If anybody asks me why I write, I blame it on my eighth grade English teacher. Mrs. Osborn wore a ponytail draped over her shoulder and sat with one leg folded under her at the desk in the front of the room. She possessed a rather drab personality, yet when she taught us the techniques of placing words on a page in unique ways, something caught fire inside me. I wanted to know more. She encouraged our class to enter the district creative writing contest, so I put together a fictional story and submitted my work. Imagine my mouth agape when the principal announced over the loud speaker a few weeks later that I had won first place.
I suppose the raw talent for word-divining began a bit earlier in my career. My dad taught me to read before I entered kindergarten. In the first grade, I wrote a poem that was published in a local newspaper. Even my occasional story or two adorning the pages of my elementary school’s literary magazine kept me enthralled with world-building, though the competition that ensued between my best friend and me seemed to excite my enthusiasm the most.
It wasn’t until I got married and started reading a book a day that the yearning to write took hold. I envied many authors' abilities to whisk me off to places I had never visited before, how their words made me believe I was as strong as their protagonists and that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to conquer.
Mine was a slow process, digging up the dusty talents of my earlier years. Techniques, style, and tone had changed over time, catering to a newer, smarter market. It still changes. I’ve relearned the craft amidst mothering four sons, keeping my job alive, and surviving cancer. I've published articles for several local newspapers, won an essay contest, earned a degree in Multimedia, and pursued a graphic design career. I am writing my third novel, excited for my future prospects.
Add to the mix my drive to search out my genealogy. I want to know where I came from, to understand the struggles and sacrifices my ancestors experienced so I can live and breath today. I have searched graveyards, courthouses, and antiquated books to find the answers to my personal history.
Bestselling author James Owen has a philosophy that touches me to the core. He says, “If you really want to do something, no one can stop you, but if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you.” I believe such inspiration. It’s fodder for the most talented among us. It’s the promise of the culmination of everything I’ve studied and desired to become: myself. You know the individual... the soul who can’t help but create, despite all the rest. I believe that’s a good thing.