In 5th grade, I realized I was a writer.
I know it was 5th grade, because in 5th grade I had Penny Heap, World's Best Teacher, and she told me I was a good writer. And I vowed to make her proud, because there was nothing better in the world than pleasing Mrs. Heap. (Her name was Penny! She drove a silver sports car! She moved me so I didn't have to sit by the mean girls!)
So I threw myself into my new craft, and a couple of Super Awesome Validating Things happened to set I Will Be A Writer When I Grow Up firmly into the concrete of ... my soul? (That metaphor got away from me a bit.)
First, one of my poems was picked to go in the "Creative Writing" section of my elementary school newsletter. Okay, yes, it was more a rip-off than an homage to Clement Clarke Moore, but let's give eleven-year-old me a break, shall we? I was a PUBLISHED AUTHOR.
And then! Encouraged by the glittering success of my first publication, I went on to submit what I seem to recall were at least four poems (all heavily influenced by Shel Silverstein) to my beloved local library - and I won!
FIRST PLACE, BABY. That's right. I'm now an AWARD WINNING AUTHOR. With MULTIPLE PUBLICATIONS:
(In case y'all can't tell, I've been cleaning out some old paperwork lately. I also found the program from the terrible play my husband and I attended on our first date, my 9th grade report card - ouch, though it did make my current 9th grader feel better about his own performance - and a postcard Salman Rushdie sent to my graduate thesis advisor.)
With early encouragement - and, let's face it, raw talent - like this, is it any wonder I am sitting on my sofa in my jammies today, a Real Author?
As my RETREAT TO LOVE Pinterest board makes abundantly clear (as does the book itself, I suspect!), I think quilting is fabulous.
But I'm not especially talented.
Kind of a good thing, really, because quilting takes a ton of time, and if I was better I'd want to spend alllllllllllllll my time hunched over my sewing machine instead of hunched over a keyboard.
(I have poor posture.)
Regardless, I try periodically to put together a quilt that does me credit, and no matter how approximate my corners, I love the process.
I've written about some of the work I've done on my general books / life blog, and wanted to link to it here so y'all could check out my creations. But remember, Ashlyn in RETREAT TO LOVE is a far, far more talented artist than I could ever hope to be.
It's fun to compile Pinterest boards for each of my books, but I had to exercise some SERIOUS self-restraint when picking photos for the RETREAT TO LOVE board.
I'm so madly in love with quilt art, and would fill the entire board with it, but I am trying to highlight a couple of other things about the book, as well. Also I want to ensure accreditation - everything I've pinned was linked through the International Quilt Association, which brings the Quilt Show to Houston (where I live) every fall, and it's the best time of the year. The work on display there is simply stunning.
(I personally am not a very deft quilter, much less a fabric artist, so writing Ashlyn was some very serious wish fulfillment on my part!)