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It all started when I was six, with my first poem... 'If I Had a Pony.' OK, it didn’t take the poetry world by storm and, as I learned later on, I really didn’t have much of a poetic flair. Even so, at the tender age of six, I knew I loved writing, I just didn’t know what. Moving past many more miscarriages of poetry, through my grade school years and on to high school, I probably should have started reading the clues that I was supposed to become a writer when I was the only kid taking the essay tests who, not only loved filling up those notorious blue books; but usually asked for a second, and sometimes a third one. Mr Ray Brown, my high school English teacher for two years, saw a flicker of non-poetical talent in my short stories, spent some time mentoring me and finally pronounced, ‘You could be a writer.’ Like most typical high school kids are prone to do, though, I didn’t listen to my teacher. Instead, I went off to college and majored in Music.
Winding my way through life, I took some years out to become the domestic diva, raise kids, have an early mid-life crisis. I’d been a professional musician, a critical care nurse, a stay-at-home mom-type who canned her own food and wrote her own stories for the kids. So, what came next? Hey, remember those kids’ stories I mentioned? Nope. They didn’t jump-start my writing career. Turns out their fate was pretty much the same as If I Had a Pony. My mom loved that poem, my kids loved my stories, but that’s as far as it went.
Then, tragically, my mom died. A former concert pianist, she’d had this wish list (the thing that’s called a bucket list now) and she never got around to going after so many of the things she’d wanted from her life. I thought about my own list, the one I’d started when I was six with that poem, and carried with me into every aspect of my life. When I took the hard look, know what I found? I wanted to write. Through everything, that had always remained constant. No matter where I’d been or what I’d done, I wrote. Funny thing is, when I truly got serious about my writing, my writing got serious about me and channelled me through an amazing journalism career in most of the top consumer magazines in North America, then through a number of consumer non-fiction books, to where I am now, writing the books I’ve always loved reading most.
Shakespeare once said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” He was right. That destiny became mine when I was six. It just took me a while to realise it.