The True Reward
I’ve enjoyed writing ever since I was five years old. As a child, I often sat on the front porch steps and scribbled nonsense words on a rainbow tablet. I started journaling in junior high and took creative writing classes in high school. My tenth grade English teacher read aloud to us everyday and inspired me to follow my writing bliss. As an elementary teacher and literacy trainer in the public schools, I encouraged students to express their creative energy in dance, art and most of all—writing, which in turn nurtured mine.
In spite of all of my writing enthusiasm, it took me until the early 1990s to finally get serious about the craft and embrace it. Inspired, I started my own writer’s group, “Quill and Thought,” published a few articles in education publications, and participated in writer’s nights where I read my work at local coffee shops and art crawls. I often attended author readings at Border’s and Barnes and Noble. Sitting in the audience, I pictured myself reading excerpts from my best seller.
In 2003, while reading journal entries about my husband’s illness and death at the age of fifty-four, I realized how hard I had struggled to make sense of my life after the devastating loss. I knew I had a story in me that could help others, but was not sure how to share such a personal journey with the world. After rereading my journals and seven years of numerous starts, stops and working titles, I attended a writer’s conference in California. After nervously reading a section of a chapter to a critique group, their positive feedback inspired me. I returned to Minnesota, connected with Adair Lara, a memoir consultant, who encouraged me to keep going.
A year later, Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal finally reached the hands of readers. In June 2012 my author dream came true. Barnes and Noble had reviewed my book, ordered copies for their stores and invited me to do an author event. Fond memories of that book signing remain. Yet knowing that sharing my honest story of grief is helping others face the loss of a loved one that is my true reward—a reminder to never give up on my dreams.