When I was little, my dad read poems to me that he had written; some of them were quite profound to a little girl but that was what began the expansion in my mind and my curiosity about words. He treated me to a thick scribbler and a box of pencils so I could write down my ‘funny thoughts’, as he dubbed them. This is how it all began for me, when I was just eight years old.
I spent hours at the library in New Westminster, completely absorbed in books. I experienced writing episodes where I was doing my best to keep up with the thoughts that were exploding in my head so I could quickly write them down. Poems literally dropped down from my mind to the paper with little or no effort. I didn't have to do another thing to them as they were fine just as they were. I couldn't explain it and I couldn't claim it either. For many years, I just kept my scribblers and odd pieces of paper in a file and the contents never saw the light of day.
In my twenties, I wrote several songs but raising my children and a really satisfying singing career was how I used my creative energy. I was happy and felt grateful to learn more about photography, how to hand-build pottery from clay, working with liquid embroidery, and how to create acrylic paintings.
In my thirties, I began to draw together all my scraps and little booklets then put them in some order. I felt timid but I did begin to read some of it to my friends. Encouraged by their responses, I entered many contests and amassed many rejection letters. :) I sat on this for a while and contemplated if I really wanted to pursue this writing craze. There was never a time that I totally stopped but I could never really get started either.
My late thirties, forties, and fifties saw an avalanche of words, which never ceased to fall out of my pen. I amassed several books - for kids, recipes, humour, short stories, and lots and lots of poetry. I'd begun a greeting card business and wrote all of it myself. I joined a writers' group called Women and Words. We offered readings in our communities and sold our books. There was always lots to write about so I did.
At 49, after my Mother passed, I decided to write a book called 'The Life of Vi' but soon discovered I didn't know enough about her. So, I wrote my memoir on sticky-notes while working at an office. I'd write the note to get it out of my head so I could work, stick it in my purse, then word process them after supper. The book is called "Fragments of a Shattered Soul Made Whole" and ended up being over 67,345 words long. That's a lot of sticky-notes. Through writing this book, my mother's story was told in detail from age 17 to 67. Most of what I (specifically) knew about her is in there. Our stories are so intertwined.
I've taken many writing courses, (most recently, How to write a great novel and How to write a great script), studying Writing & Publishing at SFU, and enjoying various workshops all over the lower mainland of BC.
I began my writing journeys pencil to paper, used a typewriter in high school, then on to sticky notes, cigarette packages, and scraps of this and that, and finally word processing, which I can easily and elegantly do on my laptop.
Having just turned 62 (Jul 2013), I now belong to the Port Moody Writers' Group and am a member of the Federation of BC Writers. I'm where I belong.
2018 update, I've been five years with the Port Moody Writers' Group and have learned so much.
My confidence is such that I've sent "Fragments of a Shattered Soul Made Whole" to a publisher and it will be out in soft-cover book format, and kindle et al, at the end of this year.
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