I wanted to write in high school. Somehow I knew then that through writing, I would make, discover, and express meaning to satisfy a compulsion to live consciously.  But, I didn't have the skills, discipline, or guidance and didn't write.

 

In college, a professor told me that I was not likely to be a writer. Crushed, I read my way through seven years of schooling to earn an English degree. If I could not write, I’d find what I was looking for in books and use other people’s words and stories to create my grail. I read 19th and 20th century English Literature, Women’s Literature, Russian Literature, Jewish Literature, Shakespeare, and so on.

 

Years later, pregnant with my second son and directing an adult education program, I could no longer deny the overpowering need to write. I created a nine-month writing course and, in it, I wrote my first piece, “My Yerusha: A Story of Inheritance,” that was published a few years later in Drash: Northwest Mosaic and again in Raven Chronicles.

 

Days after my son was born, my best friend from childhood–Patti Calderon–died of breast cancer in New York, which was too far to travel with a jaundiced newborn, I never got to say goodbye. I knew then with certainty that if I wanted to write, I had no other time than the present.

A year later, I landed a coveted spot in Priscilla Long’s Advanced Short Forms class. I set to work on “Hiding from Breast Cancer,” a response to Patti’s early death, which was published this past May 2013 in r.kv.ry Quarterly Literary Journal. For the past 18 years, I have studied all aspects of writing with Priscilla and a brave group of writers.  Even more important than the technical tools of writing, I developed the courage and discipline to write no matter what.  

 

Echoing Priscilla's words, "I don't believe in writer's block."

biography

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Stacy Lawson, Author and Writer, Seattle, WA