Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's Important in Your Life?


Have you experienced that moment when you examined your life and realized you hadn’t accomplished all that you wanted to do? Mine came shortly after my father’s death. Up to that point I had achieved most of the goals I’d set for myself back in high school. I had a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textile Design earned at Rhode Island School of Design. I had my career as a lace designer for nine years on Fifth Avenue in New York City. My life included marriage, two children and a spacious home in New Jersey. I had everything I’d ever wanted except for one: I never wrote anything outside of my journals.

It had been a hard choice for me back in Plainville, Connecticut, to decide which direction to choose - art or writing. My family didn’t feel I could make a living in either. Women back then became secretaries or teachers, and once they married they stayed home and took care of their husband, house and children. I’ve never followed the norm. I continued to work as a textile designer, and when that ended, I made clothing for a local woman’s store.

My first efforts into writing were done on an electric typewriter where I used an equal number of ribbons for typing and correcting. What frustration. Thank goodness, my father left me with enough money to invest in a computer. My first attempts to write for publication brought the usual rejections. But I kept at it, often hiding in our trailer in the back yard so I could concentrate. By then my children were old enough to fend for themselves and were warned to only call me if the house was on fire.

One of my first sales was an anecdote to Writer’s Digest. I had received some books from an editor. When I cut open the package, gray stuffing material fell to the floor and my son said, “That’s what I call a rejection. They burn your manuscript and send you the ashes.” That earned me twenty-five dollars. I went on to be an editor of a newspaper, and began selling short stories while I continued to write my novels.

During this time, I discovered Romance Writers of America and attended conferences whenever possible. It was at these that I met Harlequin editors, Paula Eykelhof and Victoria Curran, who listened with great patience to my stories. “Just Like Em,” finally made it and will be published in February.

The one thing I’ve learned and pass on to you – keep at it. Don’t give up. Most likely, your dreams won’t be fulfilled overnight, but they’ll never happen if you stop trying. It also helps if you have wonderful children like my son and daughter, who provide humor and support. I plan to keep them.

17 comments:

  1. Marion,
    Welcome! Ladies, Marion is a wonderful lady. Roz and I live fairly close to her and have known her for years.

    What I didn't know was that she worked on Fifth Avenue in New York. How cool is that.

    Marion, I'm looking forward to reading your book :) I've read many of your short stories.

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    1. You're a treasure. I enjoy reading yours as well.

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  2. Hi Marion :) Your message was so hopeful and inspiring! I'm excited to read your upcoming novel. Does it have lace-design in it? Old lace is my number one thing to search for at garage and estate sales. It is so beautiful! I hope you share some pictures of your work with us sometime. It'd be such a treat!

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    1. Most of my designs went into lingerie for items made by Vanity Fair and other large companies. However, I was able to get enough for my wedding gown, a pattern consisting of lily of the valley flowers.

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  3. Hi Marion! Welcome to the group and congrats on your novel! Looking forward to reading it:)

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    1. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone in the group and reading your novels as well.

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  4. Marion,
    I'm so happy you did stick with writing. Can't wait to read your book. Like Pam, I didn't know you had an exciting career in textiles. Marion still works hard at a day job as well as writing. We all know the rigors of that. I love hearing the twists and turns a person's life takes to let them reach the career of their heart.

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    1. You've been a wonderful inspiration. I couldn't have continued without the help of my friends.

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  5. What an inspiring message! Those transition points in a story seem to be road bumps that learning organizations like RWA can help writers overcome.

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    1. I've belonged to several local RWA chapters in my travels and found them a home away from home.

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  6. Hi Marion and welcome! What your son said about 'burning your manuscript and sending you the ashes' was hilarious. Looking forward to your February release!

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    1. I told that story in an elevator at some conference. Months later Jane Toombs sent me a copy of Reader's Digest where a man said he had overheard this story in an elevator at a conference. He must have made a good ten times what I made.

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  7. Hi, Marion! Congratulations on your sale and welcome to our group! What wonderful story material in your fascinating work history. I collected enough rejection slips to paper a bathroom wall, but no one ever sent me the ashes of my manuscript! That is hilarious. You might want to keep that boy around for inspiration in your next book's light moments. So happy for you! As much because you get to know these ladies, as that you made a sale.

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    1. My son offers lots of inspiration, and I've dozens of his remarks I plan to include in my stories.

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  8. A very touching and heartwarming post, Marion. I'm excited and looking forward to reading your novel.

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  9. Fellow blogging friend. Thank you for all your encouragement.

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