Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Journey

Today I was thinking about writing ( yes, thinking about it, not doing it), and my mind drifted back to the very first time I wrote anything. I realized that this journey I am on today began many years ago.

I was 10 years old and had three beautiful little kittens, Trouble, Mischief, and Good Boy. You guessed it, Trouble and Mischief were little girls ! One day I sat down and wrote a poem about them. It was out of the blue. I loved to read, but had never written anything except my assignments in school. My mother was a children's book editor for a large newspaper, so she took my poem in and it was promptly published.

The second time was when I was 12. I was training a young mare for a horse show, and one day when I went out to the barn, she had suddenly gone blind. My vet said there was nothing they could do for her. Being the stubborn and persistent person I am, I refused to give up on her, and continued to train her using voice as well as foot and rein signals. I entered her in the horse show without telling the officials she was blind. We won the two classes she was in, and it was only then that they found out about her blindness. My story was written up in the newspapers, and so I wrote my own story about my mare and training her, and submitted it to a Children's Digest magazine. ( Not the same one as today, the old one went defunct many years ago.) It was published and I received a whole $10 for it!

Other than school, I didn't write anything else until my second go-round in college, after I was married and had children. I took a cultural anthropology course, and for my final grade, wrote a short book of Haiku poetry. The college published it for their library, but I didn't get any money for it. Again, that was it for a long time.

When we lived on the ranch, I wrote articles for the Appaloosa club newsletter, and other little tidbits of horse "stuff," but that was all...until one night shortly before Christmas, 1996. My husband and I were both on our computers; he was doing some business and I was goofing around. I pulled up a blank page in Word, and for no reason that I can explain, even now, began to write a Christmas story about a Cockatoo and the Star of the East over Bethlehem, on the night of Christ's birth.

That story began a whole series of stories about animals, parrots, and Great Father ( my euphanism for God, Christ, Buddha, Jehovah, or whatever deity one may believe in). I wrote about Christmas, Halloween, the Fourth of July, 9/11, and several others. But I've never tried to get them published.

In 2006, my daughter sent me several books for Christmas, all of them about writing for children...and getting published. In her letter, she basically said, "Mom, get off your butt and start writing for real." I read all the books, got excited about the idea of writing for children, but...really didn't know how to start. Then one day, there appeared in my mailbox the advertisement for the Institute of Children's Literature...complete with the test to fill out. I answered the questions, returned it, was accepted in July of 2006, and to be completely cliche-ish, the rest is history.

A long journey. An interesting though choppy journey. And I'm only midway through. I've published some, but have just recently submitted my first novel, so I don't know yet where that path is going to lead.

The point of all this, I guess, is that we all start somewhere, and maybe that first start doesn't mean anything...or ...we don't know that it means anything. It's a long journey, no matter where or when we start, and we should never dismiss those first feeble, unknowledgeable efforts. Because who knows where they might lead? Mine have led me a place of friends, experiences, learned lessons, and Hope for the future. A place that years ago, I had no idea I would be in. A place I am very thankful for, even if I should never have that book published, because of the people I've met and the things I've learned along the way.

When did your journey begin, and where has it taken you?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Mikki, what a beautiful journey you have described. It does prompt one question, though; your SECOND go-round in college?!? I would have given three green sheep to have one go at it. But I wouldn't have done as well as you have, either. I love your writing, Mikki.

    I very distinctly remember leaning on my mama's knee and looking into her beautiful blue eyes while she told us a story of her own making. It was before I had started Kindergarten (ooooh! that word is my least favorite word in the WORLD to write. Its so goofy).

    I recall so clearly that it was in that moment that I knew I wanted to write the stories just the same as my mama told them.

    ~ Just Joany
    Red Wagon Flights