My vocation has taken a few twists and turns along the path of my life. When my kids were growing up I was a stay at home mom, and when people would ask, “What do you do?” I would answer, “I eat chocolate bon-bons and watch soap operas.” I would usually get the laugh I was looking for, and then I would go on to explain my choice to be home for my children. Before the husband and the kids, I was an actress, and much to my parent’s chagrin, after four years of college, I was living at home, selling flowers at restaurants at night, auditioning and taking acting classes by day. When asked what I did, I answered that I was “an actress.” I was a union member with real credits on network shows, so my answer felt legitimate. I gradually gave up my pursuit of stardom, settled into the role of wife and mother, and rode the up and downs of suburban life. Somewhere along the line, my volunteering as a 4-H Horse Leader gave way to teaching for money. As I came to learn, I was a good teacher. So, when asked what I did, I would say that I gave riding lessons.
There was one constant, one thing that has never changed in my chameleon life and that is my love of writing. I wrote stories for fun and stories that I got paid for. Never mind that my name had to be changed and they appeared in magazines most people keep hidden at the back of their drawers. I wrote a journal chronicling my first pregnancy, I wrote articles for my 4-H kids – I wrote. I wrote a novel only to stick it in the back of my own drawer. Then, I wrote another, and another, and another, and one more. Somehow, my constant love of writing took hold like a weed and grew and became a vocation filled with passion and a desire to see my books published. I began giving the one I have the most faith in to people to read, friends, and strangers. I found a mentor, an editor; I began signing up for writer’s conferences, and I began to study the business of getting published. But still, when asked what I do, I would answer that I teach riding lessons, and nothing more.
I was at a party with an eclectic group on the Friday after Thanksgiving when the question “What do you do?” was again asked. I answered that I teach riding. My hostess, my student and friend, a feisty woman of sixty three who has traveled the world, worked as an entertainer, beaten breast cancer, and someone who I think of as extraordinary, said “She’s a writer.” The conversation turned to the plot of the novel I am trying to see the light of publishing. My friend, a champion of the twisted story I’ve written, feeding the interest, telling the tale.
And the wonderful thing that happened that night, is my own faith in the answer when asked what I do, is to answer, “I am a writer.”