I was hiding in an elm tree when I first decided to be a writer. Chores were waiting, but I preferred to read in my leafy hideout. I did not consider how to make my dream a reality; I only knew that I loved books and that someday I wanted to be a writer.
There were few job opportunities for a teenage girl in the 1960s and writing was not a career option. Stocking shelves for minimum wage at K Mart was monotonous, but a weekly pay envelope stuffed with cash was incentive to show up when scheduled. As a teen living at home, I soon saved $600. I bought my first car, a baby blue t-bird with white interior. I owned it a week before I hit a police car while trying to parallel park.
Since then my driving has improved and I’ve held many jobs. I worked in retail, monitored alarms in central stations, balanced numbers as a bookkeeper, a tax preparer and payroll and human resource director. I earned money, but I did not fulfill my dream.
Am I getting to old for my dream? Nah! Alex Haley published his debut novel, Roots at 55. Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when her popular Little House series began. Norman McLean, Mary Wesley, and Harriet Doerr were all in their 70s when their first novels were printed. Jamil Ahmad earned fame at 80 with his novel, The Wandering Falcon and Toyo Shibata became a published poet at 98.
Thanks to the encouragement of friendly authors, I am now seriously writing. These published professionals offer to review chapters, suggest editing and threaten to glue my butt in a chair until I finish a project. Publishing has changed dramatically over the years and today few writers make big bucks. Money is not the reason I write, it is something I need to do.
I have a career that pays the bills. My husband and I own an alternative healthcare office. There I wear the hats of bookkeeper, marketing director and certified massage practitioner. I also schedule time each day to write. Dreams do not come true by wishing on a star, they require work. I'm glad I am old enough to have learned that truth.
|Poet Toyo Shibata|