Posted in Writing and publishing

Banjos and Books

Now and again, someone will ask why I like to write.

I think each of us has something unique to say. We have our experiences, our lessons learned, our stories to tell. However, not everyone enjoys the mechanics of putting words on paper. I do.

As a child, I was drawn to words. I was an early reader, and I was one of those weirdo kids who actually enjoyed diagramming sentences.  I began writing stories for my own amusement while in elementary school. The first one was called “The Sausage That Cried.” Fortunately, things got better after that.

Writing for schoolwork soon took precedence, however, and I’m sorry to say I put aside writing fiction while in high school and college. I had more “serious” things to do. Yet, people I corresponded with in letters (yes, way back then we wrote letters) would often say, “You write so well. You should write books for a living.”

Somehow, writing books for a living didn’t sound practical for the average person. So, I completed a degree in science instead and worked in a hospital. Then, in the mid-1970s I read about two authors with newly published first novels. One was Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds), a full-time medical technologist (like me!) who sat up all night writing her book. The other was Judith Guest (Ordinary People), described as a typical housewife writing her novel on the kitchen table in her spare time. A typical housewife? A medical technologist? Maybe my literary aspirations weren’t so crazy after all!

I started writing again. At that time, I did all of my writing in longhand. Reams of handwritten pages collected in boxes. When I bought my first computer in 1989, I laboriously typed them all in, marveling at the wonder of being able to instantly edit and not have to deal with a lot of crossed out lines and scribbles in the margins. After that, there was no stopping me.

Twenty-some years later, not much has changed. I still work full time, although in a different job, and I still write at night and on weekends. Computers are a lot faster and easier to use, and I have the wonderful convenience of the Internet for research instead of library books, encyclopedias, and periodicals on microfiche. Writing is my passion, my pastime, and my therapy.

Fortunately, my husband is patient and understanding. And we have a deal.

I let him play his banjo in the house. He lets me write.