Writing is my chicken soup. It nourishes my creative spirit; it comforts me when I need an outlet for my emotions; and it soothes my soul to share my feelings. I love that euphoric feeling of choosing just the right words to describe a visual setting or an internal situation. Yet, very few people know or would guess that besides travel, writing is my passion. It has been my secret past time since high school. Over the years I have dabbled with poetry, short stories, newspaper articles, children’s stories, creative application letters, speeches, and even eulogies.
My love of writing developed in high school when I became a student in Mr. Winter’s English class. Mr. Winter both mesmerized me with his use of the language and terrified me with his expectations. I was entranced by the way he described the content of the novel we were studying, but lived in fear of being called upon to parse a sentence. I had never worked so hard to maintain my grades, and he rarely noticed.
Mr. Winter is no longer around; however, my joy of writing has continued to grow over the years. Sometime ago, a good friend surprised me by signing us up for a writing course. The course was to be an instructional lecture on writing Harlequin romance novels. I had never entertained the thought of writing in this genre, but I left the class that day filled with enthusiasm.
Not long after that, I came across an advertisement in the local newspaper looking for short stories about travel. The editors of the well-known book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, were planning a new title called Chicken Soup for the Travelers Soul and they were searching for entries. I decided to give it a try. I wrote and rewrote for days; editing, rewriting, and starting over again and again as I tried to tell my story in a thousand words or less. I dropped my entry in the mail just before the deadline. In a matter of weeks, one of the editors called me by phone to say they wanted to use my story. (At the time, I didn’t even own a computer, so there was no email.) My reaction was a combination of disbelief and elation. I later learned that the editors had received over 2500 stories and they only publish 101 in each book. The entire publishing process seemed to take an eternity, but I finally learned the release date.
The morning of the book release, I arrived at my local Chapters Bookstore to purchase a copy. I knew I was to receive my own book in the mail, but my excitement to see my story in print was intoxicating. I selected two copies from the shelf and moved into the cash-out line. Then it occurred to me that perhaps my story wouldn’t be part of the finished piece. I was gripped with anxiety, but unable to bring myself to look. After paying, I headed directly to the car. I sat there staring at the shiny cover. Gingerly I opened my book and leafed through the introductory pages to the index. My finger slid down the column searching frantically for my title. On the third page, I found it. Tears of happiness and relief trickled down my cheek; I felt like a fool and hoped no one noticed. I opened to the page and gazed at the title. It was a simple little story about my son’s first trip alone to Europe, but it meant so much more to me.
Not long after Traveler’s Soul was released, I was contacted by someone looking to do a Canadian version of the Chicken Soup books. They asked if I had any stories about being Canadian that I might like to share. Naturally I said, “Yes!” Then I got busy writing. The whole process was much faster this time. I wrote about my experience at the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France. The editors must have liked my story because not only did they include it in Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul , but they used it as part of their web sight.
Several months ago, I again heard from my friends at Chicken Soup for the Soul. They were doing a special series called “the best of” and were reprinting stories from their entire series. The theme was to be The Best of Chicken Soup for Mothers and Sons and they were requesting to use my first story in this new edition. I was thrilled and proud to be included.
On my original bucket list, I had listed the goal to be published. Well, I have checked off that item on my paper, but I will continue to write. I have now added “write a novel” to the bottom of my page. I’ll definitely keep you posted.