My childhood was old school. My brother and I built forts in vacant lots, I climbed to the tops of trees, ripped the heads off of dolls (sorry Barbie), and delighted in the feeling of mud squishing between my toes. With the juice of the oranges that grew everywhere, I made magic positions. I rode my bike everywhere, as long as I could peddle home in the time it took the church bells to strike six times. At night when I fell into bed, exhausted, I would read.
I loved reading because I could continue my adventures well into the night. My earliest memory of reading is from when I was seven years old. I had just gotten a new book and it consumed me; it had such a grip on my imagination that I stayed up all night to read it. And that was only the beginning of my passion for the written word. I realized that it was the words on the page that created the stories that yanked me by the collar and compelled me to stay up all night. These stories sparked an interest to want to write some day.
Once I was old enough to write, I started to write stories. I am The Microphone of Elvis Presley was one of my earliest pieces of writing, and one of my favorites. Breaking loose from using a fat pencil, and lined paper, I wrote on long pink paper and combined it with writing in a red pen. At the age of nine, I began to understand there is not just one way to write or tell a story.
That just opened Pandora’s writing box! I discovered not only stories, but letters, reports, poetry and yes, the sneaky pleasure of passing notes. I wrote short vignettes about family trips, poems about birds, reports about cows, and even a report on the dangers of smoking. I gave the report about smoking to my mother, complete with a warning label, from cigarettes, pasted on the bottom of every page. Of course I had to destroy a carton of her cigarettes to get my labels. Her flushed crimson face and the words, some unrecognizable, spilling from her mouth indicated to me, Mom didn’t receive the report as enthusiastically as I had hoped. Critics. . .
In eighth grade, I wrote a poem where the narrator climbed a tree to the very top to get a look at the world around her. Love and hate, war and peace and many other relationships, expressed a new worldly awareness. After seeing the complexity of life, she decided she liked it better down below. Better Down Below won the school poetry competition and went on the state finals.
In high school I learned more of the craft taking my writing to new levels. And thanks to some very persistent, patient teachers, I learned how to support my thoughts, write with clarity, and organize. Revision, revision, revision. As I am on my 10th edition of this biography, I am still learning.
Off to college, my personal writing went dormant, but never died. Like a lot of college students, I experienced life, explored different cultures, made life-long friends and tried to find my niche in the working world. Ok, so a few romances weave in and out at this time. But hey, a crushed heart makes for better writing, right?
I received my undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the American College in London. This gave me the opportunity to study and nurture my love of travel. I returned to the States after college and worked for five years for American Express marking the end of a long list of odd jobs: pub waitress, ice cream scooper, pizza deliverer, intramural director, retail, and stage manager. All of which may show up in a book some day!
After five years in the corporate world I went back to school and earned my Master’s degree in education from Arizona State University. I have spent my career in middle school language arts. My day is filled with creativity, hormones, and sarcasm. I am so lucky to be able to wallow in reading and writing daily! We read everything from picture books to young adult books as sources of inspiration, as mentor texts, and most importantly for pleasure. And when we write, we write for ourselves, in honor of our mentors, and to create our own worlds.
When I’m not teaching, I spend time with my family. My son, Collin, reminds me that there is joy in everything: collecting rocks, raindrops on your eyelashes, making up new words, and paper airplanes. My award winning children’s manuscript, Salty Kisses and Fire Engine Sunsets was written after Collin’s first trip to the beach. Children bless us with the chance to have “firsts” again.
I write to celebrate life. I write because I want to be a part of the magic of reading at its genesis. It is an honor to be part of a child’s literacy.
As I sit here with my favorite pen and ice-cold Mt. Dew, I wish you joy with your writing. May your muse always be as chatty as a four year old!
Member since 2011
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