By Linda Bennett Pennell
Life can at times be frustrating, joyous, depressing, boring, even mysterious. It is not always clear in the moment why things happen as they do, but one thing is for certain, unless we make the best of what we’ve been given, life cannot be lived to the fullest. I think I always knew this, but it took a change in direction and taking a risk to grasp its true meaning.
I never intended to be a writer. In fact, as an elementary student, I despaired of even being competent in the language arts. It should be said that my early education left a great deal to be desired, but that is another story. It was not until my senior year of high school that I had a rewarding creative writing experience. Thank you, Miss Miller, wherever you are. Once in college, however, I put aside creative writing for the rigors of historical research and expository writing. Another degree and several certifications later and I have come full circle.
My other life is in public education as a reading specialist and secondary school administrator, but about five years ago, I decided to pick up my creative pen again. I can’t say exactly why or when the decision was made. That is one of those mysteries. All I can say is that I came to feel a burning desire to write and the experience has been a revelation and a joy.
It hasn’t been all easy sailing. Nothing in life worth having ever really comes without some pain. Sending out queries and the rejections that came with them were not particularly fun, but it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. With a debut novel that is being well received, I can now say that the process was definitely worth the risk. More important, my venture in writing has allowed me to reinvent myself, and through reinvention, I have found a season of renewal as well. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Writing has allowed me to tap into skills and talents I had all but buried for many years. I am a newer, better version of myself for the experience.
Spring brings rebirth, growth, and change to the earth. Perhaps in this season of renewal, you, too, are wishing to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself or himself, “Let’s pretend.”