My Personal Reflections on Writing and Reading
First of all I am a Reader. Ever since early childhood I have been fascinated by words and pictures. On rainy days I sat for hours paging through books from my mother’s shelves as well as my own. I was always drawn to the mysterious and magical, preferring fantasy to real life adventures or tales of daily life.
Typically, in my teens, I devoured Romance books and magazines. I probably read “Gone with the Wind” three or four times. (That original book is still in my shelves, tattered and falling apart from those readings.) I read “Payton Place” under the blankets at night, and other so-called ‘dirty’ novels as well. I should add that I attended high school in the 1950’s… a comparatively naive period in this nation’s erotic morals.
I kept a diary faithfully throughout high school, hidden in a secret locked cabinet away from curious eyes, for of course I believed I was writing some pretty “hot” stuff of my own. Sadly, I burned those old diaries when I married. I had a dumb idea they might make my new husband jealous! Stupid! I would love to read them today and recall what was so exciting to me back then.
I wrote for the High School paper and was assistant editor in my Junior and Senior years. But in college I lost interest in writing and turned instead to visual arts. I graduated with a degree in Home Economics Related Arts from Madison, Wisconsin in 1963. Immediately thereafter I landed a dream job as an assistant designer with the most exclusive interior design studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
But writing began to come back into my life with a change in career around 1969, when I became involved with a new enterprise at the University of Minnesota Medical School, called The Program in Human Sexuality. As it turned out, I found my niche there as a therapist and counselor for the following 35 years. In this job I wrote many presentations for seminars and workshops in human sexuality. I particularly focused on women’s sexuality.
At the same time, I became fascinated with studying Mythology, and Ancient History. I found an interest in Astrological Psychology, becoming intrigued with the paranormal and various aspects of that art. Eventually I was doing professional astrology readings from a spiritual/feminist perspective. That led me to study the history of feminine spirituality, witch-craft, mysticism, and ancient history quite extensively. From a combination of all these interests I developed a theme of women’s sacred cycles and spiritual traditions based on the Lunar Cycle.
Through the 1980’s, as I presented these ideas in workshops, I also wrote about them. I authored articles for the Women’s Press in Minneapolis, and other local publications. Through a period of over ten years I finished a thousand page manuscript: “Sex and the Goddess”, which is yet to be published. From that huge work I extracted sections and published my PhD thesis: “The Spiritual Unfolding of Women’s Sexuality”, published in 1998.
Since that time, I continue to read avidly, having several books piled on my table at once. More recently I have begun using my Kindle Fire tablet to acquire and read books… mostly historical fantasy, time travel, medieval romance-mystery, fairytale retellings, and occult fantasy. Favorite authors I have read recently are: Juliet Marillier, Sarah Woodbury, Patricia McKillip, and Gregory Maguire’s “Oz” series. My introduction to the historical fantasy genre was Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series, now including sequels more recently authored by Diana Paxton.
But my favorite author of all remains the British writer, Terry Pratchet. His “Discworld” series of sci-fi fantasy continues to delight me with its humor and apt parody of an alternate universe, even after several re-readings over the past decades. I especially enjoy Pratchett’s stories of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, the Witches of Lancre; his tales of the city of Ank-Morpork and its wonderful other-than-human and human characters. Sadly this brilliant writer died just this year of early onset Alzheimer’s…a great loss to the literary world.
My shelves hold hundreds of beloved books and reading a good novel at the end of the day is simply my greatest source of relaxation. When I finish a book that I have ‘lived with’ for a time I feel a sense of loss, as if a good friend just left. I can even get mildly depressed, unless there is sequel or another series to pick up the next night.
So, I must make the confession: “I am a Bookaholic!” Incurably so. And I am totally at peace with that.
Following pages under this heading contain stories I have written but not published. Most began as assignments for online writer’s courses, then were developed later into longer stories. I will continue to add more of these as I go through my files to discover them. I find it is a pleasure to read my own writing, although I am always also critically assessing and editing them in my mind. Whether I ever actually do a final rewrite and edit to publish any of these remains to be seen. There are too many newer ideas floating around in my head that want to be put down in writing too
I must confess to enjoying them yet myself, after many years of not having looked at them in my files. I hope you might take time to read one or two, then give me your feedback. Thanks!