How I Write:
I am a retired elementary school teacher. After being positive I would be “pulled out of the classroom, kicking and screaming,” at the age of 70, I surprised myself by happily retiring at the age of 60.
I began my writing prior to retirement, selling mostly children’s short stories to publishers of Christian Sunday School take-home papers. Somehow, I had sort of expected my writing to become more of a “Judy Blume, move over!” But, when the poems sold more than the short stories, I just shrugged and said, “I guess I’m a poet.”
This decision seemed to be the point when I truly became “A WRITER!” Poems seemed to flow from my pen, often five or six new poems presented themselves in a single sitting.
The Bible remains my primary source, but often I’ll find little “snippets” from other devotional writers as well. I’ve been known to find a snippet or two from sermons, from my “pleasure reading”, and from various overheard conversations.
Although I’ve been seen jotting down a quick verse while waiting for the traffic light to turn green again, “My muse lives at McDonald’s.” I’m to be found there several times each week, doing the major portion of my writing back in “my” corner booth. It’s there that I’ll transfer the snippets from scraps of paper into my writing journals. And it’s there that snippets become new poems.
Sometimes poems seemingly create themselves, full-blown from a single thought. But most times I’ll need to read at least several sections in one of my notebooks before my pen gets antsy. From there, the routine seldom varies. I’ll work on each poem: write, rewrite, edit, and then set it aside for later. “Later” means at home, where again I’ll edit, type it into the computer, save and print out a hard-copy of each.
Every so often I’ll pack up the rather large pile of as-yet-unpublished poetry and take off for a “Writer’s Weekend.” I proceed to sit in a motel room somewhere, go through the heap, and divide everything into smaller piles of similar themes. Sometimes I’ll have a couple of possible book titles in mind, most times not. Some poems need to be rewritten a bit in order to fit a theme, others are totally discarded or returned to the “Maybe later” pile. Those that fit themes are then “re-worked” into a book format. This includes dividing them into chapters, working new poems into the shorter chapters, deciding to delete a few from the book, etc. At this moment, I have two books waiting to be sent out to another publisher, three more needing more poems before they could be considered “book length,” plus a pile of poems waiting for the next “Writer’s Weekend.”
Looks like I’ll never be “done” with my writing, but I love the fact that God is not yet done with me either.
Five Things I’m Grateful For:
1. Family, who “love me anyway”
2. Church family, who guide me through life’s pathway
3. Health .. Good AND bad, we have some!
4. Nature, surrounding me with beauty
5. God — who created #s 1 through 4.
Five Favorite Things to Read:
1. As a child: anything by Albert Payson Terhune (books about dogs .. Mostly collies)
2. In middle school: anything by Pearl S. Buck (books with Chinese protagonists.)
3. As college student: anything BUT a textbook!
4. In my 30’s & 40’s: anything by Anne McCaffrey or Marion Zimmer Bradley (Science Fiction / Fantasy)
5. In my “golden years”: anything in the “chick-flick” genre of “popcorn” reading
Five Education Facts:
1. Elementary School — in Eau Claire WI & Norway, MI
2. High School — Green Bay East
3. College — Wartburg College, in Waverly, Iowa (Bachelors of Education)
4. Post-Grad College — UW Whitewater (Masters in Education)
5. Taught Elementary school for 30+ years … Independence, Iowa; St. Paul, MN; West Bend, WI; and then to Lake Geneva, WI.
Five Books I’ve Authored:
1. I Will Not Be Silent — Praying the Psalms
2. Surrender to the Silence
3. Sing Into the Silence (Definitely the LAST of the “silence” titles!)
4. Conversations with God
5. The Promise — from Advent to Today
Five Working Titles
1. Seasons of the Soul
2. A Call to Arms
3. Declarations of Faith
4. My Cup Overflowing
5. Selah — Pause and Reflect
Five Favorite Favorites:
1. Favorite color — soft shades of blues and greens
2. Favorite season — spring, when God shows all things are new again
3. Favorite flower — tulips (outside), alstrameria (inside)
4. Favorite temperature range — 72-74, especially with a gentle breeze.
5. Favorite time of life — Right NOW!