“I can’t write STORIES!” I remember saying. “Real writers write stories!” This was about 30 years ago, early in my marriage to The Great Encourager.
“Sure you can,” he said. “You’ve got stories that deserve being written.”
I had written news, features and columns for newspapers and magazines. Political speeches, annual reports, a few easily forgettable books on commission because I needed the money. Almost anything nonfiction you can name – but stories??
Thus began a dream.
With a lot of encouragement I took a fiction workshop with then little known author/encourager Anne Lamott. And soon entered the University of San Francisco’s graduate school. The Great Encourager did all the cooking, looked after home and hearth, paid the bills, fielded calls and invitations while juggling his own commitments and took other women to concerts and gallery openings. Two years later I picked up an MFA in Short Fiction. Writing stories!
Some of the resulting Marshallville Stories won recognition and/or were published in print or online magazines. Some are better than others. But then they languished in a dusty drawer for years while I went back to nonfiction. Books. Activism. Nonprofits, talks, marches, letter to editors. You know, Life.
I think this is often the fate of dreams: Life happens, things get tucked away. And slowly, almost imperceptibly dreams begin to languish in dusty drawers. Obstacles pile themselves on top of the drawers.
One day a friend kicked at my #1 obstacle. “Here’s someone,” he said, “who could drag those stories out of their long-abandoned Word programs. Call her.” I did; he was right. Over the next year or so I edited them into a self-published book – a fascinating first for me, accomplished with a LOT of help from people who know how to do such stuff.
The Marshallville Stories collection has now been birthed. I hope you will pick up a copy and enjoy it.