Once upon a time there was a little girl who had a dream. Yes, the little girl was me. But no, the dream was not to be a writer. The dream that never varied from the time I was 8 or 9 was to run an orphanage and have 12 kids. I can't say why it was such an unerring, unchanging thing. But it was. And in a way, my dream came true. I married, had 4 homemade children, adopted 10 and lived (at times endured) my dream.
Our adopted children came with lots of baggage that unfortunately did not go away with love, discipline or any other tool we had at our disposal. During one of those time when the dream seemed more like a nightmare, when several of the kids were teens and acting out in weird and awful ways, I got invited to a writer's meeting. I sat with other people. I can't say if they were like-minded or not. I doubt it.
We listened to a tape telling how to organize our thoughts into chapters and write a non-fiction book. It all sounded so ...so controllable. I went home, picked an idea I can't even tell you what the idea was. I think it was something about my early childhood. And I started to write. From the beginning I was hooked. I had found a world I could control. Although I hadn't planned to write, I had always made up stories in my head, often late at night when I couldn't sleep. I thought everyone did the same thing. To this day I can remember one rancher hero I created tall with a rolling swagger and a smile that didn't end.
I credit my writing with keeping me relatively sane through that difficult time when my life seemed out of control. I still find my fictional worlds often make more sense than my real world. Am I the only one who feels this way? Or is this why we read and/or write?--to find a world that makes sense where people act in ways we can understand because we are privy to their thoughts and motivations.
I share my life with my ever-patient husband (yup, the rancher of my dreams), a paraplegic-double-amputee client for whom I provide personal care, a grown son who lives at home, and a yappy African grey parrot who knows far too many insults. I have an open door policy to my large family, which means special occasion family dinners for twenty or more, visiting grandchildren, crisis counseling (let's talk to Mom about it) and generally sharing the joys and trials of my children's lives. All of which provides me lots of research material for my historical and contemporary books, which have a recurring theme of foreverness, commitment, the power of faith and the joy of family.