Real Mistakes, Real Laughs:

Air bases were built on captured islands of Tinian, Saipan, and Guam but they were barley within the range of the long-range bombers.

(hope the bombadiers weren't on gluten-free diets)

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008


So often I am asked if I have always known I would be a writer, or how I knew I wanted to be a working writer. The answers to such questions are always blurry, just as the art of writing is. There are no cut-and-dried, witness-stand answers. Yet I do have a very clear answer to a question nobody's asked me yet: who inspired me to start writing?

I owe my writing career to two people: good friend Cheryl Cohn and author/instructor Jim Gray. I had always enjoyed writing and had been told as a child that I "had a flair for it." But when I received my first magazine rejection at age 17, I naively misinterpreted this author's-rite-of-passage as a "you don't have what it takes, kid" stop sign. It wasn't until I was twice that age that I decided to revisit writing. After helping Cheryl compose a business letter, she had remarked, "Wow, you really missed your calling!" I realized at that moment that I didn't want to look back at my life someday and wonder "what if..."

I enrolled in an adult-education writing course taught by Memphis author Jim Grey. I began a short story that Jim believed should be written as a novel, instead." I could never write a novel," I protested. If only Jim knew the powerful impact of his reply! Just four little words -- "of course you can" -- changed my life.

That short story I was writing? "Far Above Rubies."

If anyone knows where Jim Gray is, please help me track him down! He is the author of suspense novel "Bring Back the Night" published by Colonial Press in the early 1990s. He taught an extension-course creative writing class through Memphis State University, now called the University of Memphis.

Jim Gray, if you're out there and happen to read this blog, please let me hear from you so I may say "thank you" more personally. I am one lucky writer to have had you in my destiny.

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