit more then.
I started my first book in 1982 and let me tell you, it’s still not finished. I have been working on that particular story off and on for literally 31 years and I still can’t find the handle to get a grip on it. It’s a great tale, but the story structure evades me.
In the early 1990s, I began to write small spiritual pieces here and there and in early 1998, I developed those into two books, which I printed and bound and Eric then took around to leave at shops on consignment.
In later 1998, I secured a gig as a soap opera journalist and worked aggressively at that for around ten years or so, then not so aggressively at it because I got bored with the subject matter. I enjoyed writing my non-soapy stuff more than I did the soapy stuff, so I naturally migrated to that.
In 2012, I became frustrated with my lethargy in regard to serious writing and took a big step. I knew that the difference between a dream and a plan was a target date, so I booked myself into a presenting author slot at a local festival. The thing was, I had no book. Not even one. That was in January and by June, I had two books written: Leaving Kentucky in the Broad Daylight and CUSP: A New Way to Walk An Old Path. By September of that year, I had added a third: Energy Magic. It was good to be published; even self-published, and I felt accomplished having at least something substantial in print. These were the first manuscripts I’d ever written that were not actually typewritten on a typewriter or even several typewriters. I used an IBM Selectric, a Canon Typestar that took special (read “expensive”), heat sensitive paper, and a Brother WP-1400D that was a kind of word processor with a screen the size of a 12″ ruler.
I have learned a lot over the years and I am a better writer now than I used to be. When I even look back over some of my older online journals, I am surprised to see how bitter I was, how sad, and how difficult it was for me to express myself. The words would pour out, but they were not as authentic as I would have them be. There was always that part of myself that I kept locked up. It was a room where a good part of my personality cowered and shook and cried and stayed in a fetal position.
Over the past 3-4 years, that door has gone from being cracked open to blow wide with a gale force flow through that has cleared out all of the debris and garbage. I don’t cower and whimper now. I walk tall and proud, for better or worse and for right or wrong. I learned how to own it and work it.
It was not easy and it was a long, grueling process and for sure, there are still ongoing challenges, but I feel the way you feel when you have run for miles and miles while you’re interval training and you can finally start walking again. You are not yet there and the end isn’t even in sight, but you’ve come a hell of a long way and you’re moving at a slower pace and it feels wonderful.
As many of you know, my spiritual path is set up in such a way that I plan in the winter, plant in the spring, nurture in the summer, and harvest in the fall. I do not usually plant actually seeds (although sometimes, I do), but instead, harvest goals in my life; long term positive changes that build on one another from year to year. Eric and I have used this process for over 15 years and had tremendous success with it. This year, I planted an income stream for myself, then kicked back a bit to weigh out the options that presented. There were several, probably 6-7, and I expect to pursue 2-3. The one that interests me most is writing and what I consider myself to be way down in my bones is a writer. The close second is “teacher,” because I love teaching workshops and sharing information with people. Public speaking is definitely a favorite experience of mine.
Since January of this year, I have written nine books. It was an absolutely exhausting process. All twelve of my books went up on Amazon.com this week and that was also an exhausting process because each heading, each paragraph, each image, has to be very carefully and precisely formatted or you have a glaringly imperfect product. I finally have the publishing side down pat. Now I get into the marketing part and the “writing more books” part. I have several in mind and look forward to getting into them.
In August, both of my youngest sons will be in high school, so they will leave the house every weekday at 6:30am. That will give me an entire day to write. I have a 10 books fiction series I am eager to write. I have a book on the energy we put into food as we cook it and prepare it for serving. That book will also have tons and tons of recipes and kitchen hints. I have a book of my mother’s poetry to prepare. I also have the sequel to Leaving Kentucky in the Broad Daylight to write. It will be called I Aim to Misbehave and yes, yes I do. I still want to write When I Die, Just Bury Me at the Wal*Mart, which is a book about the low expectations women place on their own worth. That should keep me busy for the rest of the year and, with any luck, generation enough income on my part that I don’t need to go actually greet people at the Wal*Mart, but can instead, just write about being buried there.
We all love our labels and being defined in the world and after 15 years as a journalist, I finally feel accomplished enough to say, “I am a writer.” I can also say in all honesty, “I am tired.”
See you again soon.