My second act didn’t begin until I was well into my fifth decade.. Life is a puzzle with pieces that somehow fit together by the time we're done. It took more than fifty years and a whole lot of patience to find one of the most important of my puzzles pieces. And when I did, it fit perfectly into what was already there.
From the time I was a little girl I wanted to write stories. I excelled in my English classes. It was one subject that I looked forward to, received top grades and soaked up every word the teachers offered. Helping out at home and working to save money for college left me little extra time to pursue my passion for writing in high school so I put it on hold.
College and working summers so I could return to college filled the next four years. Suddenly, I was a teacher and my extra hours were devoted to lesson plans, extra projects for my students, dating and taking care of my apartment.
Next came marriage, more teaching, then motherhood and supporting my husband in his career. The writing dream remained in the recesses of my busy mind. Someday I’d tell myself, someday I’ll write stories for children. It was a goal I’d set for myself, although I never mentioned it to anyone else.
I loved my life as teacher, wife and mother, but an important piece of the puzzle of my life was missing. Would I find it one day? I sometimes wondered, but it remained elusive.
Suddenly, my children were independent, my husband took a job in a state hundreds of miles away and, after we’d moved, I found myself friendless, bored, and depressed. Flipping through a magazine one too-quiet afternoon, I spied an ad that told me I could learn to write for children through a correspondence course. A tiny spark of interest flickered as I turned the page and then returned to it. I checked the school’s credentials the next day and enrolled. Why not? What did I have to lose?
I finished the course in record time with great enthusiasm, wrote story after story geared to middle grade children, the age group I’d taught so many years before. I joined a small critique group where I learned more about writing and heard encouraging words about my stories. I sold a story and was hooked for life.
I decided to branch out and try writing fiction for adults but I turned out some pretty clichéd, lame tales. I tried poetry and some of it was not half bad. Next, I delved into creative non-fiction and a lot of it was published at ezines and then magazines and finally anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul and Guideposts. That was where my strength lay. Being one who likes variety in life, I attempted some articles on the craft of writing and many of them were published. I joined an online critique group and then anothe when that one folded. I gained knowledge about our craft, confidence in myself as a writer and some lifetime writer friends.
I started a blog about my writing world with the intent of encouraging other writers, and I found that I enjoyed posting five days a week about a subject I’ve loved for a long, long time.
Lately, I’ve been selling children’s stories and have an editor interested in a juvenile novel I wrote several years ago.
This second act of my life brought me that large and important piece of my life’s puzzle as well as great satisfaction which continues every time I string words together to create a new story or poem.