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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

If You've Been Wondering . . .

For those of you who don't know me except through, I thought I'd attach a link to the YouTube reading that I along with six other writers participated in a few weeks back as part of the Writers Workshop in NYC. I blogged about that experience and the technical glitches that put me in panic mode. Did I mention the stiff drink I chugged once my part was over and done?

So, here you go: Yours truly reading a section from a personal experience piece titled "Robert The Reader," a narrative about my reading with a psychic--a rather mindblowing reading at that--and how that session dovetailed into Dead Serious, the book I wrote after my brother who took his own life.

My reading begins at the 24:08 mark. Of course, if you want to hear the other readers, you can pick and choose.

It's funny how just seven or so minutes can make for such a supportive event and give one a big boost of confidence. As you know if you've been reading my blogs (& I sure hope you have!), I haven't been on the "stump" for well two years, probably more. The revised edition of Dead Serious was published at the end of 2018 and is now considered "old hat" or as they say in the publishing biz, a "backlist title."

Sure, there are still some copies being sold, and a royalty check makes its way to my mailbox four times a year. No, I can't use the money to buy a new car or pay for a winter vacation. But it does come in handy and covers the cost of something unnecessary but fun. (I need a pair or two of winter pants badly!)

I didn't start out as a writer but as a high school English teacher. Most of the female college graduates back in the day went into teaching or nursing. There was little to no encouragement to pursue other careers. It didn't matter that I minored in French and was fluent. The idea of becoming a translator or working in France never crossed my mind as a possibility; it didn't cross anyone else's mind, either. I'm not sure that I even took a writing course at the University of Michigan. All of the writing I did focused on literary criticism--reviews of a book's themes or characters or style. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed the challenge. But, hey, what about a journalism class or creative writing? Nada.

I came to writing through the back door, a door that opened when I took a poetry writing seminar offered at a local college just to get out of the house after single parenting for two years. I was desperate for some creative stimulation. From there, my circuitous path wound from a full-time gig at a small neighborhood newspaper, to writing/producing educational slide shows (Remember those?), to working at the local ABC affiliate, to finally, after all those jobs and years, launching a career as a freelance writer. I used my experience in education to write a load of short non-fiction books about everything from sports figures to Indy 500 race cars. Hey, it was a start. I was off and running. (Okay, that's a bad one.)

So here I am some forty-five years later. Gulp! I've meandered from kids' educational books, to feature magazine and newspaper articles, to books for adults to personal narratives, and now to my first, yep my first, short story. Writing about other real people and their experiences to writing everything about mine (Well, not everything) has gotten stale. I need to just make shit up.

And as long as I can find the right keys on the keyboard and some ideas in the recesses of my not-as-sharp mind, I'll stay in business. If not, I'll load up my phone with audible books and spend my days in a rocking chair listening to the words of others. It sure beats shuffleboard!


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2 opmerkingen

Sue Hepker
Sue Hepker
25 okt. 2021

I bet there are many of your readers who share your story - it echoes my experience exactly. There were no writing or journalism courses offered at South African universities in the 60s and 70s. If you loved writing you "studied" great (white) authors (male) and then taught English. You were never encouraged to write for pleasure!

You, however, found your pathway to write, and then you found a compelling reason to write. The most impressive thing of all is that you have not stopped learning new things about writing: you keep looking for ways to sharpen your skills.

So many of us "seventy-and-me" followers allow ourselves to think - it's too late to start now. My sisters are both…

Jane Leder
Jane Leder
25 okt. 2021
Reageren op

You are my best subscriber! I rarely hear from my supposed readers, so it's always great to hear from you. I could have wax eloquently about the white/male establishment etc., but it's a shitty day here and I just didn't wanna'. How's the teaching going? It's so amazing that after all this time and all of your effort, the course you've developed is taking off. Talk about persistence, my dear. Big hugs!

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