SOLSC: My Back Story

I’ll let you in on a secret: I actually like numbers more than writing. Yep.
(At least I did as a kid.) I am good at math. I can add numbers quickly in my head and reason problems. Numbers come naturally. So, you may ask, how did you start writing? Good question.

I didn’t like writing as a kid. I definitely didn’t think of myself as a writer. I struggled with spelling, vocabulary, and reading. Three essentials for writing (and I was in the buzzard’s reading group.) So how did I evolve into a writer?
Through letters.

I am an only child (almost) and my cousins, grandma lived 600 miles away. I didn’t have email or a cell phone. Back in my day, phone calls cost enormous amounts for long distance, so I turned to the next best thing: letters.
I wrote 3,4,5 letters a week. Not just one pagers either. (I usually averaged 3 to 5.) To someone close, 7 pages was no problem. It was my voice, my release. My cousins and friends returned letters, but never as long as mine. I didn’t care. My thoughts were out and I was connected.

Now I have to grab my notebook and pen, my computer and blog. I have a passion to empower and to connect. I have thoughts to capture and moments to savor. I have a story to tell.
I. Am. A. Writer.

This is my back story.

6 Responses to SOLSC: My Back Story

  1. Tam says:

    So letter writer becomes author!!! What a story!!! I’ve never been friends with numbers. You’re multi-talented.

  2. Stacey says:

    Thanks for sharing your back story with us, Mary Helen.

    It wasn’t too long ago that I recall long-distance phone rates being over the top. Heck, I remember calling Spring, AT&T, MCI, and Bell Atlantic many times during college to try to negotiate better long distance rates! (That was when e-mail was just starting to take-hold.)

  3. I love numbers too! I always tell my students I would teach math if not language arts. I was just too much of a people person to focus on teaching only math.

    I was a letter writer too! I moved from Illinois to northern Wisconsin in 7th grade. I kept in touch with my old friends and even my favorite teacher via snail mail back in the day. I love your story about the gift of writing those letters gave to you!

  4. djts says:

    Remember the days of penpals? It took a month to get a letter, then a month for them to receive the reply…by then any question about Christmas should have been about Valentine’s day or maybe St. Patrick’s Day. But it was always such a treat to get a letter. BTW: When was the last time you received a letter? Hmmm. Can’t say that I remember. I hope email and texting will be enough to foster some future writers.

  5. Linda Baie says:

    I love math & when I went to college took lots of math classes, but no one suggested that a woman might become a math teacher-huh? I love hearing that you were in the buzzard group. What in the world were teachers thinking? And what strikes me the most with your backstory is that you learned to write by doing something that was authentic, had an audience and a purpose. How telling & wonderful is that! Great story, Mary Helen.

  6. the other ruth says:

    I love that you told this–isn’t it strange how different each person’s path is?

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