Last evening, I went to hear local author, Julius Thompson, speak at the Village Writers Group meeting held at The Eagle Eye Book Store. Among many useful things, he told the audience when they were starting a writing project to get their thoughts down on paper and not worry about editing. I thought about how I write now compared to my initial attempts, and silently, I took exception to Julius’ suggestion until a memory interrupted me.
The story goes as a six-year-old child I brought home a lovely crayon drawing of a flaming red flower—mther’s favorite color—with a gray background and words and letters scattered about the page. She thanked me and returned to her work. I sulked. After I went to bed, my tired blue-collar parents discussed over coffee and probably, a piece of my mother’s cherry pie, why their eldest daughter was distraught. They began to assemble, like a jigsaw puzzle, the letters into words and the words into phrases until a one-sentence note appeared:
You are as sweet as the morning flowers.
When I began the novel, WELL OF RAGE, I was at the end of my twenty-five-year career in law enforcement and burnt out. Bone tired, I started writing with my heart exposed. Many words and sentences made sense to me, but nobody else. Also, police jargon and nuances confused my readers. It took over ten years, and the support of multiple critique groups and editors to find perspective, a clear voice, and hone the craft of writing. I won the 2015 Oak Tree Writing Contest, Cop Tales and a publishing deal, but not before I put the puzzle pieces together through my writing. It was a long journey with many uninterested literary agencies. Writing mirrors life. I expect to hear from my publisher that the galley copies of my mystery need to be tweaked a few more times, here and there, before printing. There is always more to learn.