I have pursued creative writing since I was nine years old and I copied longhand a story from the Ladies Home Journal. When I showed it to my mother, she said (without realizing what she was unleashing): “Anyone can copy. But can you write your own story?” I did, and my parents honored my effort. My father typed it and my mother kept it until I was an adult, and I have it in a file in my office. (It is horrible).
As an adult, I started out in poetry and eventually switched to nonfiction prose. I received my M.A. in creative writing at the University of Minnesota in 1990. My focus is the memoir. In 1988 I was one of six recipients of the Loft Creative Nonfiction Mentorship awards. In 2013 I was a finalist for this award.
I worked for over 20 years as a freelance healthcare reporter, but took a day job at a department store when the Great Recession put the final blow to my freelance practice. I take occasional editing gigs when they seem to work for me.
At my day job, I am the founder and convener of the Occasional Reading Series, a semi-annual event in which employees who write read from their own work.
I am writing a book about the way my life was changed by my family’s move from a suburb of Oklahoma City to a small town in southwestern Oklahoma. The working title of the book is An Inheritance of Spirit. The book was prompted by my youngest son (who happens to be Charli Mills’s son-in-law!) who asked me to “write down the family stories.” I soon found myself drawn to the darker, challenging stories of grit.