I found my love for writing late, in my sixties. There were inklings earlier. I dabbled in writing stories for the children I worked with, making them the main characters in the fantasy stories we made up to help them move into foster care, adoption, or face a difficult classroom situation. It revealed the power of story-telling and the imagination, to me, and to those children. We wrote scenes to help them negotiate awkward social situations, difficult conversations they faced, confronting teachers or authority when they had a valid point they needed to relay. It worked for them and for me. They could plot their reaction and not have to think on their feet with the flood of emotions they often felt. Writing was a tool we used to document their past and prepare for their future.
During my professional years, I had the opportunity to document the casework I provided. It was part of my job to keep records about the clients I worked with. I was aware it was critically vital in preparing children’s records for adoption. They might want to know in the future their mother enjoyed fishing or read to them when she was pregnant. Keeping conference notes on the workers I supervised was also important, documentation if they needed development and factual evidence if they needed to be terminated. I took documentation seriously in my job, aware that if I left, those records were important to the agency. So, throughout my work life, I wrote.
When I was fifty years old, I found out I could retire from my job as a social worker. I worked for various state agencies and school districts for over thirty years. My husband and I decided to transition into retirement by operating a bed and breakfast until he finally retired. We owned and operated the bed and breakfast for seven years. I learned you don’t know people until you sleep with them. Wonderful people drifted in and out of the historic home we purchased to house the B&B. Many of those guests also saw things I never saw in the house, ghosts. They described the same spirits over and over. I could not ignore their sightings. It was an experience, but it was work. When I tell people about the experiences I had, they usually say, you should write a book. I never wanted to write a nonfiction book about those experiences, but they are an inspiration for characters and situations for fiction. That is where my interest is.
One day after I traveled some and had my garden like I wanted it, I sat down to write. I knew a few of the characters and had an outline for the story, but I did not expect what happened. The characters began doing things I did not anticipate. Some force or inspiration, something began to guide the story. When I finished, I had a trilogy. A trilogy that I enjoyed and my mother thinks is wonderful, but I know it was great practice for something else. I am not abandoning the story. I rewrite frequently and love to visit this document on my laptop.
Now, I am focused on honing my skills and determining where I need to grow. I went to a conference recently and enjoyed every minute of meeting with professionals and other emerging writers. It is refreshing to be around such creative people. The only negative I have identified is, writing is isolating. For long periods of time, I need to be with my own thoughts, briefly taking breaks to put the clothes in the dryer while the characters continue to talk to me, telling me what they will be doing when we sit down to write again.
There are many more stories in me from my experiences. I am anxious to get them all out. I know why I write, because it is the thing I cannot wait to do, and when I am not doing it, I am thinking about doing it. If anyone ever enjoys reading what I have written, well, that will be wonderful.