The unlikely writer

Once upon a time . . . I didn’t like to write.

I was never one of those writers who had to write. However, I was really good at completing assignments, and I am a competitive person. So it may not be a surprise, but I won the one and only writing contest I ever entered . . . but I didn’t find out about it until more than ten years later.

When I was a young girl living in upstate New York, my paternal grandmother, Edith Aspholm, decided she would give her authentic Finnish costume to the grandchild who would write her the most letters during her lifetime.

I only have a vague memory of that challenge, and even less of a memory of ever writing any letters to her. But I must have, because I found out I had won the costume many years later when she passed away when I was attending college.
That was my first writing challenge.

My next formative memory was writing articles for our high school newspaper at Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove, CA–for which I also served as editor in my senior year. Despite the fact that the journalism room was my comfort zone, I still didn’t give much thought to writing.

However, when I became bored stiff with classes in both political science and English literature (yes, you read that right–me, the former English


teacher, bored with lit classes), I remembered that I had loved my high school journalism classes. So, I not only changed majors; I changed colleges–transferring from UC Davis to UC Berkeley, one of only two UCs at the time that offered a major in journalism.

And did I THEN fall in love with writing? No. Writing was still an assignment–a skill I could do. I even worked four years as a reporter and city editor for a daily newspaper. But that was a job–not a calling.

Fast forward to age 35 . . . to a women’s retreat at Sierra Pines Camp south of Lake Tahoe. At the end of one of the speaker’s presentations, she said, “I want you to find a rock, sit on it, and wait for God to speak to you.”

Hmmm . . . if you know me well, you know sitting still takes much effort. But I followed directions, and soon God DID speak to me.
I want you to write for me. 
That was the call that changed my life . . . seven words that changed how I looked at writing.

So, from a past of letter writing to rock sitting . . . yes, finally, I can truly say: I love to write.

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