Birthing a poem is akin to birthing a baby — there’s a tendency to over-protect it and not let it go out into the world and live a life of its own. Maybe that’s what took so much time for me to decide to get my poems published and on the market. Over a few years I shared some of them in my annual Christmas letters, and the responses from friends and family convinced me to share them with the world.
The synchronistic way in which the first three books — Celebrations, Heartstrings, and Inspirations — came into being was nothing short of miraculous. Absolutely the right people, at exactly the right time, and in the proper order, came into my life and helped make it happen! Once I made the decision to publish, heaven and earth moved organically and quickly for me to bring my beautiful books into being. Three more were added two years later: Sanctuary, Awakenings, and Sojourns.
Writing the poems began in the 70s.
My first husband moved us to California in 1970 with our two children (ages 7 and 3) to seek his fortune, and after several failed attempts, I took a job at a local weekly newspaper, The Tiburon Ark, to “tide us over” until he could bring an idea to fruition.
Unfortunately for him, my disillusioned husband fell victim to a major mid-life crisis, and in his haste to reach what he considered Nirvana, followed the teaching of Timothy Leary, and “turned on, tuned in, and dropped out.”
Contrastingly, and fortunately for me, my work at the newspaper allowed me an opportunity to really grow into my own talents. With a limited staff, I became a “Jill of All Trades.” I managed the office, did the typesetting, helped design some of the advertising and also wrote a couple of weekly columns — a California History column, and a Restaurant Review column called “Shore Leave.” (The Ark — Shore Leave — get it?)
My marriage was on the ropes — we were growing in two different directions: he down the drugged path of least resistance and me into my talents. His verbal and physical violence and abuse forced me to end the marriage. I advanced rapidly into the role of single parenthood. To give my children something they could count on as tradition, I began the Advent Poems, the Lessons on Life and Love. I felt that after what our family had been through, the kids needed some input of good old-fashioned common sense. Each day of Advent they would receive a poem (24 in all, each year). The messages were helpful for making some of life’s hard choices: perseverance, patience, helpfulness, kindness, forgiveness, and above all, being true to themselves. I hoped the poems would enable them to make good choices and have a healthy self-image. (Messages in rhyme are easier to digest than a lecture from Mom.)
My good choice was to move back to Washington where I met my second husband with whom I shared a life for 25 years until he died of Alzheimer’s in 2008.
So why start a business in my 70s?
Well, you can be old at 30 or young at 90, and I choose “young.”
When I turned 75 in 2014, I published the first three books. And at 77, the next three.
And in seriously looking back at my life, I realized there was a very important part missing: making something special out of my life that was mine alone… that I could pass on — not only to my own adult children and step-children, and their children, but to people all over the country… the world.
Our present world is broken and divisive now, and my poems of Life and Love are meant to help heal this broken world.