At least eighteen false starts later, a hopeless introvert stops agonizing over how to introduce herself.
Writing’s what I’ve been doing, mostly daily, since January 2014. Before that, not so much. Except for long-forgotten school assignments, there were some letters, back in the dark ages before email to a boyfriend who’s (still) my husband. Those letters are in a cardboard box somewhere, and I’ve told our kids what my Mom told me about her WWII letters from Dad: You can read them when I’m dead.
Over the years I jotted a few things here and there. Lesson plans and VBS curriculum, instruction manuals for bar-code readers, and a few irate letters to a politician from time to time. Thank you notes, page-long rhyming party invitations, and an obituary or three. But nothing for credit, and certainly not for pay.
Perish the thought. I was a wife and homemaker, stay-at-home-, and for a while, home-schooling mom, part-time sales lady, perpetually failing entrepreneur (see “hopeless introvert,” above) and odd-jobber. Church. Family. Kids. Garden. Dogs. Life. Busy. Busy. Busy.
Until I found some school work, from third-grade. O.L.D. old. An essay, and the first place certificate from the city paper. A note inside the faded green construction-paper cover said simply, “Good writing.” The thing asleep in my interior universe shifted.
Another box held a senior-year history research paper. Mr. P, who was as likely to nod off during a post-lunch film on medieval banking as any (all) of the rest of us, noted it was the most well-written student work he’d read. (Blushes) Aaannnyway. That poked the sleeping something awake.
As an aside: If any of you were in Mr. P’s classes, and received similar accolades, please wait another year or so and then, by all means, burst my bubble.
So I wrote some stuff. On Facebook. And got some laughs. Some comments. Some “You should write”s. Nah.
Until I woke up one morning gasping for breath, with a story pretty well full-formed in my mind. The laptop and I got to be really close. I shared some pages with friends, who said they were pretty good. (But what do they know? They’re my friends.) I found the SCWW, joined, and submitted my first chapters to a scholarship competition to WildAcres Writers’ Workshop, a week-long residential intensive. You had to be 50, unpublished, and the deadline for entry was March 31. I was unpublished, would turn 50 two weeks earlier, and took it as a sign. Had to be, right?
I cried when I got the call.
And here we are. Writing, critiquing, editing, revising. Querying and being rejected and writing some more. The one thing I’m not doing is giving up.
Hello, world. Nice to meet you.