I suspect that I’ve been writing since I learned how to hold a crayon. My first published work was a collection of poems when I was five, carefully transcribed and bound by my mother and presented to my grandparents. My journey from then to now has been one of constant reinvention. I began my working career in the tobacco fields of the Connecticut River Valley, for many years owned a plant business in Maine called Rock Bottom Farm and most recently, managed an ecotourism resort in the US Virgin Islands. I never went to college, instead, I sought out work that was challenging and taught me something new.
One thread has always run through the fabric of my changeable life—my passion for self-expression.
In 2009 I quit my job and began the process of immersing myself in this passion. I am currently enrolled in UCLA Extension Writers Program, where I have nearly completed the Certificate in Creative Writing with and Emphasis on Nonfiction.
Essay is my genre. I find I have something to say about nearly everything. I'm ready to begin seeking publication of my writing.
I divide my time, when possible, between two beautiful places—Midcoast Maine, where I share 42 acres of woodland with white-footed mice and a hungry horde of deer, and St. John, US Virgin Islands, where I rent a tiny cottage on a very steep hillside that I share with friendly lizards and reclusive tarantulas.
The earliest influence on my writing was the book Silver Pennies: A Collection of Modern Poems for Boys and Girls by Blanche Jennings Thompson. This work was first published in 1929. My edition was from the mid 1950’s, when I first learned to read. I received it for my birthday, and it was the first book I can identify as being singularly mine.
I still have it, some fifty-five years later.
I was the youngest in a family of five. All my other books were hand-me-downs shared with Karen, my sister closest in age. Our house was rich in books. Karen’s and my shared bedroom had two long shelves that ran nearly the entire length of the west wall. It was there we kept our collection. When we were barely old enough to read we got the notion to create a lending library and convinced our best friends to do the same. We labeled the spine of all the children’s books in each house and pasted inside the back cover a crude pocket cut from oak tag. My copy of "Silver Pennies" still bears this evidence of my earliest passion for books.
I gather, from ancient type written copies of childhood verse saved by my mother, that soon after being given "Silver Pennies," I became a poet. I have written poetry ever since.
Silver Pennies on Goodreads.com
When I was old enough to explore the entire wall of books in our back living room, I discovered my father's copies of Elbert Hubbard's Scrap Book and The Note Book of Elbert Hubbard: Mottoes, Epigrams, Short Essays, Passages, Orphic Sayings and Preachments, published in 1927. Hubbard was an artist, writer, and one of the founding members of the Roycroft Guild, and active in the Arts and Crafts movement. I loved not only the words in these books, but the ornate illuminated letters and borders. I became interested in calligraphy, and still have a penchant for collecting interesting expressions. Hubbard's "Scrap Book" was a collection of his favorite words of wisdom, and the "Notebook" contained his own writings. It was here I first encountered essay.
The "Scrap Book" inspired my sister Karen and I to start what we called our Motto Club, which was dedicated to furthering the collection of sayings we encountered in Hubbard's work. Our club motto was one taken from Elbert Hubbard himself. Never explain, your firends don't need it, and your enemies will never believe you anyhow.
I've found great amusement from my early attachment to these words, because, more than any other passion, I have a driving need to understand, then explain. This is the very heart of my writing practice.
Amateur naturalist, gardening, hiking, photography, insatiable reader, travel
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