By Holly Bargo
“No one will ever read what you write,” my mother once told me.
To say that hurt understates the damage and the determination. For most of my life, writing was something frivolous, something unimportant, something mildly shameful, something that embarrassed my family. At least my writing.
But I still wrote. In 1994, I received an acceptance letter from a publisher. It seemed legitimate. I learned later and to my regret that it wasn’t, not really. My foray into publishing came in the guise of a vanity publisher that went belly-up owing me royalties.
But I still wrote. I dreamed of becoming a published author. I won a national writing contest. The grand prize: three t-shirts (which I still have) and a Dungeons & Dragons chess set (which I still have) and publication of my short story. That chess set is the epitome of nerd cool. The story was never published, at least not that I ever saw. A few years later, new magazine accepted a story and they paid me a whole dollar for the rights to publish it. Validation at last!
It didn’t last, neither that dollar nor that validation. My attention turned to other things, like the challenges of everyday life and a job I absolutely loathed. But one does what one must to pay the bills and ensure the kids have food and clothing. My compulsion to write appeared to have died a hard death.
After about ten years, a lot of emotional distress, and a new job (which I quickly grew to loathe), the urge to create trickled back. Trickled. But it was enough. I started writing again, fanciful fiction to exorcise my own demons, to give form to flights of fancy, to set dreams in something less ephemeral than my own mind.
In 2014, I self-published my paranormal romance Rowan, which became the first in my Tree of Life trilogy. I trembled with anxiety at the huge leap. Not to worry, the world didn’t notice my daring courage.
By the end of 2015, I published five books. The creative juices flowed. My family still didn’t understand or even approve, but I no longer cared. Now we’re halfway through 2018, and I’m getting ready to release my 20th book, Daughter of the Dark Moon, which is the third in my Twin Moons Saga.
My family still doesn’t understand and they don’t quite approve, but they’ve learned to accept that, yes, I’m a writer. I write stories. That’s what I do. A writer is who I am.
A journey takes one from place to place. A quest is fraught with hardship. For me, writing is a quest.