Today is June 19th and I sit at the kitchen table of my home where my granddaughter (nearly 2) sits on the antique children's sofa watching Winnie the Pooh. (We have already been swinging in the back yard and she now snacks on oranges and apples.) I remind myself to enjoy the moment and not chain myself to a computer because life is fleeting and what matters plays there in that room.
I sit here marveling that at 62 I can actually finally call myself an author. I have my first novel coming out from a respected press (Mercer University Press) September 30 and I have signed a contract with them for the sequel to Swimming with Serpents (Book 1 of the Serpents series), Nest of Vipers (Book 2 of the Serpents series). After years of admitting to being mainly "just a housewife" I can now claim a career. I am a writer. What pleasure comes with those words! This has been my dream and it has come true!
You can have it all. Just not at one time, my friends.
So, how did I get here? Look at that guy. What female in their right mind could resist those dimples? Certainly not me.
First came love, then came marriage (with Joel Ramsey since 1969), then came babies in a baby carriage (Cecily, Drew and Brooke (in the picture), all now with babies of their own -- Lily, Megan, George and Sam). I remember jumping rope to that little ditty and sure enough! Here I sit in the home my husband's parents built in 1950 entertaining their great-grandchildren.
My husband and I married while still in college at the University of Alabama, he in Law School and me in the College of Education. I was a Tri Delt and he was a Pi Kappa Phi. Oh, the parties! Those friends we made then have remained among our very best (Rondi, my roommate, Yancey, Susan, who married Joe's fraternity brother, Margaret, and, of course, Joe's roommate, Robert). Those years certainly go to mold the person you become and I can honestly say that my sorority helped build my confidence and open doors for me later on. Perhaps I will write of those days later on. The picture below includes Pam, Yancey, Rondi and me -- all Tri Delts with Joe and his brother Ed and my dear friend, Randy.
So, how does all this pertain to writing. Many of you are reading this for tips on the writing process and this one is the best of all -- live life! Read! Write --anything. Take classes and learn. There is nothing that you experience in life that won't find a place later on in what you write.
I looked at my mother one day and thought, she can do anything! So I set out to learn to do a little of what my mother seemed to be able to teach herself! I took a Master Gardener course. I learned hand sewing and how to smock. I made christening gowns for my granddaughters. Though I had begun my Masters at the University of Alabama, we had to leave for my husband to get his military commitment out of the way and had to wait and finish getting the Masters at Troy State. I then taught middle school and high school in public and private schools and on the university level at Troy University and Gulf Coast Community College.
Details make the difference when you write. You get the details from knowing stuff. Always use concrete nouns and vivid verbs I taught my high school English students. But, how can you be concrete if you only have general knowledge? How can you write vivid verbs if you are limited in your vocabulary?
And then my mother challenged me to learn more about her genealogy (which resulted in my website http://www.southernstyle.com) and I discovered our Native American ancestry. The offshoot of that study led to these novels.
All the while I wrote. Letters to the editor, short stories, a recipe book and family history for my family, articles for local magazines, and then -- my website which last month had nearly 8,000 visitors. While many of my friends declared they would NEVER use a computer, I was learning Front Page Maker. The point of which is that you are NEVER too old to learn a new skill. Or begin a career. And that is what this blog is all about.
I look forward to hearing from you and answering questions you might have regarding the process of writing, the time and place about which I write -- or any other topic you might be interested in. I have found it fascinating that the most visited page on my website (other than A Simply Southern Wedding http://www.southern-style.com/A%20Simply%20Southern%20Wedding.htm) is the Manners and Etiquette page (http://www.southern-style.com/manners_and_etiquette.htm)! So the topics you choose are those about which I will write.