My love of writing began when I was in eighth grade. Each Monday, Sister would give us a writing prompt and on Fridays some of us would get to read them aloud. There were fifty-one students in the class so there was not enough time for everyone to read. After a while, Sister would let the class decide whose stories they wanted to hear. My stories were usually funny or had an ironic twist to them, so I was often picked to read. That began my love of writing.
That year, I read Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther. Because of this book, I decided to become a nurse. Writing was placed on the back burner.
Upon reading other nursing articles, I decided I could write just as well. Starting in the 80’s, I wrote several articles which were published in peer reviewed nursing journals. I also developed many patient teaching booklets. I was asked to give classes on publishing for nurses and developed several power point presentations. Later, as a research coordinator, I developed consent forms and posters about research for patients in order to encourage them to become study subjects. Unfortunately, all my writing for patients had to be written on a fifth-grade level. That meant I had to be very concise, accurate and use monosyllabic words. This took away some of my writing creativity.
When my father was dying, we would talk about my growing up. It is true that you never know what a child will remember. Some situations or stories I brought up my father remembered and others he didn’t. He enjoyed hearing every one of them. The best one was the story about Kap, his hunting dog, when he came home on Thanksgiving Day with a fully cooked, stuffed turkey and proceeded to eat it in the dog house he rarely used. For several reasons, Mom swore me to secrecy about this incident. Dad enjoyed my confession and had a hard time believing I kept the secret for forty years because I was never good at keeping secrets. It was great hearing him laugh. I wrote the story for the Times Union Living Today section and it was published on November 16, 2008, just before Thanksgiving. I received a lot of positive comments, so I decided that maybe a memoir could be written containing all my childhood stories. At my last job, I would tell some of these stories. My coworkers would ask each other “Is she telling the truth or just making this up?”
I also love to read mysteries, so I joined the local chapter of the of the Sisters in Crime and have been trying to write a mystery for about eleven years. I am especially proud of a short story I wrote called “Sorry” which is a mystery.
I find writing to be very therapeutic. Remembering my childhood or trying to solve plot problems or reining in my mystery characters takes my mind off my current medical situation.