Often people ask me the same question that many writers have been asked, “How did you get started with writing?” It’s a question that I’ve asked myself and have pondered over. It hasn’t kept me awake at night mind you, but I have wondered about it. After all I have been an artist and designer since…
…I was young. At the tender age of thirteen I was designing and making clothes for my Barbie dolls, reproducing Walt Disney characters and designing house plans. Varied art forms for sure, but I found all of them interesting. One however stood out more than the other two.
You know when you are little and people ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well, I wanted to be an architect. It is one of those things that I have a difficult time explaining. Architectural design is an integral part of who I am – It’s entrenched in my psyche. There’s something about creating designs with a T and Set square that invigorates me. The measuring, the planning the drafting, it’s all just so wonderful. I was told however that that wasn’t a field that women went into. So being a shy thirteen year old, with low self-esteem, I listened.
But the desire was embedded deep inside and in my twenties I decided to apply to college. Unfortunately I was turned down; I don’t possess the math skills,” they said, to be an architect. And once again, me being me, I believed and moved onto other creative mediums. Years and several art forms later I found a home with designing and manufacturing stuffed animals. I really love this creative outlet; however, the desire to be an architect was never far from my conscious. Finally I was given the opportunity to create kitchen designs for a major home improvement retailer. It was like I was 13 all over again—I was thrilled to say the least.
Kitchen design, home renovations, creative storage solutions, and landscape design quickly became my favorites. To this day, I literally cannot walk past a DIY without my brain instantly going into renovation mode. Before I have walked past a house; a porch has been added, new windows and doors, the roof has been shingled, a stoned walk way has been added and flower beds have been planted. Of course it was all created in my head, but none the less the DIY was transformed in a blink of an eye.
It is the same when I enter a home. My brain instantly redesigns a room according to the available floor space. And heaven forbid if you should tell me you have storage problems. I will, with no holds bar, seek out every available storage spot that you have and tell you how to better utilize it. Warning; if you should ever invite me for tea, don’t let me in your kitchen. I will literally pull out my tape measure, measure the room and have a design concept done before the tea has steeped. I know, it’s insane really, but that’s just how my brain works and I have a very hard time turning it off.
Another question you might be thinking of asking, “Why did I choose writing as a career choice, it sounds like I should have been, if not an architect then an interior designer.
Well writing, in the beginning, was a way to soothe my broken heart. I poured my soul out in love poems, which I am sure if I read today I would find quite comical. But in the early days it was therapeutic. Gradually the poems turned into short stories. The first one was called “Never Mind.” It was reality, told in the first person, of a day in the life of being a single mom. I thought it was quite comical, my children didn’t appreciate it very much and my mother-in-law cried when she read it.
I think in hindsight that was the moment I was hooked on writing. That little piece of prose evoked such varying emotions to the readers and listeners. It was like a balm to my soul and I wanted more. Short story after short story I wrote. Comedy became my genre of choice, the more laughs I got, the more I wrote. Soon afterward the comedies turned into romance. A friend once asked me why I wrote romance. I told her, “You know the saying, those who can; do and those who can’t; teach. Well, those who aren’t getting any, write about it.” My friend laughed so hard she spat her coffee out. But in truth that is why I wrote romance, I needed to fill the void that was missing after my relationship ended.
Then one day, in my 45th year, at the beginning of menopause, I wrote a little prose about the trials of getting older, intertwined it with comedy and sent it out to everyone on my email account. Several of my contacts responded to it with such enthusiasm I decided to write more. I called each of the emails chapters, ten in all, and added the responses after each of the chapters. I formatted them all into a book and titled it “Susan’s Brain a Parable for the Human Mind.” I took the manuscript to Staples and had ten copies printed. I can’t explain how thrilled I was to see my work in print. Even though it was not professionally edited, and although funny, was not really a true manuscript; it gave me great joy. So much so, I was hooked and knew that I would be writing and publishing my work for the rest of my life.
Now, you might ask at this time, if she wrote comedy and romance why did she not publish those before she wrote and published a fantasy adventure tale? Well, that my dear readers, is a story for another day.