If I had to describe myself with two words they would be: mother, writer.
I have not always been a mother, but I was born a writer.
My earliest memories are of the written word. As young as age two I would write “books” with the help of my Mom. I would tell the story and she would write it down. My favorite game as a preschooler was “library.” I would set up all my books and check them out to my ever patient Mom. Sometimes I would even autograph them – an author wanna-be in Underoos.
In middle school my writing played a pivotal role in my development when my family moved from suburban Bethel, Connecticut to a farm in rural Salem, New York. I was fourteen and found my life in upheaval. I sought comfort in the stability and normalcy of my journals.
As a quiet girl my English teachers at Salem Washington Academy noticed both my shyness and interest in writing. With the encouragement of a quartet of incredible teachers (John Lundgren, Jackie Gawronski, Nancy Artz, and Patricia Musser) I was able to take my writing from private musings to public persona and my identity as a “writer” was born. I assumed the roles of stringer for the local newspaper, editor of the school’s literary magazine and yearbook, and student at Bard College’s Simon’s Rock Summer Writing Program.
In 1993 I entered the University of Rochester thanks in large part to a scholarship for my writing from the Xerox Corporation. At the University of Rochester my writing continued to grow under the tutelage of more great educators. I wrote for the college newspaper The Campus Times and earned spending money by winning numerous national writing contests, including a non-fiction writing award from YM Magazine.
I graduated from the University of Rochester in 1997 with a B.A. in English and History and again in 1998 with an M.S. in school counseling. I also earned a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Eastern Europe.
Unfortunately, my Fulbright was cut short by an illness I had long suffered and denied: anorexia nervosa. My eating disorder had taken over my life – even my writing. I had stopped writing. In a testament to the power and strength of anorexia, it silenced my muse.
Anorexia is a force to be reckoned with. It is addicting, alluring, and soul consuming. When you are deep in the pit of anorexia nobody matters but yourself and your interpretation of self is only a number on a scale or a distortion in the mirror. I was in this pit for a very long time, but, I was fortunate to have wonderful friends and family members who kept reaching down to me until I was ready to reach back.
It takes a team to battle anorexia and I was lucky to have a good one.
My writing became one of the tools I used in my recovery process and is now something I use to help others suffering from this devastating disease.
In 2003 I became a mother to Brice followed by Brady Patrick in 2007. It sounds cliché, but motherhood changed my life. Motherhood puts everything in perspective. For example, what good is a “perfect” body if it is too weak to hold one’s child? My sons are my world and for them I will do anything.
I love being a Mom and I love writing about motherhood. While some days can seem very long, milestones and months go by so quickly. I am thankful to have my writing as a tool to record everything from the minutia to the monumental moments of motherhood.
Motherhood has also made me realize that as much as I love being a mom, being a writer is something I MUST do.
After taking a decade off to focus purely on my family (with a bit of freelance and anthology writing sprinkled in) 2011 marked my return to print journalism.
I also write and contribute to two popular Blogs for The Democrat and Chronicle. Much of my blogging is – not surprisingly – personal and talks about some of the issues I face on a daily basis such as being a single mom and having a child with special needs.
Between my boys and my return to journalism, I finally feel “home.” Come visit!