I grew up like most normal girls – writing stories behind my catty-corner dresser, singing into a hairbrush pretending to be Marie Osmond, and practicing my inevitable future Academy Award acceptance speech while walking home from school through a cotton field. Ok. Maybe not exactly like most normal girls. I never made it to Hollywood, but for several years I worked in regional theater and arts management. I never became Marie Osmond, but I did sing for churches, weddings, funerals, and on stage. (I met Marie Osmond once; she was really nice and really tiny, and I knew then I would never be her, but that was ok.) I also continued to write stories. In 1996, I submitted my first short story for publication, Game For a Name. It was published and won a fiction award. I felt very honored, cashed the check, and then promptly quit creative writing. I thought it was a fluke and I should quit while I was ahead. Talk about cutting off my own nose to spite my face….despite my face?…. whatever, it was dumb, but it’s what I did.
Years later, after losing my father, birthing my daughter, having a miscarriage, struggling with postpartum depression, and facing a midlife crisis, my love for creative writing brought me back to life. I’m not even kidding. Writing saved my life. Ok, therapy and a temporary prescription for Lexapro and a whole lot of love also helped. But writing opened me up, helped me flush out my clogged mental pipes, helped me find clarity and purpose and – most especially – my long-lost dusty but still trusty sense of humor. I started blogging in 2010. In 2012, Skirt! magazine selected me to be one of their national bloggers. I was a member of the cast of the live reading show Listen to Your Mother: Charleston in 2014 (here I am reading Growing a Daughter) and again in 2016 (now I am reading Thinking About Tomorrow and making the audience ugly cry). My story Cracked Rear View was featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Curvy and Confident edition, 2017. It’s a funny story about me falling in love with my butt. My husband loved it. My mother, not so much.
Even though I quit writing creatively (temporarily, thank goodness) after winning a South Carolina Fiction Award in 1996, I couldn’t quit writing completely. Instead I tapped into my past life as an engineering student and joined Blackbaud as a technical writer. I have enjoyed over 20 years in this career, and am currently a Senior Technical Writer with Scientific Research Corporation. And yes, I really do like it. In my spare time, I enjoy writing creative nonfiction and short stories, working on an impossible novel, and editing other projects. I also read voraciously. During the years I refused to write creatively, I also stopped reading creatively. Nowadays, I usually have three books going at once – one literary fiction, one short story or nonfiction, and one Audible. Man, I love Audible. I have a lot of catching up to do, so listening to books during my commute feels like whatever easy money might feel like. I personally have no experience with easy money. I also serve as a Senior Thesis writing mentor at the Charleston County School of the Arts Creative Writing program. I am pretty sure I learn more from the seniors than they do from me, but hopefully they learn something, too. I hold a BA in English from the University of South Carolina at Aiken. (I mean, I don’t ‘hold’ it, it’s in a nice frame over my desk. My arms are not that strong.) USC-Aiken is a wonderful school where I had stellar English professors who inducted me into the National English Honor Society (charter member of Epsilon Upsilon, thankyouverymuch) and attempted to give me an exemplary education that I completely underappreciated. I appreciate it now. I wish I had paid more attention then. I also hold (there’s that word again) a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University because I used to raise money for and manage nonprofit arts organizations. Who knows, maybe I will again. I live near Charleston, SC with my patient husband, our youngest child, our two ridiculous dogs, and an occasional foreign exchange student. You can follow me on my Facebook authors page or on Twitter, but please don’t follow me on the street without announcing your intention. I carry pepper spray and a kubaton and sometimes a stun gun. I will use them if I have to. And then I will write about it.