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Susan Creamer Joy

Susan Creamer Joy
Location
Paris, Iowa,
Birthday
September 30
Title
Retired Domestic Space Cadet/Current Arbiter Of Midlife Dysfunction
Company
Not often
Bio
Artist, Poet, Writer, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Lover, Seeker, Follower, Listener, Communicator, Found, Forgotten, Sainted, Sinner, Struggling, Sentient, Surviving...So far, so-so....... Unless otherwise noted, all of the artwork accompanying these posts was created by and is the property of the artist.

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NOVEMBER 17, 2010 4:09PM

I AM A WRITER. RIGHT?

Rate: 55 Flag

 

I was born to be a writer.  I've known it since the seventh grade when Mrs. Spangler, my bespectacled English teacher announced to my parents that I had a "gift with language" and was writing well-above grade level.  She predicted I would go on to do "great things" in the world of literature when I was grown.

 

I am now well into my fifties, and to date, that has been the only favorable comment made about my academic performance or life potential by a qualified professional.  

 

Is it any wonder I never did a damn thing about it?

 

If she was wrong, I had no back up gift.  

 

If she was wrong, I would be invisible and ordinary.

 

As long as I never tested her theory, I retained something special within and about myself.  Something that allowed me to get through the hapless mediocrity of child rearing, toilet scrubbing and car pooling with a modicum of interior respectability.

 

While everyone else in the mundane hills of suburbia toiled around me with mindless but dedicated abandon, I tolerated the tedium.   I carried out all the perfunctory duties with the requisite posture of obligatory martyrdom and thrived because I could say to myself, "I am not like the others."

 

 I am a writer.

 

And I did write.  I wrote letters, Christmas cards and grocery lists.   As a young mother, I wrote glowing accounts of ' baby's first steps' in a scrapbook and reordered the table of contents and topic sentences in countless elementary-school book reports and science projects with the dedication and finesse of a Bronte sister.  

 

After all, I was a writer.   And as everyone knows, if you don't exercise your gifts, eventually they will atrophy and go away. 

 

I kept journals in which I chronicled my exceptional interior delusions with a near pathological obsession.  My words were all I had with the potential to distinguish my soul from that of the sodden lump, as it outwardly appeared to others.  I was not about to let them out of my sight.

 

As a creative alternative to avoid exposing my writing gift publicly; and, therefore, risk revealing the possibility that I had no gift, I began ardently pursuing the visual arts. 

 

I initially tried this approach the first and only year I attended college when I enrolled as a double major in art and English.   I had one English professor in my creative writing class who adored everything I handed in; but in the other, more technical and rigorous English classes, I failed miserably.  

 

What is the point of diagraming a sentence?  I could see the relevancy in breaking down the visual landscape if we were preparing for a bank heist, but these are words.  If you lay them out in a sentence and they don't sound right, you simply reorder them until they do.  Isn't that writing?

 

But I was alone in my understanding and decided on the dreaded 'evaluation day' at the end of my freshman year; the day that the head of the Art department suggested I stick with my English major after I had come from being told just the opposite by the head of the English department,  that I was not meant to go to college.

 

I would just have to find someone and get married.

 

Well?  I couldn't be expected to get a job, could I?  I was a writer.  Writers write, and if I had to work, then I could not write.  Right?

 

But I did work.  I moved to New York City and worked as the administrative assistant to the Vice President of Hardcover at the New American Library.  Basically, I typed letters, filed pending book proposals, ferried endless vats of coffee to my boss and to the boardroom, and learned that almost all authors crave thin-sliced pastrami on Rye with Russian dressing.

 

One day in an inexplicable fit of confidence, I sent some of my poetry to The Yale Literary Magazine.

The upshot from that was a visit from the editor.   While he did not consider the poems I had submitted to be worthy of publication,  he felt differently about those he read during our visit and offered to publish one of them.  He also felt I should be writing full-time and sent a letter to my father hoping to solicit his financial support on my behalf.

 

That letter alone was worth the price of submission.

 

It was a page full of the most gilded accolades, the sort that take your breath away and leave a self-deprecating, underachiever like myself convinced that surely there must be an ulterior motive at play.  

 

It was a letter only another writer, a poet, could write closing with the flourished psalm, "I am doing this for Susan, no, for what she will one day write.   And let us both hope that when she writes she mentions

both of us -- for those poets mention live forever."


Oh yeah.

 

As an English major himself, my father was very proud.  He made copies of the letter and sent them out to all of our relatives.  Then he sent me back to the city on the five o'clock train.  After all, I had work in the morning.

 

The reinstitution of Plan B went into effect well before reaching Grand Central Station, and although love and marriage were not quite as immediate, they eventually did happen.

 

I have been married for twenty-eight years, raised three children, numerous dogs, cats, reptiles and fowl. I've designed a line of greeting cards, artist rubber stamps, and jewelry.  I've had numerous freelance illustration jobs from corporations to co-ops, made shrines and prayer dolls and sold my paintings in galleries and specialized shops in four states and two countries. 

 

In all these years I have never stopped writing.  I have boxes of copied correspondences to friends spanning four decades, shelves of journals stuffed with poetry, prose, drawings and dental appointments noted on hand-drawn calendars.  

 

My world is filled with papers full of words; handwritten, typed and computerized.

 

I am a writer.

 

Yet I have never published  one    single    word.


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This is for Annie. Go for it, girl! And just so you know, that literary magazine fell into bankruptcy before my poem fell onto its pages.
Such is life. But I still write. And you must, too!
Ah, Susan. One who believes (and demonstrates) that it's the *sound* of the words strung together, their rhythm and cadence and place, that's critical.

I mean, sure, one has to know the basics of grammar, spelling and punctuation, even in this day of apps that will "help", but writing as if it was to be spoken aloud ... that's the best.
Susan, did I ever mention that I co-founded the Main Street Rag Literary Journal, a (now) well-respected national small press quarterly, and edited it for three years? If publication is what you seek, I can help you with that.

There's no reason that your writing shouldn't be seeing ink. I am a fan.
You are clearly a writer, as well as a multi-talented artist.
All I know is that a writer writes. You have done it and done it very well.
rated with love of your writing and your other arts.
You don't have to be published to be a writer, Susan. You are a writer indeed - and one of the best I have read.
~Rated with admiration of your works.
Bo Redux- Sometimes I become hoarse after a day of 'writing!' Unless I read it aloud, I cannot 'hear' whether it is good or bad. I get tired of hearing my own voice:)

Shawn- What a kind offer! I have never submitted anything anywhere aside from that one, brave moment when I was 24 years old. When the magazine folded before my poem was published, combined with my inability to find time to write and my inability to believe I was worthy of publication, I never sought it again. I guess I decided on the Van Gogh route....not lopping off my ear but thinking that perhaps my words will hit paydirt posthumously! I know. I need serious psychological help :)
Even if you get a book published, it doesn't mean it will stay in print. Just because you get one book published doesn't mean you'll get a second book published and just well....
Romantic P- One thing is clear...we are all writers here:)

Fusun- Would it seem too easy to simply return the compliment? That is how I feel in truth:)
David Price- Just what we need.....down to earth reasoning:) Right and true!
Beautifully written.. because you are a writer.
rated with hugs
You proved those teachers wrong. Your art is complex and evocative, your writing--superb.
It's funny because the other day I told my husband that I was not a writer. He said the same thing as Fusun. So I guess I am a writer. And I love the way you write. -R-
Ah.. if it makes you feel better Suze I've never been published either!
Go figure. But YES, you are truly a gifted writer, artist, and a sweet soul to boot.
Linda S- As are you, my dear:)

maryway- I suppose rather than the proof being in the pudding, I find it more in the tenacity. What else is there but to keep at it? Thank you:)
Christine G- Isn't that odd? We are the only ones who don't recognize what we do as being what it is?

trig- Ahh shucks. You say the nahsest things, darlin'.... You warm my heart:)
You are a writer. And you are also published - in the sense that your work is public, here at Open Salon. And I'm not being clever in saying that - it's a big step to put your stuff out for anyone to read and comment on.
Me too! Me too!! I know exactly how you feel. My college English teacher did submit my story, unbeknownst to me, and it was published in some college thingy. Does that count? Oh, and once I was a guest editor for Peoria Women's Magazine. : ) That was about 15 yrs ago. Nothin' since. Maybe 2011 is our year!
No "back up gift"? Priceless.
Luminous M.-Theoretically, you're right. I suppose that because I love everyone here, I think of it more as I do writing a letter or email. It took a while to make 'friends' and reach that point, but now writing on OS is like holding the hand of your father as he walked you across the street when you were five. I feel confident I won't be shoved under an oncoming bus:)

MiddleagedWB- Oh I think we have LOTS of company here! And of course it counts being published in a college rag! I haven't seen anything of mine in print since high school....and that was only because there were not enough people submitting to create a literary mag. so they took anyone!:)
Well, go for it! Lulu.com, Creatspace (Amazon), Barnes and Noble. All free to publish your book! xox
Love your writing and your art.
OEsheepdog- Seriously....what do I got? I can fold laundry in record time and make a mean coq au vin! I suppose if indentured servitude appealed to me.....oh, wait! I've already done that! :))
So somehow in all of this you managed to drive a magazine into bankruptcy ?? You write wonderfully and the way your words fit together is really, very much, lyrical and I really admire that, oh and there's also the really expansive vocabulary. Okay, that's a lot of praise, all perfectly correct praise by the way, I just can't figure out how you killed the magazine so quickly.
Robin Sneed- I'd love to....first I need to organize my brain. They got a site for that? Where are my pills? :))

Elisa R- Being here is the best thing ever....like a Richard Scary book! I drive through these multi-colored pages of images and swim toward the happily ever after smiling all the while:)

Veronic W- I knew there was more than one reason I adored you so! I wish I had your admirable fortitude! But I am more than willing to cheerlead your success! :)

Zul-I love that you love it. I love being able to love your work in return:) This is a good place.
You are a writer. I am a writer. I am unpublished, except for a poem long ago in a forgotten book, expect for newspapers, newsletters, board reports, websites and letters, copious amounts of letters.
Marty's H- Oh, you should have seen the mess I left the accounting department when I worked the check out side of a major KC hotel! They practically begged me to leave! Needless to say, am an not at all good with numbers....:)
Speaking of Van Gogh ... we all know how he fared in the market place. If someone had to pay $$ for the irises and the sunflowers to become works of art, well that's just stupid and leaves me more than cold. He was an artist regardless of the financial acknowledgement. And as far was what is published and sold, the shelves are full of trite crap out there. Guess you now know how I feel, Susan, the writer.
Scarlett- Yes, you've made yourself clear, Scarlett, the author:) Let's slog away together, shall we?
Sheila TG..- Yes you are, indeed! Here, we all are. I guess we should take Luminous Muse's observation to heart:)
Are you a writer? Of course you are...
a re-orderer of words, a player of the piano of synactical possibility,
a lover of language,
a published person:
"publish", from the latin "publicare",
to make public...
This is public: affecting the community.

Books are f-ing obsolete anyway, i heard.
The computer is the future, they say!
I look at you as one of the most talented people I know, however viral. I love racing to your newest post to see your latest art creation. You write like I wish I could, with every word written as if it were meant to be there. If you never publish a word, you were a writer a long, long time ago.
"almost all authors crave thin-sliced pastrami on Rye with Russian dressing." Oh thank God, then there's hope for me!
I hereby profess myself to be a professional writing critiquer therefore I am both a professed "authority" on writing and a professional professor, and I profess that you write brilliantly!
And if this is not publishing, then what the hell is?
Publishing is making something public, lucre is definitively irrelevant.
You write brilliantly! End of story.
And you're really hot for 50 something. too!
Oh, and you are totally successful!
You are a writer, artist, creator, lover of life and a beautiful spirit!
No. You are not a writer. If you were, you have said, "I am a writer, correct?"
Odd -how that word is so hard to say. I guess writing is a concept or a calling more than a profession. It seems to be the "vocation" that gives every writer pause before declaring it loud and proud. You sure strike me as a writer and you should entertain no doubts. Great story with the letter- very impressive. My relatives would sneer and wish me to go bald if they saw that.
My God! I related to this so much. I was told as a small boy and in high school that I was a poet. My dad said it was a great hobby but I still had to get a job. Your writing is profound, absolutely a joy to read and your art is beyond words. Thank you for this. I needed to read something like this.
Rated.
I hear you, Susan Creamer Joy. I always thought the urge and need to write was a blessing. Lately, well...not so much. Love your writing; it has a glow to it.
Oh yes, yes...you must keep writing! Yes you are one! Yes! Reading your work makes us all better too! Thanks ...Right ON (Write on!) r
Hell, yeah, you're a writer! And you are more of a writer than a lot of the pap sitting on bookstore shelves. I have been writing since I was a kid, too, but I never put much energy in dreaming about being published. Seeing it here is enough. But if published is what you want, why not take Shawn Pavey up on his offer?

Lezlie
There should be no question ... you are indeed a writer, Susan. One that I admire immensely.

I wish I could do more to encourage you to write that book and follow a dream. Perhaps, if I offer to you these words of encouragement that you have so nicely offered to Ann ....

You go for it, girl!
It's so funny, I just thought about this yesterday (me, not you)
My fourth grade teacher just died and she was my first encourager. I put my "gift" on hold for 30 years, and now I am ready to try my wings. Lets fly together... You and I. What do you say? R
I love to read you and see your art work! Im no professional but you have my support.
When I signed on to OS last spring I lurked for a while and just made a few comments to other people's posts. I was intimidated by the quality of writing on here. There are some very, very good writers here. You are among them. When I first clicked on one of your blogs I thought, "Wow, where did she get that beautiful artwork to go with her blog?"

A couple of visits later, I took the time to figure out that you had created the artwork yourself. I thought about how much talent must be lurking in this beautiful person, to be able to cause me to emote both with paint and words, to tug at my heart with joy and to make a grown man cry. You just have no idea, Suzi.

I am a lot like you. Minus the talent for art. I have a didactic education and am a two-time colij dropout. I am however, a bookworm and cannot own or read enough books, and I know world class writing when I read it. I read it when you post.

Just like myself, your writing future is in your hands and your heart and your brain and the only thing standing in your way is you.
Mr. Sunshine- Books are sort of obsolete...but don't you just love them anyway?

Scanner-Speaking of enjoyment...your last few posts have had me on the edge of my seat!

trilogy- Oh yeah..you are NOT alone there! Just throw some sauerkraut on mine and we're downtown!

Fred H.- Will you be my agent? BTW, I can't keep up with your changing avatar! How do I find you?

Jonathan W.- I think I'll put that on tape:)

Just Cathy- These are the exact words I would use to describe you!:)

From the Midwest- Ha-ha! Yes, but I would be a very dry and boring one!

fernsy- Probably the scariest thing is to take ownership of your 'calling'....and I can't imagine an entirely bald familiy, fernsy! But if that is true, you know you've got tons of fans and supporters right here, darlin'!

michaelpeace- Isn't it cool how so many of us share the same writerly-obsessed childhood? Your writing has inspired me many times over, friend.:)
You know what helps? Hating on the successful writers who aren't as good as you are. Just kidding. No, I'm not. R.
Joan H.- Thank you, Joanie...but you know it takes one to know one:)

Dr. Spud- I have found that also true....that the desire/compulsion to put your soul down one letter at a time can often be excruciatingly painful. But in the end, aren't we always glad that we did?

APMuse- Okay, okay! But only if you do! Your dual gifts bring such joy!:)

Lezlie- I've never put a whole lot of stock in the publishing end of it. The desire to share my art and words is a relatively new thing. If I can do it, I will. But if I never do, I will still write and still create. I can't help it. It is all I can do:) Just like you!

Little Kate- If I ever do, my friend, you will be the first to get a copy! You are always so kind:)

Blu Speck- I am totally game! Let's go!

Zanelle- I am very grateful for your support, too. And know you have mine:)

Conrad- There should be a rehab for bookaholics like us, shouldn't there? I, too, was so blown away by all the gorgeous writing on OS when I came last May. That has never changed. It inspires me to try harder. Let's both stop standing in our own ways, okay? We can cheer one another on:) Rah-rah-rah!
Writing shmiting... I just want to know your recipe for Coq au vin.


{[R]}
Max L.- Yes, you are kidding:) And anyway, there is something to be gleaned from every approach.

Jacob F- What are you...twelve? Or maybe just trolling for readers for your blog? That must suck.
Leapin Larry- Oh, it's easy, but you'll have to wait to for the next open call on French foodies:)
And all of these life events...these moments in time and along a path chosen for you...have led steady and specifically to THIS moment in time...to this nexus of your life.
Because right now...it is time to write and get published. It is time to throw your safety blanket on the bench behind you and step up to the plate.
This is your time and your moment...and the book is right there for the writing.

Susan...stop writing about writing. Just go for it.
JD- You know I'm workin' on it! I wrote this to inspire Ann not to give up even though she's struggling right now. She has such an amazing opportunity to publish her incredible talent. I think the world deserves a slice of her. We've been lucky here.
Well if you aren't a writer then I can't imagine what it was I just read.
Susan - are you kidding me? You are one of the most gifted writers I've ever had the pleasure of reading. And your artwork is absolutely stunning. To be perfectly honest, I'm fairly secure in my writing ability, but every time I read one of your posts, I think, "Damn, wish I could write like that."
R
Abrawang- Clever....and point well taken:)

Unbreakable- That you feel that way is totally shocking to me! I read your work and that of the others here and feel the exact same way..."If only I could".... But I guess that is how we all become better writers. We inspire one another. There will always be writers and styles we admire and envy. Thank goodness!
i love books.
i open them and then get still,
and feel eternity jump off the page.
Omg u are great ur teacher is on quea because I love your words. I will be back time and time again and if you don't find a publisher by golly publish ur own. We writers love to write it doesn't matter who reads, who agrees down under we care not it is all about the written word. No regrets our children make us happy and if we were to go back I can put my head on the thrown that it would be done exactly all over again,maybe with a bit more precision but nevertheless done just the same.
Keep on writing I want to read tons more.
Mr. Sunshine- Oh this book lust! Maybe we should call for an intervention?

Daisy F- I will do my utmost to entertain you, my friend:)
Yes you are a writer and one exceptional .... I learn so much from you
Blessings
Hugs
Rated
Mauricio B- Ah, Mauricio....we will get there, won't we? One word at a time:)
Mrs. Spengler was right. You still have ample time to prove her right.
Cranky- Yeah...hopefully while I still have my own teeth. I'd like to look my best for the author's photo on the dust jacket:)
I made my living for over twenty five years as a writer, a whore, writing ad copy, P/R pieces, software user's guides.......

Because it was such hard work, so much heavy lifting, getting outlines approved, working with editors, meeting impossible deadlines, interviewing folks that did NOT want to be interviewed but that had the info that I needed to make MY deadlines.....jeeze louise, it is sometimes a gut punch to see folks decide that because they BLOG that "they" are writers.

I've done it for a LIVING all of my life. And it was never easy, but I did it, was good at it, and paid the mortgage doing it.

There is a lot of talent here on OS, and you surely rank with the best, but the whole, "Am I a WRITER?" question keeps cropping up, and I am deeply weary of hearing it.

If you like what you write, and others do, surely you are a writer. If you've written words that others enjoy, great, good for you. I am thrilled for you, and actually enjoy reading you.

If you want to talk about making a friggin' LIVING as a writer, talk to me about it.

I've only been a writer all of my life, for pay. A whore, but a whore that learned to be disciplined, to work with editors, and a whore that now wants to write what *I* want to write.

I used to say that unless you've been paid for your work, been published, that you are not really a writer. I now think that there are really really great writers here on OS, and I am deeply grateful that they write........there is so much to love here.

Your work, for example.

You are a wonderful writer.
but you've got a great blog and have a few EPs. someone I know doesnt have any EPs after over 100posts. whatever!
Oh the avatar change.... I commented on snarkychasers post today and she replied that I couldn't have a pot-belly because I needed an older picture, so I put one up!
The first to get a copy? Me??? Oh my! Now that would be just extraordinary and I would indeed be very honoured Susan! BUT of course that would not be right. You have family and other friends who are more deserving but I will most definitely be lining up to buy it as soon as it's published! So PLEASE write it soon ... I can't wait!!!
Oh yeah... you were right. More in common than even we knew.
This was stunning, Susan. I would also kill for such a letter. You may not be published, but you are blessed with more artistic gifts than the average bear...and how lucky are we, the recipients. Maybe if all the money in publishing (or a whole lot of it) wasn't allotted to buying books from Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin we would have a shot. :)
Jacob F.-I'm not sure why you are here, but you have given me a laugh. Perhaps you are just trying to draw attention to yourself by providing a hot link to you blog in comments TWICE, or hoping that others will interpret your hostility as a sign of intelligence. But it's obvious by your faulty allegations you've never read any of my posts before now. If they upset you so much, why bother with them at all?
And you might want to get some professional help for that massive chip on your shoulder. Just sayin....
Ginny R.- Thank you for giving me/us and inside take on the "writing for money" aspect. I've never sought publication and only lately have considered it as a possible goal in a realistic sense for the reasons I mentioned in the post. My point was missed to a certain extent - which does not bode well for a writer - but I was basically saying that 'writer's write' and the commitment to that process is what carries the most weight. Yet, if an opportunity presents itself, it seems a shame not to go for it. I read Ann Nichols' superb post about her current writing challenge and wanted to speak to the that from the perspective of one who did nothing and still questions why not. I very much appreciate your input, here, Ginny. It provides more to think about:)
vzn- I'm counting my blessings. EP's are great, but more so, the other great writing here to read plus the wonderful interactions, support and friendships that develop. In the end, which means more?
Fred H.- Okay. I get it. Just making sure I was not losing my vision as well as my marbles:)

Little Kate- No matter what, you always make me smile...a great way to begin the day is finding you here! Now I really have to think about doing a book!

Seneca's P.- Told ya!

Ann N.- I wrote this for you after reading your post yesterday... I suppose I could have tried for publication, but I never did. Now you have a better than incredible shot at doing so, and I hope you find a way to make it happen. I want an autographed copy! But even if you decide against it, you are a writer extraordinaire and have a reader for life in me!
You are so much more, Susan. You're an inspiration to me and many others.
Your right to write and keep upright or you will get a sore back.
Belinda T.- And you are much too generous in your praise! But I'll take it:)

Algis K-Next time I'm gonna ask you to write the title:) You and your little wooden friend! Is he back from abroad yet? That was so cute!
A writer basically needs a pencil, paper & eraser. Consider using your eraser on the bum (above) who loaded his troubles on you.
Thanks Leon. Looks like someone forgot to take their meds. :(
No big deal.....
i got here late yesterday and was so dumbstruck by JF's comment, i left, meaning to come back later. so *much* later, here i am to say it's a great post, susan, and good writing. hope that weird dude disappears soon. if he doesn't, i'd be checking out the 'delete' key. peace.
Hey, Mr. Freeze, complaining about someone writing about "me, me, me" is pretty funny coming from a guy who posts a link to his own blog in every comment. Honestly, who would want to read your blog after reading your inane, vitriolic comments. Instead, you're the type of person normal people cross the street to avoid.
Delete, delete. delete. Your blog is not a receptacle for vulgarity.
Femme F- I'm very glad you worked your brave way back! It is always wonderful to see a friendly face! Whew! Thank you so much:)
I hope Mr. F's turkey is loaded with salmonella.
(*make sure you take the turkey out at 125F, you
don't want the turkey to be dry)
Hey Larry! I think he's going to be cooking his own goose, instead. Some people eat turkeys, some people are turkeys. We all make our choices:) Thank you, friend:))
He was incredibly incredibly over the top. Perhaps he needs help and will find it. As for you and your writing....you ROCK!!!
Cranky, Joan and JD- You guys are better than Doberman's! How much would you charge an hour to circle the perimeter of my blog in defense mode? Some days are absolutely insane, aren't they?
This is such a special piece of writing. I found so much of my self in it. This,"I kept journals in which I chronicled my exceptional interior delusions with a near pathological obsession," and this ""almost all authors crave thin-sliced pastrami on Rye with Russian dressing" were especially wonderful.
As you can see, just catching up on your posts! It's astounding to me that you have never published. Get your ass over to duotrope.com and start submitting. I imagine you'll be getting your first of many acceptance e-mails in a matter of weeks.

Your blog is one of the few I make sure and check in with as often as I have time to do so, and I am never disappointed.

Yeah, I'm a SCJ groupie!
I am like you--a writer. And I worked as a writer KIND OF. I was a copywriter for an ad agency. Which is not the kind of writing I dreamed of doing. My mother saved little books bound in gift wrap that I "wrote" when I was four. I always was a writer, from the time I could write! I don't think being published is what makes you a writer. It's the writing itself! And it sounds like you have done plenty of that over the years. No doubt the recipients of your words were moved and touched and blessed to have been among the few who got to read them. But now that the kids are grown, it's your time! I myself am starting to get out of my own way and write--not just for myself, my family, and my friends (and certainly not for some ad agency), but for others. I have been working on a book all about self discovery at midlife--the proposal is done, and I've sent it to ONE lit agent. Planning to send it to more after the first of the year. I hope you will do the same! You do have a gift Susan (and I'm not just saying that because you are another Susan!)--you should share it! GO FOR IT!!!