By Belinda Forgy
I remember as a little girl, writing short stories about mythical creatures and cute little kids and everyone would tell me how good I was at it. My English teachers always gave me kudos for following the story writing formula of a protagonist, an antagonist, a crisis and a happy ending. Regretfully, my own childhood was not so happy and as a teen, my writing became dark poetry that always asked a brooding question. My high school teachers loved answering those with poems of their own or pairing me with another poetry writer and we would go back and forth with questions and answers. It was great practice for writing!
In college, I took ‘Creative Writing 101’ and as a requirement we had to submit one piece to a magazine for publishing . If it got published we got an A; if not, we got whatever grades the professor felt we deserved. I didn’t even submit anything and received an A in the class. I was riding high thinking I was the greatest writer ever and I knew my bestseller was just waiting to be brought forth!
Fast forward thirty years… I had dropped out of college, had one failed marriage and one about to collapse and had raised five kids. My bestseller was still somewhere in a foggy, worn-out brain. It was time to put pen to paper and tell the world my great story! Little did I know that some people around me were thinking the exact same thing.
So I started writing. I planned and plotted and wrote the first chapter. I reached out to a sister and asked her to read it. She said, and I quote, “Maybe you need to do some healing before you put that out in the world. But your spelling and grammar are impeccable; would you take a look at my book and tell me what you think?”
Of course, I was heartbroken! I couldn’t conceive of a world where someone didn’t tell me what a great writer I was. It was just the first chapter; perhaps she needed more to make a better assessment… In the meantime, I agreed to “look at” her book and give my opinions… they were many! She agreed and made the changes. She published her book and gave me editing credits. My pride was a little soothed.
Shortly after that, my daughter-in-law contacted my published sister and asked who her editor was. When she found out it was me, she called and asked if I would look at her book and consider being her editor. Well, of course! And so I coached her in her writing and sent many changes. Her book got published and she became an instant hit!
Hmmm… time to reassess my writing goals. Perhaps my purpose in life is not to tell my story as a bestselling novel but to help others tell theirs!
Maybe someday I’ll even write about it.