Friday, December 11, 2020

On the 75-year journey of becoming a writer/artist

4th grade: magazine image of a gondolier in Venice. 
A soap bubble of imagination rises with a yearning
to tell his story, too soon popped by the sharp prick of reality.
Recess plays written by Charlene Storm, acted out by four little girls.
One budding playwright submits a script in tiny, unreadable words. 
First rejection.

Books: magic carpet portals to other worlds. 
Story-gifts from the gods.
Safe-haven for a lonely, unseen wanderer.

10th grade: a picture on a wall, dark and misty, 
a lake, a windmill, a house on a far shore.
words rise unbidden, weaving a story:
a woman, a man, a connection across time and space.
A beckoning to tell their story forces words onto paper.
Pages tucked into a class notebook
remain a story untold from a writer undeclared,
as intention to share is silenced by fear.

College: flooding of dark words playing themselves into poems,
creative writing classes with wild man and storyteller, William Foster Harris,
red-inked submissions returned with no encouragement.
Tiny, unremarked diversions from the path of real life.

Real Life: numbers, assets and liabilities, income statements
overshadow periodic leaking of words onto the page,
beloved IBM Selectric hidden in a cramped under-staircase closet,
secret submissions to magazines and journals, 
fat returned-manuscript envelopes, form letter rejection slips. 
(years scroll by until ... )

New Editor: rejection-proof newsletter: MindPlay, editor Joyce Wycoff.
Content: whatever sparks curiosity and interest.
Slowly, a small group of followers emerge.
Suddenly, a book contract appears, and then a book.
One day, at the checkout counter in a bookstore,
a woman stands holding a book with a bright blue cover:
my book. 

At 45, I became an author. It would take many more years
to understand that I am a writer. It is what I do; it is how I
process the world. It would also take the upheaval that came
with losing my spouse to realize I needed the combination of
words and images to say the things I wanted to say.

If I had been particularly astute, I might have learned that
in the fourth grade. 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful timeline. I'm so glad to have Mindmapping on my shelf--and I've verbally "sold" it in many workshops over the years. I'm also the proud owner of Corona Wisdom. It is a stunning work of art generously filled with wisdom and insight. Thank you for who you are and all you create. I am blessed to bear witness...