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!