In each little girl there lurks a storyteller…

For this girl, it started with a love of reading from an early age.  I didn’t learn to read easily.  My mother had been a first and second grade teacher for nine years before I was born.  She often quipped that I was the only child she couldn’t teach to read.  Between second and third grade, I spent one summer going weekly to visit a very nice reading teacher, Mrs. Hayes.  One of the drills I remember the most was speed reading.  At such an early age, it was a skill that paved the way for a love of reading into adulthood.

That same year, my mother gave me Little House on the Prairie to read on an airplane ride to Hawaii.  I devoured the book and my mother ended up buying me the entire series, which then had to be divided up among the family luggage to get back home.

My family had a love of fishing, hunting, camping and skiing.  There was always a lot of down time and before one of these “puppies in the whelping pen” camper and later motor home claustrophobic experiences, we’d go to the bookstore where each of us could get four or five books for the trip.  The memories are still so vivid, I can tell you which books I read for certain trips.

Fishing at Paulina Lake equaled three Choose Your Own Adventure books by RA Montgomery.

Fishing at The Chewaucan River equaled Anne of Green Gables.

And most impressive of all, while my family was duck hunting at Summer Lake outside of Paisley, Oregon, I got a good look at a romance novel for the very first time.  It was my mom’s copy of Vows by LaVyrle Spencer.  I was thirteen, but Mom told me I probably wouldn’t like it.

 Au contraire mon cheri!!!  I read it, I loved it!

The next time we went to a bookstore, I bought Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

At the ripe age of fourteen, I tried to write a manuscript, a young adult mystery about a brother and sister, named Sam and Laura Carson.  I wrote it long hand and finished it on a pheasant hunting trip to a place called Cow’s Hollow near the Idaho border.

I sometimes think books were the drug I used to deal with all the fishing and hunting around me as the only thing I can really stomach killing is my competition and fictional antagonists.  I remain, aside from my beloved sister-in-law, the only member of my family not to hunt.

It wasn’t until two years after my divorce that I accidentally got reacquainted with my old friend, writing.  A friend suggested that I journal my feelings about my divorce from the abusive alcoholic ex-husband.  My mind was having a hard time dealing with the fact that no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors in anyone’s marriage.  In this case, my ex enjoyed telling me that no one would believe me and that he was the voice of reason.  If only I would listen to him, we could be happy…

The journaling experiment lasted about a page.  I started referring to the journal as ‘the book of hate’.  A year later, I had a draft for The Voice of Reason, the story of a woman who murders her famous, marriage counselor ex-husband and gets away with it.

Scenes from that manuscript have finaled in five contests, including two 1st Places.

And when I read my ex-husband’s obit a few years ago, I called the medical examiner to make sure he died of natural causes.   (Rest assured:  He did.)

The bottom line is this:  Writing is always there to help me through good times and bad.  I am beyond lucky to have found such a wonderful passion.  And the best part, other writers not only understand that passion, they have a form of it themselves.

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Posted on April 14, 2014, in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I love how supportive your family were and how your mom passed on her love of books to you. I laughed out loud when I read the part about how you called the ME. From this post I can tell that you have that rare gift of being able to write humorously about heavy stuff and still show the emotional impact.

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  2. Now that’s a book I want to read!!! I was the child advocate at a domestic violence shelter for two years…you can understand the appeal, although I don’t advocate murder as the best way out of an abusive situation. However, reading about it in a book might be cathartic for a lot of people who’ve witnessed/experienced abuse.

    You go, Girl!

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  3. I love the way you dealt with the ex and abusive situations.

    I’ve been fortunate in my life in that I came from a loving and supportive family and married men who were/are wonderful. However, I’ve seen abuse in others in my extended family and among friends. I also deal with it in my stories as one way to get back at the perpetrators. It is a kind of therapy that allows me to have control and save my family and friends, when in real life I feel I have very little control over those situations.

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    • Maggie, thank you for your comments! It is interesting how much writing can help us through the hard times. I think it also brings order to chaos and allows our minds a time to process.

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  4. > to make sure he died of natural causes. (Rest assured: He did.)

    Uh huh… It’s best never to get on the sharp side of a writer’s pen. We try to use our powers for good but sometimes… To quote Firefly, “I can kill you with my brain.”

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    • I need to watch Firefly! I was, in that moment, both saddened and terrified. Sad that a life should end so soon and terrified it was in some way an unsolved murder for which I would have no alibi…

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m glad reading/writing gave you comfort as a child and served as an outlet when you were an adult. I can’t wait until the Voice of Reason gets published!

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