Although I dreamt of being a writer from the time I could hold a crayon, well, practically, my background is in a little bit of a lot of things. While I was writing and raising My Three Sons, I spent many years as a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, marketer, occasionally taking a j-o-b in the field. I've dealt in antiques, managed a record store, cooked and served in restaurants, taught arts & crafts, and merchandised in a boutique... the list goes on. But my two great passions are writing and gardening, and I'm blessed to be doing both at this time in my life.
I currently write every day, design gardens, volunteer as a Master Gardener in my community, and manage a large organic vegetable growing operation, okay, it's a 1000 square foot garden, but I plant intensively, so it's still quite an operation. I sell part of the harvest locally, and I’ve become all atwitter about sustainable living.
My influences are many and ongoing. I wasn’t a stellar student; I'm a bit ADD and who knew what that was in the 70’s. But I did have a couple of teachers (Vaughn, Madelyn) that lit a little flame that never quite went out. I think there’s a good possibility that they saw me as just another student, but I’m thankful that they were doing their teaching thing and made me feel capable and talented.
My father instilled in me a love of gardening and cooking, which both show up, not only in my non-fiction but in my fiction writing as well.
The author I most admire is John Steinbeck. And I say admire rather than influenced by, because I would never want the assumption made that I would compare my writing to his. I have just been so moved by his voice, characters, and stringing together of words – it’s a lovely thing.
My friend and editor Kay has taught me to trust my instincts and to recognize when I’m stinking up the joint.
People in my life and the people I meet every day shape and shift what I write about and how I write.
And finally, what I love influences my writing – gardening, cooking, reading, travel, the outdoors, anything athletic, laughing, and people. In a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare writes that “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged cupid painted blind.” Without will, the mind holds what it loves and rolls it around, swishes it back and forth. For a writer, what the mind loves is a framework, a color, a brush. What the mind loathes, that’s another influence but not one I like to dwell on. So, let’s move on.
What motivates me to write is what has kept me at it for my entire life. It's simple, passion. And that passion gives me no choice - I have to write. Stories show up and I need to put them on paper so that I can make room for other stuff in my head space.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Harold Whitman