Two and a half years ago I joined a writers’ group my friend put together. The same friend, Robin, half-dragged me to my first writers’ conference a year later. It was held in Eldridge, Iowa, a three-hour drive away.
One of the faculty speakers there, Mona Hodgson, led a session on getting started. Her talk spoke to my heart. I listened to the mp3 recording of that particular session three more times after the conference. The points I found most encouraging were:
- Consider starting small (submit to both small and large market publications)
- It’s okay to be a late-starter
Personally, Mona didn’t begin writing until after age thirty. She started with poetry, short stories and magazine articles. She now has several hundred printed, plus many children’s books and three historical novels. Her novels, Too Rich for a Bride and Two Brides Too Many deal with the lives of the Sinclair Sisters in 1890's Cripple Creek. My sister, my mom, my aunt and I eagerly await the release of the third book in the series.
Mona Hodgson is the author of 28 children's books, including a rhymed picture book, and three historical novels. Learn more about her at www.monahodgson.com.
(Photo is used here with Mona Hodgson's permission)
Here’s my first poem ever accepted for publication. And they paid me! No one has ever been as excited about 24 words. I got to sign a contract and everything. A ditty of 24 words and two of them are a change the editor made. Humble beginnings, but now I was published in a national magazine.
I held my tongue between my teeth,
And then I bit down harder.
Alas, I said it anyway;
I wish that I’d been smarter.
by Lori Lipsky
Mature Living Magazine April 2011.
Below are two more of my poems that have appeared earlier in the blog, in case you missed them.
The Crocuses That Never Came
You are the crocuses
Longed for ones
First flowers of spring
Snow fell hard
Winds blew strong
And I dreamt of crocuses
You are my crocuses, dear ones
I yearned for you, waited for you
Watched each month
But you never ever came
Others raised in their gardens the
Short fresh blooms, but
I longed for my own—
Our very own
Crocuses never arrived
But then our social worker said
Here is a perfect little girl
Now here is another
And as daffodils and tulips
Erase the loss
Of crocuses that never grow
So too the beautiful babies from Minnesota
Wiped clear the memory of you
Who like the crocuses
Never ever came
Said the Artist to the Arrogant
I detected the condescension
Heard all your marvelous acronyms
Saw your eyes roll when you thought I wouldn't notice
In the computer store as you tried to help me
Your disdain stung
But on the drive home
The hawk circled
The grasses waved
My dog smiled as I opened the door
I sat at my piano
Studied the print on the wall above, then
Played for Renoir's Lady of the Piano
Some flawless Schumann
And wrote this poem.
The Storyteller, March 2011.
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