Monday, March 1, 2010

(Re) Defining Self

I received some good news last week. The editor of the online poetry journal, Strong Verse, contacted me in response to a poem I submitted. They would like to publish it. Could they have my mailing address (to send the check) and a brief bio?

Yah. You betcha! :-) Could I get you some home-baked cookies to go with that?

Strong Verse is the poetry site started by writer Orson Scott Card (their motto is "Good poetry is meant to be understood, not decoded.") I am incredibly impressed with all of the poems I've read on the site. There is a lot of bad poetry out there, but the work on this site is wonderful, and I would classify some of the pieces as downright brilliant. So I am incredibly thrilled and honored to be published by them.

So, have I "become" a writer?

I've been writing poetry since I could write. I have very distinct memories of writing poems as early as fourth grade. In seventh grade, I blew my English teacher away with a short story I wrote, about a girl who was a shoplifter. I remember her writing a glowing response, and including the comment that I was "very empathetic." I had no idea what that meant at the time. When I asked her, she told me to look it up. She also told me to keep writing.

In high school and early college, writing poetry kept me sane as I dealt with the tumultuous, tidal feelings that are part of adolescence. In the back of my high school yearbook--in the section where they print what the graduates want to be when they grow up--I wrote, "To become a writer."

So naturally, in the frustrating non-linear way I seem to have handled much of my life, I primarily studied communication as an undergrad. I did minor in English. And took a lot of psychology. Upon graduation I took a job in radio sales. Then customer service. Then inside sales management. Then I took classes in anthropology and archaeology...met my future husband, and went back to school for a graduate degree in psychology...moved to the Chicagoland area... instead of finding a way to finish the semester toward my psychology Masters, I switched to Sociology...we moved back to New England, I took a job as a Research/TA Assistant. Had two kids...etc...

After twenty years, I have come back around to writing. Through everything, it has remained my passion. I have begun to refer to myself as a writer--trying it on for size, tentatively, as though it were an exotic, overpriced hat.

I write. I am a writer.

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