Back in 1985 I was asked to write a column for three local weekly newspapers. The subject would be local Ozark crafts people. There was no particular reason I was asked. I think they couldn’t find anyone else. Nevertheless, I went to work not having much of an idea what I was doing. I learned how they got started creating their crafts, what they had learned over the years. How it made them feel to create something so beautiful or intricate or artistic that someone would fall in love with their product and actually pay money for it. And then I wrote a column about what I had learned.
Every artist has a story about how they started down the particular path they follow. Odd that in learning these artists and crafts people’s story, my own began. Oh, I had piddled around writing over the years, but always put it aside for something more pressing. Like life. For several years I wrote these wonderful creative people’s stories, never realizing I was beginning to follow my own path.
From this beginning my clips caught the attention of several newspaper editors. Eventually I wrote features for the Northwest Arkansas Times, then was hired by The Washington County Observer’s owner, Parker Rushing. He wanted me to write features and news stories and I did. For nine years, through several owners and editors I stayed with the paper.
My path had been clearly laid out by then and writing would become a way of life for me. Twenty-six books later (the 26th came out September 8) my fingers still caress a keyboard every day. Of the six non-fiction books, I guess I like The Boston Mountains: Lost in the Ozarks about the best, though Fly With the Mourning Dove, a finalist in the WILLA Literary awards, is a close second. As for fiction, it’s difficult to pick a favorite, so I won’t.
Have you ever thought seriously about what particular time in your life started you on your path, whatever it might be? We all are driven to leave something behind, lovely words, beautiful paintings, exquisite creations of some sort so we will be remembered. Long before we wrote on stone tablets and built enormous statues, cavemen scrawled their history on the walls of their homes. Showing and telling how they lived.
Humans all have that spark inside that urges them to make something lasting. Why not share your story here in the comments. What do you wish to leave behind and why? What first urged you to go in that direction?