Well, it only took my third blog post to actually start writing about the past, so here goes! First of all, I miss working…..yes, this surprises me as I had never thought writing would be my main career. Call me old fashioned (a great drink and an even better compliment) but I never had the desire to work full time after having my kids. This is where my free-lance writing and photography jobs fit seamlessly into my life as a wife and mother.
A little history…..The first actual story I wrote happened during a 1975 summer school session for gifted children which I attended. Since my printing (at age five) was roughly three inches high and we had limited page space, I “employed” the help of my Dad to write the story as I narrated it to him. What followed was a riveting tale of how my dolls found a tack in the dirt and the journey of that tack from danger to safety. I believe the story was a bit autobiographical as I had stepped on a rusty nail in our backyard sometime earlier that summer necessitating a trip to the doctor for a tetanus shot.
By the fall of 1984, I was a sophomore in high school, taking honors English taught by Mrs. Margaret Becker. She was an older woman, a widow who expected her students to put forth their very best work and strive for excellence. After she told the class that she had worked on maps for the department of defense during World War II, the kids started referring to her “Bombardier Becker”. I think she knew about the nickname and it didn’t faze her one bit. As part of Mrs. Becker’s class, we were required to write a five paragraph essay every Friday. The other kids in the class HATED this and dreaded Fridays. I loved “essay Fridays” and looked forward to this quiet uninterrupted time to write. Mrs. Becker’s essay requirement fostered my interest in writing and developed my writing skills.
During the summer and into the fall of 1984, I experienced my first teenage romance. The fact that a boy would look twice at me was truly monumental and as such, was recorded with great exuberance in two now worn Mead spiral notebooks. The sweet innocence of this relationship and my painstaking detail of its narrative now seem cringe worthy…….but serve as important steps in my journey as a writer.
In my senior year of high school, I took a journalism class which would ultimately set the stage for my future career. At first, I wrote about topics assigned to me, but as the class continued, I started pitching topics I was interested in. I even fought for and got a creative writing column included in the last few issues of our high school newspaper. Some of those (also cringe worthy) high school articles came in handy the summer after my freshman year of college when I got my first paid newspaper job.