I wrote Dakota Blues because this is my obsession:
I refuse to apologize for getting old.
- I believe we’re more powerful because of age.
- I reject the premise that everything young is good, and everything old is bad.
- I believe older women should send back messages from the front.
- I want to figure out how to enjoy aging, instead of pretending it isn’t happening.
I intend to write about these things until you pry my cold, dead hands from the keyboard.
All my life, I’ve wanted to write. My mom, who’s still jammin’ around at eighty-six, tells me I’ve been writing since I was very small. In elementary school I created stories about my plastic horses. In adolescence I wrote about my belief that I was half space-alien, since I felt so ALIENated from the rest of the weirdos on the planet, but that’s what happens when you’re an introverted little kid.
I was born into the kind of one-car family where Mom made all our clothes. We girls got one new bra every school year and no money for makeup or pantyhose, so I went to work early. First I babysat. Then I lied about my age and got a job selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. Next, I worked in stores, but after high school I married an out-of-work carpenter and needed a fulltime job. So I got hired as a file clerk for the county welfare department (OMG, how mind-numbing was that), went to college at night and worked my way up. It took me eighteen years to achieve my bachelor’s degree, but I did it, the only one in my family to get there. I also reached the executive level in the field of human resources.
But I still wanted to write. I took correspondence courses (this was before the Internet!) and attended weekend writers’ conferences. I subscribed to Writer’s Digest Magazine and read books on the subject. I took night classes at UC Riverside to learn about character, plot, and hooking your reader. I started novels. I wrote short stories. And I worked very hard. I raised my son, brought home the bacon and suffered through two divorces. Now I’m married to a prince of a man. I’m like Goldilocks. This husband is just right!
Finally, finally, finally: I am a writer. I freelanced a bit, started building my online presence and recently completed my first novel, Dakota Blues. It’s about my favorite subject: facing down the aging process and finding power and freedom in the second half.
My main character, workaholic Karen Grace, can’t believe the turn her life has taken. Bad enough her husband just left her for his pregnant girlfriend, but now she’s out of a job, too. Flailing and depressed, she decides to take a 90-year-old neighbor on one last RV trip across the Midwest. The trip turns from fun to scary to freeing in a life-or-death struggle that changes both women forever.
If you’re interested, I wrote some other things:
Technology for Mummies in More.com.
Letter to My Future Self: Chill in More.com.
Social Networking: How Much is Too Much? in More.com.
On Mindfulness and a Week in Indiana in StraitJacketsMagazine.
Fired Up from my biweekly column in Riverside Business Journal.
Click here to contact me.