I am a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! This is something I have been dreaming of since 6th grade. I remember thinking I was a good writer back then. I used to write short stories and poetry with the hope of publishing my own book one day. I read insatiably. I was never anywhere without a book to read and a notebook & pen to write. I had thought I’d write adventure stories; Stories of miraculous achievements or great courage. Those were my favorite stories to read. “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell is still my favorite book.
However, in seventh grade my dreams were shattered by an insensitive English teacher who told me I couldn’t write and would never be able to beg publication. When I look back on it now and read the story I had written about a 13 year old boy heading off to fight in the War of Independence knowing he might not come back, I realize the teacher was an idiot. Likely jealous of the fact that I, as a mere 7th grader just learning the history, could write such a story. Before turning it in, I had asked my history teacher to read it and she said she was stunned and couldn’t put it down because it was so good. She had assured me I had done well. When the grade came back from my English teacher, however, I had received an “F” on the short story. My 7th grade spirit was broken. I continued to write, but never let anyone read anything if it wasn’t assigned.
Fast forward to 1989. I was in Advanced Individual Training (AIT) with the U.S. Army. For the first time ever, I began writing for an audience. I started with simple status letters. I’d hand write one and send photocopies to all my friends and family via U.S. Mail once a week. Just to give them an idea of what I was doing. Rarely did anyone write back, but it seemed everyone I sent to read them. Eventually, I grew brave enough to let my Army buddies actually read my poetry and some of my short stories. I quickly became a sensation and had a captive audience who seemed to actually like my writings.
Skip ahead again to 2001. I was married three days and 9/11 robbed me of the joy of being a newlywed. But because I had weddings guests marooned across the country after their planes were grounded, I resurrected my status writings through email and called them “Where In the World…” I let my friends and family know where I was and where everyone else was. Eventually the emails progressed to giving a breakdown of what my husband and I had been up to. I still keep these going, although I no longer keep them to a monthly schedule. Sadly, I’ve gone up to 6 months without an update.
2002. I began the pursuit of my Private Pilot’s certificate and began keeping a journal of my experiences. I wrote just so I could remember the experiences and share them with my closest friends and family. They were like nothing I had ever experienced before and I wanted to take those important people along for the ride with me. But then a coworker asked me about my progress and showed genuine interest so I shared some of my journal entries. He was amazed and told others about my journals. Soon, more people began requesting to read about my adventures. My co-workers, friends and family began saying the same thing. They felt like they were right there with me as I performed every maneuver. It was startling to hear but slowly I became comfortable with people reading my writing. Although in the back of my mind I still heard my 7th grade English teacher telling me my writing was horrible. But with a little prodding, I began my first blog.
2010. My original blog has morphed over a dozen times as blog technology has gotten better. More people have gotten to read my stories; Many whom I don’t know. I’ve received some excellent reviews of my writing style, although I still don’t know what it is. I still held on to the dream of seeing my name in print but in the back of my mind, believed it would never happen. I was still the 7th grader who believed she couldn’t write let alone ever learn to “command the English language” well enough to make sense. But then I saw a little blurb on the Women In Aviation, International Blog asking for writers attending the upcoming Annual conference to write about their experiences at the show and it could possibly be published in the WAI “Show Daily,” the conference daily newspaper. Not sure what possessed me, but I suddenly found myself commenting on the blog how great of an opportunity it would be to write for the conference but I would not be able to make it.
To my shock, Amy Laboda, of WAI responded back asking if I’d be interested in writing a column for the “Show Daily” about not being able to attend. She felt confident in my ability to write an uplifting piece about why I would want to go to the conference. I was stunned, honored and giddy all at once. Without hesitation, I started on an article. It morphed at least 7 times before I finally got started on a true thread that eventually became the article I would submit to Amy and pray to see in the February 2010 “Show Daily.” For the month after I submitted my column, I was on pins and needles. I was so excited to see my article in print. I was afraid it wouldn’t print. I was afraid people would READ it.
And then I was in print! February 24, 2010, my article was published in print in the Show Daily. I was on the blog! My name. MY NAME!!! Not my married name, but MY NAME was in print, in someone else’s media that I had no control over. What a natural HIGH! I can’t even describe the silly, goofy, JOY I was feeling. I still feel it. Here I was, a 7th grader who would never be capable of writing “toilet paper,” being published in a forum that people all over would see. A few of my friends who attended the conference and were unaware I’d be in the Show Daily, called me immediately upon seeing my smiling face and reading my article to congratulate me , not only on a job well done, but on achieving another long held goal of mine. To be published!
The high of being published is amazing. I could ride this high for a long time. Now I’m hungry for more. Hopefully I can find other ways to share my writing in forums like this. No. Actually, I KNOW I can. I need only look and something will fall across my path. Like this one did.
I am a PUBLISHED AUTHOR. That is just beyond astounding to me. I hope to find my 7th grade teacher and shove the article in her face, and hopefully a pile more. One more childhood ghost exorcised. I am so excited. So EXCITED!