Reading was my escape as a child. My parents got a divorce when I was in second grade and I guess I used to get lost in a book to escape my changing family landscape. I started with E.B. White books, moved onto Beverly Cleary and then Judy Blume. I devoured each and every book the author had written. As I got older, I even “borrowed” my mom’s Danielle Steele books when she wasn’t looking.
I loved living in another world for a short time while I turned the pages. I loved the feel and smell of a library book and my library card was the coolest thing I ever owned.
In between books, I started to write. First, it was a lot of simple diary entries like:
I can’t believe so and so was so mean to me today at recess.
I am not walking to school with her tomorrow.
My issues got bigger as my life went on. Most of my diaries focused on boys and random crushes. But they also talked about my dad and my very tenuous relationship with him. Then I branched out into poetry as my feelings got more complex. I found as a young girl, words were the only way I could make sense of my life and my feelings.
When I was in ninth grade, my English teacher asked us to write a fairy tale. It was the only high school writing assignment that I can remember and that I still have. I wrote and illustrated a tale and received an A++ on it. My dad kept it and I was lucky enough to find it two and a half years ago when I was going through his things after he died.
Finding that fairy tale was the sign that I needed that told me to keep on writing. My dad was my biggest cheerleader where my writing was concerned. Our relationship had its ups and downs but we were very close during his last few years. He made it no secret that I should write. I think he was giving me one of his dreams that he never saw to fruition but it fit because writing had been my passion for decades already.
When he died, I started my blog. And I started work on my first novel. His death unleashed something in me, an honesty I didn’t know existed before. Writing in a public forum is scary and overwhelming but the rewards have outweighed the drawbacks. My kids enjoy it…sometimes. After every crazy thing that takes place in our family, someone says, “Are you going to blog about that Mom?” Chances are pretty high the answer is yes.
When I published my first book last month, it hurt that my dad would never hold it in his hands. But I have to believe that he is out there smiling down on me and somehow reading my words.
For more on Julie, check out:
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Perfect Mamas Blog HERE
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