Monday, March 16, 2015

A Late Bloomer




Recently the show CBS Sunday Morning presented a segment on late bloomers and the things they achieved after the midway point of their lives. Suddenly, I realized I was a late bloomer also!

Although I had always wanted to be a writer, I was discouraged in my early twenties when someone read a rough draft I had written about my college experiences. She said, “This sounds like something a young person would write.” And then she tossed it aside. Now there is nothing wrong about how a young person writes and I shouldn’t have let that comment bother me. But it did. And life itself got in the way. Or at least that’s my excuse. The desire to write was always there but I had to make a living and raise my son.

Then something happened one summer while my son and I were staying in my mother and stepfather’s home on Lake Texoma. Every day I passed a house being built as I drove to college in Denton, Texas where I was studying for certification as an elementary teacher. I was now in my late thirties and had been teaching secondary Spanish and art but I thought having elementary certification would help me get a new job. (It didn’t—I immediately got another position as a Spanish and art teacher in a small town in Texas.)

But when the house was finished, I couldn’t believe how elegant it looked and it must have stayed in my subconscious because I dreamed about it one night a couple of years later.

In that dream I drove up to the porch and rang the doorbell. A very handsome, elegant but sardonic man opened the door. A mysterious woman lurked in the background. And that was all there was to the dream or all that I remembered when I woke up. And then a story about the man and the woman began to form in my mind and I started to write a very rough draft. My son graduated from high school when I was in my mid-forties and I went back to that first draft about the mysterious house and changed the names of the characters to coincide with a second story I had written about Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

I spent all of my fifties as a substitute teacher or part-time teacher writing drafts for six books, including reworking the first one. And finally when I was sixty-three, my first novel was published! Oh, it wasn’t that first one I started about the mysterious house. I didn’t publish it until I was 73 after I had already published 12 books!

So surely that qualifies me as a late bloomer! 

8 comments:

Marja said...

Yes, the term Late Bloomer works. I think sometimes things happen for a reason, even if we don't know what it is. I have to say that I've read most of your books and you always entertain me. I'm glad you finally bloomed. : )
Marja McGraw

Palmaltas said...

Thank you so much for the kind words, Marja. And I'm sure I've read and enjoyed all of your books.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Pat,
I saw the excerpt about Late Bloomers. (See, we even watch the same TV shows.) And I too was discouraged by someone--an English teacher. I stopped writing fiction. Then, when my sons were young I began writing short stories.
I think it's wonderful that you went back to writing and wrote books about your life adventures. I loved reading them. It's interesting—and foolish—how we let someone's thoughtless or critical comment affect us, even more than favorable ones.

Palmaltas said...

You are so right, Marilyn, about letting someone else's critical opinions influence us. But at least both of us finally got on the right track. Thanks for commenting.

Patricia Gligor said...

Wow, Pat! The similarities between your life and mine amazed me. I've written all of my life, short stories until my first Malone mystery, but I let life get in the way of me pursuing my dream of publication. I was sixty-two when my first book was published. And, the idea for "Mixed Messages" came to me when I was going for a walk one day and came upon an old Victorian.

Palmaltas said...

Patricia, we certainly do have a lot in common. And, I am learning that quite a few of us do also. And as for getting ideas, it's amazing how little is needed for inspiration. In your case, an old Victorian, and in mine, a brand new mansion. Thanks for dropping by.

Ramla Zareen said...

Hi, I came across your blog through your reply to my comment on one of Marja's blog post, that you also like P.G Wodehouse :-)

Well, today I finally got a chance to check it out ...and found this story both interesting ...as well as inspiring...!

Thanks for sharing :-)

Regards,
Ramla Zareen

Palmaltas said...

Ramia, thank you so much for going to the trouble of finding my blog and for commenting. Yes, I do love P.G. Wodehouse.