The Beginning

Long before I ever dreamed of writing a real book, I wrote poems. In fact, I wrote my first poem in the second grade. Over the years I wrote many poems, and our local newspaper published many of them until they stopped that feature. I never did anything else with these poems, and they've sat in a folder for years, some of them close to 50 years. When I read through them, I am surprised by how some of them reflect feelings that are still pertinent for today’s times.

What is most interesting is that my first poem was romantic. And I was just a little girl of about 8. I wrote my first little story (a school assignment) in fourth grade, when I was 10 years old, and it, too was romantic! It was called (don’t laugh) “Mr. and Mrs. Quack.” It was about a pair of ducks (male and female) who were flying south together. The male duck was shot down by a hunter. Mrs. Quack was so sad. I don’t even remember if Mr. Quack lived. I think he did and they got back together. I have that story somewhere. If I find it, I will post it just for fun!

Either way, I have apparently been a romantic since I was a little girl. At about 12 years old I started watching Gunsmoke when it started airing on TV and I fell in love with Marshal Matt Dillon. When other kids had pictures on their walls of Elvis Presley, I had pictures of Marshal Dillon and several of the Gunsmoke characters – and I remember wishing Matt and Miss Kitty would hug and kiss once in a while. Again, I was not only thinking “romance,” but I was also falling in love with westerns. And as a little girl, instead of playing with dolls, I loved to play cowboys and Indians. And a school mate from junior high told me a few months ago that she remembered when I studied horses and knew all about them – could name all the different parts of a horse and the right feed for them and so forth. I have no memory of that – and in spite of all the westerns I’ve written over the years, I’ve never ridden a horse other than those slow-moving kind you rent to ride a pathway up a mountain with twenty other people. You know – the kind that are very gentle and know the path so well you hardly need to hold onto the reins.

In my 20’s I took a correspondence course in creative writing – and in looking back on those assignments, I see that everything I wrote had to do with pioneers and Indians and was romantic. Apparently romance and westerns have been in my blood practically my whole life. I didn’t even see it myself, but it was all I wrote about and all I read.

I didn’t try writing a full novel until I was 34 years old. I was busy being married, raising two boys and working full time. I think waiting until I was a little older helped me as far as identifying with my heroines, who often are mothers and even grandmothers. I’ve written many saga-type stories wherein the heroine ages from around 16 years old through to being a grandmother, and my favorite part of that kind of story is that the hero and heroine are solidly in love throughout their years together. It’s the love story that is most important, and it’s that love that holds them together and keeps them strong through years of struggling against the perils of settling the West.

Because I have a folder full of poems, I decided it was time to share them with my readers. I am starting a series of blogs that will feature my poems. I hope you enjoy them, while I work on that “next “ western novel for all of you to enjoy!

I found that very first poem that I wrote in second grade. Here it is. I have no idea why I was thinking such things at such a young age, but this is what I wrote.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We sat here together, long, long ago. Then we sadly parted – waving good-bye.

I guess it was forever. Strange – how gray the sky.

I come back here and sit, dear, Nearly every day.

But you have never come back. It’s no use to stay.

But I will linger for a while, And imagine you are here.

While the birds fly to and fro, You seem so very near.


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