I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


I have a binder of PVC free, latex free, acid free, archival quality, clear sheet protectors, each shielding at least a single copy of my columns from the ravages of aging. I could use one of those for my body. It is in this binder where my dreams and years of efforts of becoming a columnist have come true, sort of. Syndicated would be nice. This on-going loose-leaf of tear-sheets is a chronical of heart wrenching, funny, opinionated and reminiscent pieces I’ve conjured up in 600 to 1200, scribbled from the heart, word-lots.

I have an older album of cardboard and clear stiff-page sheet protectors which were marketed long before anyone knew what archival quality was. That album holds the tear-sheets of op-eds and articles I wrote when I dreamt of being the writer I am today. That collection, written from a younger heart, is more impassioned by opinion and moved by life’s discoveries.

I have another album, quite huge, made by my mother-in-law years ago, containing a collection of my published pieces she was proud to save. And, I have a colorful folder with dozens of copies of my articles, saved by my mother. These last two are very special because they hold dear the words two of my favorite women sought to include in their personal archives.

On the walls of my office is a collection of columns and op-eds my youngest daughter framed and hung when she and her husband did my office over secretly as a Christmas gift. The real gift that year, of the place I call heaven, is her choice of pieces to hang. Many of those are my favorites.

All of these published pieces, which count in the hundreds by now, are a history of my thoughts from moving to maudlin, from inquisitive asking, to officious answering's. When reviewing these writing achievements I am struck by the course my heart and mind has taken over a couple of decades. In that span, from writing about my baby, to writing about my baby’s baby, it illustrates a lifetime of how-to, have-not and still-want, gathered around many subjects. And just because I’ve been published, does not mean I don’t want more. I unabashedly admit, without embarrassment, to a continued self-centered sense of need for writing achievement because writing is how I define my intellectual-self.

I’m not sure of what someone else’s pinnacle of writing success is but I do know that for me; it is a switch from byline to title page.  The only way I know to do that is within the genre of memoir. But because I have not hiked a mountain range, conquered cancer, been freed from abduction, been challenged by physical limitations, have married a man who became president, am running for president, have eaten, prayed and loved my way around the world, because my life has been just like most everyone else’s, no one in traditional publishing wants to take a chance on me. And why would they? I am a nobody, who is every-woman. And what’s wrong with every-woman? Nothing really, but who, they say, wants to spend $19.99 on one?

By traditional publishing I was told that columnist writing is pedestrian.
My column is an exercise in tenaciousness understanding regarding the importance of life-long learning and achievement in the face of the everyday.
I am told that only after three or four published novels, would someone want to click on one of Amazon's tiny-icons or even pick up the memoir/essay collection from the short stack on a bookstore table, read the jacket copy and decide. As a woman, a wife and a writer I’d sure as shit would want to read about me and how I got here.

So it is, that to my binder, my life-of-writing loose-leaf, my albums and folders of precious  yellowing tear-sheets, that I look to define my writing-life. Have I achieved, yes, have I persevered, yes, will I give up the climb, hell no, will I reach my pinnacle, who knows.

Actors say, you’re only as good as your next movie. Novelists say you’re only as good as your next book. Columnists say, you’re only as good as your editor says you are. I say, because I’ve been around a long time, and I know this to be true, you’re only as good as you are during the moments you're privileged to ponder the question. Right now is all we have. This is not to say we should settle for less than what we want but that we should appreciate that which we have already achieved.

Yes, I have a binder of PVC free, latex free, acid free, archival quality, clear sheet protectors that help remind me of how far I have come, how rich my journey has been, and how long it continues to be, if my wheels keep-a-turnin'.

How far have you come?


  1. When I think back to getting serious about my writing, it seems like much longer than it's really been. Serious = 2010 when I took the 80 some odd pages of CRAP and tried to tun it into a book. I don't recall exactly how many pages I ended up with - I think somewhere around 280 to 300, but it had that fatal flaw, so it doesn't matter. Still, that was the book I "fixed" and the one I ultimately worked on with Caroline Upcher, and the one that snagged me the agent.

    I certainly don't have the lifetime of writing you've accomplished. I wouldn't let that be diminished by a term such as "pedestrian." It's been your bread and butter, right? I wish I had all that history..., the way you describe it, it's like a journal.

    1. You know Donna, even with the success I have had I still feel like a neophyte. I keep trying to convince myself that I don't have to try so hard anymore, shouldn't care so much and that I should be happy with what I have achieved. But it's all so small-town.
      I am proud of every single published piece and proud of a lot of the others that will never be read. The forgotten pages that have fallen in-between the folders I have saved are the stepping stones on the writing-journey, I guess. Sounds hokey, so what, it's all about the process.