I would like to welcome Tracey Meloni as my first guest blogger.
Fate and memories led me back to writing, and writing groups.
In the late ‘80s, unpacking from a move in Washington, DC, I came upon an old issue of INGENUE magazine. Suddenly I was 14 again, a much-moved often lonely Army Brat, whose father had just been transferred to Wertheim, Germany. The previous summer I wrote and submitted a short story to INGENUE. Months passed, we moved to Germany and I guess I forgot about the submission.
Nothing is more fun than being The New Girl in a strange school and being called to the Principal’s office. Mortified, I went, with every eye in Miss Holland’s English class boring into me.
In the office were my parents, the Principal, and a photographer from the STARS & STRIPES newspaper. Everyone but me was smiling – the principal handed me the phone.
“Is that Mary-Teresa?”
“Congratulations, dear! Your story is our INGENUE winner. The prize is $100! We’ve been having the devil of a time finding you.”
$100. Practically a trust fund when I was 14…
But, after my 15 minutes of embarrassed fame, I went back to being The New Girl and didn’t write another me-driven word for 20 years.
Until I found that magazine. I remembered the journals that always had been my catharsis and the excitement of watching even my 14-year-old characters come to life.
Next day I called Washington Independent Writers, a wonderful group that boasted speakers like Gloria Steinem and, for modest annual fees, offered writers office space in the National Press Building, a health care plan, editing services and legal assistance, not to mention a first-rate Job Bank. I joined. All my favorite breadwinning gigs came from that Job Bank. My inspirations came from the Small Group Evenings members hosted to encourage one another.
Until 2009, when WIW went bankrupt, largely due to lack of interest among new writers. The Small Groupers promised to stick together, but we all know how THAT goes.
So I signed up for UCLA Extension classes…and found my way (eventually) to a great group and this blog.
I’ve never felt more like writing, not even when the National Press Building offered me free research space. I can’t thank all of you enough.
Writing is a demanding mistress, and it leaves you lonely; it may leave your friends confounded and your family frustrated.
Only other writers really “get it.” How wonderful that we have found each other!
Finding INGENUE those years ago was serendipity – it reminded me who and what I really want to be, and made me keep looking until I found other like-minded animals. I’m so glad not just that we CAN help and encourage each other’s writing – but that we want to.
Tracey Edgerly Meloni won a short story contest as a teenager and just kept on writing. Her most recent award: a first place in feature writing from the Virginia Press Association. Formerly press secretary to three California Congressmen and Virginia’s senior Senator. She pens a weekly newspaper travel column, contributes regularly to several magazines and writes about worldwide health and travel with her physician husband.
**I want to express deep thanks to Tracey for allowing her post to appear on my blog.**
Please take a moment to say hello to Tracey in the comment section.
Questions to ponder:
1. Do you feel that fate has played a role in any way with the outcome of any of your goals/pursuits?
2. Can you share with us how a group or a person has influenced you? Was it positive or negative?
Again, please feel free to leave a comment…
Thanks for stopping by,