One of the few perks of being a struggling writer, unpaid and unrecognized, is the freedom to choose where you work. When my husband and I moved our young family to Spokane years ago, the dream of writing books for children stood far back on a dusty shelf in my mind.
While looking for a house, we visited one with a second story sun porch. The moment I saw it, I thought—what a perfect place for writing. My husband liked the big back yard with room for kids and a dog to run around. So we bought it. The house needed fixing-up, and the sun porch was first on the list because, for a few years, it would be a nursery.
It wasn’t until that baby was five years old that I started writing on the sun porch.
The baby is seventeen, now. Getting published has required much more learning, practice, perseverance, and time than I anticipated. If I counted up the hours I’ve spent in the sun porch and divided them by the dollars and cents I’ve earned, my income would be far in the negative.
So why do I keep writing? Because I have a dream that someday I’ll write the next Harry Potter? No. I write because most days when I go out on my sun porch and close the door, I’m happy. Some days, I’m miserable, discouraged and tormented, but most days, I’m happy. In the winter the sun streams in. In the summer, I look out at a huge one-hundred-year-old leafy-green sycamore tree. In all seasons, I write.
I love words and the challenge of choosing the right ones and putting them together in the right way to say exactly what I want to say. I love stories, I love exploring character. Through writing I discover who I am.
If you haven’t seen it—go. The King’s Speech is about courage, the kind of courage it takes to be a writer. Not many of us are as good-looking as Colin Firth or Helena Bonham Carter, neither are we in line for the throne. But like Prince Albert, we’re trying to find our voice. And all too often we’re scared and we doubt our own potential.
Rolling Stone calls the movie “a crowning achievement powered by a dream cast [that] digs vibrant human drama out of the dry dust of history….The emotion this film produces is staggering."
Check out these photos from my friend Bob Harkins who is on his way to Antarctica
to sail aboard the bark Europa. Bob says, "Yesterday I rode a catamaran through the channel between Argentina and Chile on the way to the sea."
"We made a couple of stops and two fly-bys of small islands so we could greet the locals. We didn't get off the boat on Penguin Island. The captain just put the bow on the beach."
" This whole area is surrounded by snow capped mountains. It's cloudy most days of the year. It gets to almost 60 on the warm days. Ushuaia is the southern most city in the world and is full of lots of very friendly people. Clearly my Spanish needs work. I'm not sure what I ordered for dinner last night, but the waiter returned with a shoe and a banana."
The Age of the Great Sail when empires were won and lost at sea--
That’s where I’ll be today folks, researching my work-in-progress.
Open the covers of one of these books for young people and join me at the prow. Feel the wind in your face, hear the slapping canvas and taste the salt spray.
Meet Sophie as her mysterious past is revealed on a perilous cross-Atlantic journey. Or travel back in time to the famous Battle of Trafalgar as seen through the eyes of a boy on Lord Nelson's ship.
Take a sail with Patrick O'Brien on Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, or Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind.
I plan to vicariously follow a friend as he sails to Antarctica aboard the Dutch tall ship Europa. Curious about life aboard a tall sailing ship? Check out the video below.