I’m at the Snake River Writers Conference in Idaho Falls. We – about 10 of us – were just told we are very early. Like an hour early! That’s OK with me, because if I’m not early, I’m late and then the whole project goes south.
I put everything I will need today (I hope) into a backpack. It’s a little unnerving to leave the house without my three sets of keys, two pairs of sunglasses, reading glasses, five pens, a dozen outdated and will-never-see-use-again store receipts and everything else I carry around in the pink elephant, also known as my purse. Maybe all women are not like this, but my purse is my security blanket. I’m feeling a little exposed without it, but that’s what this conference is all about for me.
Writing always has been a natural expression for me, but I have not labeled myself as a writer. I worked on high school and college newspapers and was a reporter for a semi-weekly newspaper for 12 years. But that was being a reporter, not a writer, an author and creator of new worlds and fantastic journeys. I have written stories at home, but not in public, until today.
So yes. I’m feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable. We still have 40 minutes before things get started and I think the nerves are growing instead of settling, but I am determined to do this. Silent Thunder would still be a collection of loose-leaf papers written in a rainbow of markers stuffed in the back of a desk drawer if not for my family. Their support has brought me to this point and their support keeps me going. Completing that story put me on this path and I could have never done that without their patience and cheer leading.
I left the newspaper shortly after I got married. The demands of reporting (I put on myself) didn’t blend with the new responsibilities (I put on myself) of married life and motherhood. Also, my husband and I worked in towns 25 miles apart and our children were in day care in the town where we lived located halfway between our work homes. This meant we got our babies up, fed, clothed and dumped off at day care by 7:30 a.m. and we didn’t get them picked up until 6 p.m. Then it was eat, bathe and get to bed. These precious lives that my husband and I had waited so long to have were being raised by others. We loved the day care, but it wasn’t us. And most weekends were spent correcting behavior that’s only natural for children to adopt who are put into a crowded mass situation.
I made a personal goal of getting our little family living, working, and being in the same town. So I packed away my writing and started working as a secretary in schools. It took two job changes and the purchase of a new home, but we finally made it. I guess about 10 years ago, I started messing around with Silent Thunder again and the kids found out about. They and my husband encouraged me to finish it and I’m not sure who was more excited when I finished it – they or me.
Well, things are starting, so I’d better go.
Enjoy the read,
T C Robinson