I’ve waited a very long time to be a writer. In grade eight, at Queen Elizabeth Junior High School, I had a story published in the school anthology. A week later, the vice-principal, Mr. Kelly, summoned me to his office. Given who I was at the time, I was terrified. He sat me down and asked me questions about what books I’d been reading.
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” I said. “In English Lit class”.
He folded his hands in front of him on the splintered, carved-up, wooden desk.
“Several teachers have remarked on your story. It’s very good, but it feels familiar. Did you copy it from somewhere? Because if you did, that’s called plagiarism. That is not allowed”.
I’d never even heard that word before. Tears stung my eyes. I didn’t want HIM seeing me cry.
“No, Mr. Kelly, I didn’t copy the story. It was from my mind.”
I don’t know if he believed me or not, but he let me go back to class. After that, I put my writing away for many, many years.
Once our children were grown, and our first grandchild was more independent, I began to revisit the idea of writing again. But, since I was a quilter and that came to me more naturally, I began designing quilts, submitting them to American quilting magazines and having them accepted. It was thrilling! I loved the process of designing, submitting and having my work published. It was very satisfying.
Stil,l wishing to move on to a true form of creative writing, I began taking writing classes online. After a little research, writers.com was my first stop. It’s mainly a text-based learning platform, which suits me just fine. Taking classes on everything from writing creative non-fiction to memoir to nature writing served me well. Loving the idea of learning and having “homework” to complete on a deadline was inspiring.
Experiencing some success, I had a nature-inspired story published in Woods Reader magazine, called The Birth Place Forest. It’s about adventures with Jacob, our first grandchild.
Several of my stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, one is about our sweet, departed maltese, Snowy, called Who Rescued Who; the other is about feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, called Somewhere in Between.
And then, the best thing ever. . .
Stay tuned for part two. . . .