When I went to summer camp near Tanglewood in western Massachusetts, we were forced to listen to a trio play classical music twice a week. Camped out on blankets under the evening summer sky, the only acceptable activities (other than listening) were reading and writing. That was my beginning--letters home to relatives and friends. Too bad I didn’t know then (from age 9 to 15) how lucky I was!When and where was your first essay published?
The Boston Globe picked up a travel essay I wrote about Guatemala and even published my photos (and paid me for them)! I think the editor took pity on me after I flubbed the negotiations for the essay fee.How did it feel when you discovered your essay had been chosen for inclusion in this book?
Happy and excited. I’ve written travel essays and wrote the book, The Fearless Shopper (published by Travelers Tales), which contains many travel essays about shopping as a way to explore cultures, but this is a first unrelated to travel.Tell us a bit about the essay published Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart. What is it about and why did you write it?
I had been tutoring second graders in reading for a couple of years and I enjoyed working with the kids one at a time to improve their reading. It was also a way to fulfill a need I had to be around children. But then in the third year I tutored a little boy whom I was crazy about. The essay, One-on-One, just poured out of me from that experience. So, on one level it’s about tutoring kids in reading, but the essay is really about motherhood.
Had you tried the essay market before?
Yes, but trying to get an editor's attention remains a challenge. Are my submissions languishing on an unsolicited pile somewhere or are they just not worthy of publication?
What does it mean to you to be published in this anthology?
After several essay rejections I was wondering if I had anything worth saying. Having an essay in Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart gives me inspiration to keep trying.Do you have any words of wisdom to share with someone who says "I don't have anything to write about."?
Just start with something small and accessible. Then, keep writing!