Finding My Voice

Back in another lifetime, when I was in journalism school, my professor stood before our advanced reporting class and giddily (yes, giddily) told us that a new editorial writing class had been added to the next term. He added that he hoped all of us would consider taking it.

This was back in the days when we took notes in 4” x 8” reporter’s notebooks (I still do), typed our stories on black manual typewriters, using soft yellow paper and making our copies with easily smudged carbon paper. We might as well have been writing on cave walls by today’s lightning-fast social media-fueled reporting standards.

Summer 1977: me in less confident days with the first car I bought on my own–1971 Datsun 510

Needless to say, I opted not to take the editorial writing class. Why? Because at that point in my life, I didn’t feel passionate about much other than graduating and getting a job (doing what, I had no idea).

But more importantly, I didn’t take it because I was convinced that no one would give a rat’s behind what I had to say.

Now light years later, bolstered by maturity born of the twists and turns of life, I realize that it wasn’t passion or strong topics I lacked…it was confidence. The fear that I would write my opinion about something and then no one would read it–or worse yet, think I was wrong or stupid–was overwhelming and almost paralyzing.

Well, those days are long gone. Over the past five years, my life has changed in more ways than I have room to write here. One of the changes was dipping my toe into writing not just as a vocation, but as an avocation. When I say “dipping” I’m being a tad bit simplistic as I was pretty much dragged kicking and screaming by one Kim Harwanko, the leader of a book club I had joined a couple of years earlier.

Kim had an unique proposition. Would we (as book club members) join her her in a project to write a book by a book club about a book club for book clubs?  For the next four years, she guided, prodded, cajoled, coaxed, sweet-talked and pulled close to 90,000 words out of the group in the form of our first novel–Novel Women. Interestingly enough it’s a book by a book club about a book club for book clubs.

Now that we are on the verge of publishing Novel Women, I can’t help but look back on those early college days, when I didn’t think I had anything worth saying. Guess what??? I gotta a lot to say.

So write I did…two chapters in Novel Women about Tess, who, devastated after her husband’s sudden death, spends a summer at a friend’s beach home dog sitting a 100-pound Golden Retriever named Mac and ends up falling in love with a handyman/ex-Army Ranger.

Me today with second car I bought by myself. Summer 2017.

If you want to know all of the details about how a middle-aged, but still very much alive, woman experiences love (and much, much more), you’ll have to read the book.

In the meantime, now that I’ve found my personal voice, you’ll be hearing from me a lot more, because yesterday’s fearful editorial writer is today’s bold blogger and I’m looking forward to meeting more novel women in the next chapter of my life.


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