I can’t honestly say I was born to write, though even at a very early age, I was known for my wild imagination. I recently found my grade school report cards and all six teachers commented on that. Almost all my early writing efforts tended to be heavy and pedantic. I wrongly equated that with being "literary" and, I really didn’t enjoy writing, nor do I enjoy reading that sort of writing.
I began writing in earnest about thirty-five years ago, shortly after returning to Pullman. When I got a job as a technician in the WSU libraries, one of the librarians invited me to join her writers group, to which I still belong. My first effort was a movie script—a love story about a diamond-in-the-rough woman who grew up in a man’s world located by a lake in Northern Idaho set during WWII. My critiques told me that I’d have an easier time marketing it as a novel, so I wrote it as a novel. I had no luck marketing it at the time and it “sits on the shelf” gathering dust. I still hope to edit it some more since I think I have a good story.
In the years that followed, I’ve written a number of short stories—still unpublished—and four memoir-type articles for our Whitman County Historical Society’s publication, The Bunchgrass Historian, which have been published, and another is in the pipeline. One dealt with shopping in downtown Pullman in the 1930’s and the another, being a kid in Pullman during WWII, and one about being one of the first patients in our old hospital when it became the city hospital as opposed to the college infirmary. The latest to appear was about my mother's process of doing the laundry and clothes care in the 1930's on. I just submitted a fifth short filler that will appear on my memories of Bryan Hall on the WSU campus in the 1930's to 1951. That building held the library and auditorium. It covers my experiences both on stage and in the auditorium. I have several other similar ideas in mind when I can get to them. My mystery series and column come first these days.
In September 2006, our local paper, The Moscow/Pullman Daily News, invited the public to apply to write a bi-weekly opinion column. Since I’ve long been known to have strong opinions on a number of topics, I thought that might be fun, so I submitted the requisite three 750-word samples of my writing and was one of the two chosen. My first column was printed in November. We’re both still at it, but with the cuts in the size of the paper, the columns are now 650 words. In terms of the quality of my writing, having to write to a word limit was a real blessing, and I know my writing is tighter and cleaner as a result. I was not known for my economy of words in either writing or speech, though I doubt the latter benefited to the same extent as the other. I really enjoy having a bully pulpit. The hardest part has been choosing something to write about that I haven't covered before. I hope to continue as long as I have my wits about me, and they will continue printing them.
Read a sampling here: Daily News Columns