I am a fiction writer, so writing a blog feels strange, making me a tad bit uncomfortable. I am used to taking reality and converting it into a story where I have total control. Nonfiction doesn’t work that way. Supposedly, it is a good thing to get out of your comfort zone. I’m giving it a try, but I’m cheating along the way. I heard a fellow writer once say, “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Okay, so I won’t. My first blog originated from an essay I wrote to apply for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing to Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). I got accepted, I might add.
Growing up, I was not encouraged to attend college. Instead, my mother advised me to “find a rich man and get married.” So, throughout my high school years I did not pay as close attention to my studies as I should have, though I did enjoy reading fiction and writing poetry.
After graduation, I married (no, he was not rich) and had my first child. When I held my baby girl I knew I wanted to be the best mother possible. I decided to take Child Psychology (as if that would help).
I enrolled at Midland College (MC), never intending to work toward a college degree, but I enjoyed the class so much—and even made an A, which I rarely did in high school—that I decided college was for me after all.
It was not until I took Creative Writing that I decided to pursue Literature as a degree. From that course and the professor, Rebecca Watson, I discovered I loved to write. The critiques I received from my fellow students and Ms. Watson were invaluable. She was the first teacher to ever tell me I had potential. I read in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye that “potential has a shelf life.” If that was the case, I knew I needed to get the creative juices flowing before they expired.
While at MC, I went to several writers’ conferences and entered a few literary contests, winning Honorable Mention for two poems and Second Place for a short story. Two years later, I transferred to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB). Once there, I wrote for the college newspaper and worked part time in the News and Information Office, writing News Releases and Public Service Announcements. I continued to write short stories and won First Place Short Story through one of the university’s literary contests, as well as a second place and Honorable Mention for short stories in later contests. The first place story “Free White Woman and Her Poetry” is about a black woman in prison who heals through poetry therapy. The second place story “The Familiar Stranger” is about a shy and lonely woman who meets her fantasy lover, not knowing if he really exists or is just a phantom of her imagination. “Silent Hours,” the honorable mention story, is about a woman who experiences a spiritual awakening while contemplating suicide after losing her husband from an illness and her daughter from a car accident.
While working on the university newspaper, I also received a First Place Award, Division 3 Newspaper Feature Story and a Third Place Award, Division 2 Magazine Short Story, through the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. The first place award was from an editorial I wrote about my personal experience and observation of the rescue efforts of Baby Jessica, the little girl who made national headlines when she fell down a well. I just happened to live two houses down from where she fell. The Magazine Short Story award was for “Free White Woman and Her Poetry.”
After graduation, my part time position at UTPB became a full time job that lasted over five years. I took a short story writing course through Writer’s Digest and continued to write short stories, but found my stories kept growing longer and longer. I knew then I needed to try writing a novel.
My writing started taking a backseat after I had my second child and began teaching Kindergarten. I taught in various elementary grades for 13 years. Those who have worked with small children know it is physically and mentally draining. I did not have the energy to work as much on my writing. I belonged to a local writers group where many of the writers were published authors. Unfortunately, this group disbanded which was extremely disappointing. I tend to write more when I have a deadline to meet and I can always use constructive criticism. Writing gives me purpose, aids in my self-discovery, and pushes me to be disciplined. I needed fiction writing back in my life.
I have since completed one novel and have two others in the works. The completed novel, a fantasy, The Magician’s Hook, is about a woman on the verge of spiritual enlightenment who encounters a dangerous magician, a psychic vampire, who practices black magic. My other novels, which are still works in progress, are historical fiction.
Daughter of the Bride (my thesis at SNHU) is the story of a teenage girl whose mother, after the death of her husband, answers a newspaper ad from a young farmer seeking a bride. The girl fights her feelings of infatuation for her new step father, but some emotions are unstoppable. The story takes place in a fictional Texas hill country town during the late 1800s.
The Matriarch is about the women in my family, starting with my great grandmother. I have not touched this story in some time because I came to the part that describes my mother’s life and it is still a little too fresh, a little too close to home, but I feel the story is worth finishing.
Now I am working part time at MC as a Developmental Writing Instructor. Teaching others to write has awakened my creative juices, that potential which had been pushed to the back of the shelf. After this semester, I will stop teaching to focus all my energy on my novel.
Because I have to do a lot of brainstorming before I come up with anything halfway worth writing about, I thought it appropriate to call my blog Brain Storm. There are storms always brewing in my brain; I have to let them out occasionally. So hang in there if you like and ride the storm out with me.