Last Friday, Passport to Murder, the second book in my Prof. Prather Mystery series, launched. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since book one was published. The time has flown by. Immersed in the world of Copper Bluff, I’ve been living the dream I’ve had since I was a young girl: to write.
The crazy thing is I didn’t feel as if I had permission to write until I had a writing contract. Someone says you can write, so now you do. If only writers didn’t need permission, I wonder how many others would come forward. How many, like the women of Tillie Olsen’s Silences, remain unheard? Olsen reminds us, “We must not speak of women writers in our century […] without speaking also of the invisible, the as-innately-capable; the born to wrong circumstances—diminished, excluded, foundered, silenced” (39).
Fortunately, I never quit writing. I toyed around with one piece of writing or another (novels, short stories, children’s books) but always in the wee hours of the morning or at night or around the kids’ schedule. It came dead last, if and when I had time. Still, I persisted (admission: I’ve been wanting to write that line for a long time). Some days, I wish I’d been as persistent about publication as writing, for publishing my work has given me a second education. It has taught me so much about writing, reading, and even friendship. It’s hard to imagine how my views on all three could change within a year, but they have and drastically.
I no longer put writing last. Next to raising my children, it’s the most important thing I do every day. Though I still preface
most of my interactions with my teaching experience, I’m getting better at saying I’m a writer. I’m learning new things about my craft and the mystery genre. And I’m becoming a better friend to those people who have supported me in ways I never expected. Without them, the hard days would be that much harder, and I’m so grateful to have them in my life.
Looking back on this time, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings. I hope it brings new readers, for they have taught me much also. They have taught me to see my work through a new lens, theirs, and brought to the writing desk one thing I’ve never had before: an audience. I hope they continue this journey with me, a road we travel uniquely together.