I was always a writer; always kept a journal. I’m sixty-three and I have journals going way back. The oldest was written in the hospital when my son was born. He’s forty now.
After my first divorce I wrote about the house I bought on my own, a chicken coop on a busy highway in a bad part of town. On weekends I’d do laundry and grocery shopping and pay bills and take Danny to T-ball practice and mow and water the lawn and get good and dirty and then shower and change and pour a glass of wine and sit on the porch. I’d write in my journal and watch the sun set across the freeway.
I wrote about my tough new job in management. Back then there weren’t that many women at that level, and I was only twenty-nine, and kind of stupid.
And I wrote about being lonely. Boyfriends didn’t seem to stick.
I got my degree eighteen years after graduating from high school, the first and only one in my family to do so.
Along the way toward my second divorce I was filling up the pages of my journals, but I wrote short stories, too, and a hundred first chapters of a book.
One day an essay of mine appeared in a local magazine. I pulled over to the side of the road and wept.
At fifty-eight I published my first novel, Dakota Blues. It got easier after that.