Why I Write and What I Write

I wrote the article below for the Southern Writer’s Magazine’s Blog a few months ago. It is still very relevant now.

Why I Write and What I Write

At this point in my life by all rights I should be retired. I’ve just turned seventy-nine, and no where does it say I need to keep sitting at my computer every day and write. But I do sit there – usually from ten in the morning until about two in the afternoon. Sometimes I’ll even go back for more later in the day.

I got into this habit in the early 2000s when I started writing my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On (Dream  of Things). That expanded to writing poetry, essays for my blog and other people’s websites, and journaling.

By the time my memoir was published in 2011, I was already working on my historical novel, Papa’s Shoes, which has just been released by Aberdeen Bay publishers. And that’s not the end of it. I still write poetry – I write at least one poem a week except in November and April when I write a poem a day to meet the Writer’s Digest poetry editor’s challenge. I journal every day, and I’m currently working on a new memoir.

Way back in 2010 during my frustration about not finding a publisher for my memoir (it took me two years and sixty-eight queries to finally sign a contract), I decided to take a UCLA Extension Writing Workshop called How to Write Your First Novel. At that point I had an idea – which turned into Papa’s Shoes – but I had no idea how to write a novel. That workshop was a great help in getting me started.

Although I didn’t have the same frustration in finding a publisher for Papa’s Shoes, I decided that once I completed it and started to send out queries to small presses, it was time to start another writing project. I wasn’t sure I had another book in me, but once I created an outline and began to write, I realized I might even have two. The subject I picked was aging – a universal theme I know about very well. As of now, I have finished the first draft, though I feel I need to add a few more chapters. It’s not quite long enough to qualify as a full-length memoir.

Back to the question of why don’t I just retire and not even pursue these writing projects.

Maybe I do it out of habit or because I’m aging and have to prove I still have enough faculties to keep going. Even more of a reason is that writing helps keep me from wallowing in the grief I have felt and still feel since the suicide death of my son in September 1999. I’ve said many times that his loss turned into a gift – a writing gift – and I’m not ready to throw that gift away – at least not yet.

My website and social media links:

My website/blog
My Facebook page1
My Facebook page2
My Facebook timeline
My Twitter page
My Pinterest page
Independent Author Network
You Tube

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