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Writing My Story: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose

My Story: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose is a compilation of more than 100 poems and essays about life, death, love, mistakes, and coming to terms with mortality. To be published in the second quarter of 2024.

About the book:

book announcementI’ve journaled since I was a teen, but when life hit me hard, I wrote poetry. Putting my feelings on the page helped me understand and come to terms with my fears, anxiety, and grief. Most of my poems in my youth were angst-ridden; however, they were few and far between because life – and self-sabotage – had made me a very busy woman. As a teen, I drank and used any substance at hand to avoid my busy, anxious mind. After dropping out of school in tenth grade and working minimum wage jobs for a few years, I discovered I was about to become a single mother. That little wakeup call turned my life around, and I knew I’d need an education if I wanted a viable career and the ability to raise my son in decent surroundings. So I got busy, and stayed busy for a couple of decades.

After the birth of my son, I returned to school. The adult education center opened up a whole new world of self-discovery. While taking computer classes and other required courses, I wrote essays and entered writing contests, and ultimately was awarded a scholarship to a community college. While there, I discovered that I loved to write. I had several encouraging English instructors who pushed me to write more and enter more contests, which earned a little more cash and created a lot more enthusiasm about writing. I transferred to a university and was met with more encouragement from the professors there. I envisioned a life as an English professor, writing poetry, teaching students, and surrounding myself with literature.

The practicalities of life steered me to a more practical career as a technical writer, where I was able to write, but not with the freedom to choose my topics. By then I had married, and juggling a relationship, career, and a side business doing web design, while raising a teenager meant I had little time to pursue my writing.

When my husband died after two decades of marriage, writing was my grief outlet, and I wrote my heart out. I was invited to blog for a widows’ support group and amassed pages and pages of poetry and prose to assuage my grief. I compiled the poems and blogs into two self-published books sold on Amazon.

I turned 66 last year, and it was a milestone birthday. I retired from my tech writing career and dedicated myself to my personal writing. I began attending writing conferences and courses and spent hours and hours each day doing what I have longed to do since I was that young confused teen. I’ve written hundreds of poems and essays and resurrected some that I had hastily written back in my twenties and thirties. Of course, I’m in a new stage of life now: retired and facing mortality. Many of peers are beginning to have medical issues, and a few of my life-long friends have died just in the past year. I knew it was now or never; make time for writing my priority, and finally discover who I am now that I’m not a daughter, mother, or wife.

To that end, I’ve developed a daily meditation and writing routine (thank you Nadia Colburn!). I’ve made writing a priority and I’m excited to have finally achieved a point where life allows me that option. I’ve compiled writing from various stages of my life and I’ve written retrospectively about my earlier years and what I’ve learned from those mistakes. And kudos to my therapist for guiding me to a better understanding of why I thought and acted as I did.

Through my writing, I’ve attempted to discover what I’ve learned from my foibles, misconceptions, mistakes, and from overcoming the self-sabotage and poor life choices of my youth. I hope my book will resonate with other baby boomers and younger generations, as well. I’ve exposed myself, faults and all, but I’m hoping the reader will empathize, relate, and that some of my words will resonate.

I suppose no one’s journey through life is without mistakes and embarrassments, and I’ve revealed quite a few in this book. But here’s to life and taking chances. I hope you enjoy coming along on my journey of self-discovery.