The Writer’s Life

This post begins a new section of the blog, devoted to reflections and tips on writing.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I’ve been able to form words on paper. In school, I loved nothing more than the smell of fresh paper and the feel of a writing instrument. From freshly sharpened wooden pencils (No. 1, 2, or 3), to fountain pens, ball point pens, and felt-tip and roller ball pens.

In elementary school, I kept journals and wrote vignettes about various family members. When I needed to talk seriously with my parents, I would write them letters and leave them on their pillows because I didn’t trust myself to speak what I was feeling. Somehow, family members became aware of my writing. One uncle, in particular, always asked when I was going to write my “great American novel.”

In senior high school, I began to write poetry in earnest, turning some of the poems into not-so-great songs—odes to my private teen angst. Then, in 11th grade (Western High School, Baltimore, MD), my World History teacher, Mr. Ernest Widenhouse, managed to coax me out of hiding. So encouraging was he of all our burgeoning thoughts about the world around us, that I one day slipped a poem to him after class. He advised me to submit it to our student poetry magazine, Paradox. Not only was the poem published; in my senior year, I was selected to be Editor-in-Chief of the magazine! (If the school has an archive of these now 50+-year-old issues, I’d love to reread them. I think….)

In the ensuing years, I continued to write but only rarely sought to have any work published, until I started this blog in December 2014. I also created a companion Facebook page for the blog, which has recently been more active than this blog’s page. In two months, I’ll be celebrating 6 years as a dedicated writer, with the last 2 years devoted more to poetry than to essays/memoirs/opinion writing.

And now, for the reward: after 2 years of poetry readings and immersing myself in several online communities of poets, I have now—in just the last 3 weeks!—achieved the goal of becoming a published poet! It is my one great accomplishment in 2020: The Year of Covid.

I am currently creating a gallery of my poetry journey for the blog, including photos of and links to the readings, and links to the published poems.






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