On becoming a writer

I’ve just finished watching the Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon version of Little Women and had the good cry I’ve been needing. Who can stay dry eyed when Beth dies, or when Jo finally writes what is in her heart and sells her novel.

I often think about when it was that I became a writer. I think I was very young. I remember a picture book I wrote and illustrated (in my early elementary years) about pollution that ended up on the wall outside the principal’s office. I think it was told from the point of view of a seagull flying above various cloudy environs saying, “Cough, cough, pollution is bad.” I was so proud.

Then came the 6th grade essay writing award.  I remember reading a biography on Eudora Welty. Next, poetry published in the high school art and writing magazine. In college it was a national endowment of humanities proposal for non-fiction research on the Bikini Atoll. (Which I did not get.) My first picture book stemmed from my first job out of college at an adoption agency.

Then came my own children, and poem after poem after manuscript flowed. And so I write. I do write for me but every poem, every manuscript is intended for a greater audience. I am pleased that my poetry has been purchased but I’m sad that the sales have raised my expectations. It was a thrill to have the first poem, and the second and third purchased, but  the time between purchase and printing is long enough to be a little of a let down. And, when fondling the hard covers and dust jackets of books, real books, it is hard not to feel that my poems have less value. (Sorry Kelly) Certainly they are paid on a different scale.

I am not looking for sympathy or hugs, in fact I’m quite at peace this evening. Just exploring my beginnings. I’m still at the very early stages of this journey. I hope to one day find the story that is in my heart that resonates with a larger audience. Perhaps it will be soon.

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