It Did Not Start With…..

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My writing career did not start with a burning desire to write. It did not start in childhood with little stories and poems that I made up myself that my parents gushed over. It did not start with wanting to show off to the world that I could write more than a few sentences that made sense.

My writing career started at 50 and 2 days before my 51st birthday my career took a major turn – that travel story – about wandering solo through Turkey, The Greek Islands and Cyprus – that I worked on for a few days was published, with my name spelled correctly, in an award winning (local) newspaper – The Pelican Press. Following the death of my husband, my writing career started because I needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

I wrote the story because of an ad I saw on the back of the AARP magazine called Modern Maturity Magazine. It asked “have you been someplace where the sun is always shining and the phone never rings” and I responded with a 2,000 word essay when they were looking for a one sentence response. Perhaps I should have read the magazine BEFORE reading the back cover.  Needless to say, they didn’t publish it. I put it away until I saw my neighbour Sally sitting outside her condo and I needed someone to talk to. I let her read it.

“You know who would love this?” she said. “The Pelican Press.”

By the end of the day I had made a few changes, bundled it up with a cover letter and hand-delivered it to the Pelican Press office on Siesta Key, Florida. (I was wintering in Sarasota.) I received word sometime in January that they wanted pictures to go along with the story and, once again, I hand-delivered them.

For the next couple of weeks I dabbled in writing. I had joined a writing group at the local college and since that was my only completed story I read it to my new group. Actually I read about half the story since I was stopped mid-point. Unceremoniously it was ripped to shreds first by the instructor and then by the other writers in class. I wanted to leave the room but at 2 inches high I would not have been able to reach the door handle. Yes, we writers are definitely a sensitive lot. The “story” is our baby – and no one wants to hear that their baby is ugly.

After this tarring and feathering my only comment was: If this story had not already been accepted I would never have the guts to send it out.

From several in the room I got that big-eyes, nose-twitching question:  “Who is publishing this?”

That first article was published with all 3 pictures in a 2-page spread on February 9, 1995 – 2 days before my 51st birthday. I picked up about 20 copies of the paper and delivered them to the class that I quit right after that session.

After reading it several people asked:  “How I felt about my article being changed that way?” It was now “wonderful.”  I reread it several times and couldn’t find even one change. Somehow it had become “wonderful” in the publishing. At the end of that month I purchased my first computer and printer and never looked back.

In a couple of weeks I will have been publishing 20 years. I am not the least bit sensitive when it comes to my stories. I write what I want and am involved with the best writing/critiquing group in the lower mainland. If 2 or 3 people tell me to change something or they don’t understand something I change it. If some want a change and some don’t then it’s my call. Most important:  I TRUST every one in my group to give me the best they have and I make up my own mind.

 

All my books are available in Print form on this website and as e-Book purchased through http://www.Smashwords.com/profile/view/JoeiCarltonHossack  or through most e-book retailers.

 

 

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