What is it about writing that quickens my pulse, that takes my mind completely away from the mundane moments that make up so much of life, that brings fresh air into my lungs? I know there are multiple forms of artistic expression, and I know that I could be good at many of them, with the right direction and study. I’m a creator by nature, a trait I picked up from my own dear mom, who has succeeded at everything from crewel to quilting to oil painting to figure painting. Her initials are scrawled on many objects.
But my canvas has always been the blank paper or computer screen that calls for words. I’ve been writing since I was about 10 years old and got my very first diary. And I have taken true pleasure in most of what I’ve done as I graduated from diary to short stories to poetry and then found a way to make a living as a freelance writer and finally a magazine editor. But now, as I near retirement years, I have finally found a path back to what I’ve wanted to do since I was a child: write creatively.
The truly wonderful gift of finding this path at the ripe young age of 58 is that it no longer contains unrealistic expectations. When I was young and dreaming about the possibilities, I assumed the dream came with fame, and maybe a small fortune (enough to put me in a picturesque cottage in New England or living in the mountains so that the ocean or those peaks would serve as inspiration). I live in Dumfries, VA (or as we hicks like to call it – Dumb Fries), and I accept that fact since it includes a wonderful husband, beautiful daughter, career that keeps me interested and some good friends and neighbors. I don’t have a cottage or mountain get away. And I certainly don’t have the fortune. But life has taught me neither has anything to do with happiness.
In the mean time, I’ve found a front door to fulfillment, which is a giant chunk of the happiness pie, by finding a way to work with my own mom in writing books.
There are some mornings when the hour I’ve set aside for creative endeavor finds me forcing myself to sit at the computer and begin. But there are no mornings when I get up after that hour willing to go back to my regular work or daily routine, because what happens in that hour transforms me. The words I am working with that day surround me, beckon to me, excite me and get my blood pumping like it hasn’t pumped in years. And when I get up with great effort to begin the rest of my day, I say a little “thanks” to God for letting me lose myself completely in my passion.