Lyn Miller LaCoursiere reprints today a piece she wrote many years ago on Why I Must Write.
Over the last forty years, the only things I had written were grocery lists, checks and an occasional note on a greeting card. Who had time to be creative! I was a single parent raising four kids, sometimes working three jobs and always tired. Although, I realize now decades later, stretching menus, clothing the crew, keeping a home and trying to keep the wolf away took a hell of lot creativity. Beyond imagination at times.
I remarried and had some wonderful years, but after eight months of struggling with an illness my husband died. Looking back now, I realize I had been creative again in my care giving, creating healthy meals, exercise and continually searching for positive re-enforcements. And for awhile, believed we had beat the inevitable.
Later, out of loneliness I joined a grief group and learned the strength and health of journaling. I was on to something! I wrote volumes using yellow legal tablets and blue Pilot pens. I felt close to God and his workings and started writing spiritual poems. Then I saw an ad for “The Center for Developing Writers” at the Hennepin Technical College . I attended that first night on shaky legs, my poems gripped in sweaty palms. Maureen LaJoy met me at the door and in her sweet voice welcomed me to her class. I looked at her with awe! A real writer! I studied her clothes: her long skirt, belted over blouse, boots and dangling earrings. So this was how a writer dressed. I was smitten. I was going to change my sweat-shirts and jeans and become glamorous just like her!
That first night I read my poems and she gave me the encouragement I needed. After a while, I thought I’d try my hand at some contemporary prose, and remember the time I read a piece in class that ended with the f-word, as Maureen gasped at my reversal of genre. Then urged me on with a twinkle in her eye.
Writing does not come easy for me. I graduated in the fifties and what I did learn back then, seems to have been washed away with time. But I enjoy it as it has opened up a new world for me, although sometimes I can just spend hours looking out a window and daydreaming. I have to feel settled and have things in place. I need my house in order, and my teeth brushed. I can write my “tales of woe“ and sometimes even get answers. I can write down my plans and elaborate to my hearts content. Sometimes, I have to smile at my greatness. I can cover pages with nothing but chatter. But the great thing is, its mine!
I have written fifteen short stories using bits and pieces of my life, people I’ve met, places I’ve been to, and of course embellishing. I’ve bravely taken on the challenge of starting a six book series using a character I’ve created called Lindy Lewis. I’ve been published five times, but alas haven’t made much money, but the largeness of seeing my name in print is certainly a ego-boaster. Wow, people really read my work.
This summer I sold my house and settled into a condominium and have began to enjoy life without the struggle of mowing grass, shoveling snow and trying to keep up with the endless decay of things. I have a pond and a little bit of wilderness right in my back yard where ducks swim by silently with only an occasional squawk of protest. I wonder, what do they think about in their duck-world. I’m told writers are sometimes weird.
I thank the wonderful friends I’ve made, and appreciate their support. Their encouragement to send out my work for publication. So like the ducks in my pond, I’ll glide along serenely and only squawk when the rejections come too fast, or too often.
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