Valentine to 11 Years

This month marks 11 years here at A Writer’s Diary. In my life, I’ve achieved so much more than I ever thought possible. I was a high school drop-out who became a college teacher and the published author of five books. How’d that happen?

As a young woman, I didn’t have aspirations above getting married to a guy I loved, having kids, and being a homemaker. It was a weird dream for a freak, which is what people called kids like me back then, in post-hippie days. It wasn’t a put-down. We proudly flew our freak flags.

So I should have been joining a commune or something. Instead, I hitch-hiked all over the country my junior year and then begged to be let back in school for my senior year. I didn’t think they’d let me skip a grade, but I guess they wanted to get rid of me:) I graduated with my class.

I married my true love the same month: June ’73. A year later, we were divorced and I was licking my wounds in Key West, a 19 year-old divorcee on the run. Key West was different then. It was, put simply, paradise. But I was heart-sick over some stupid rebound guy, and didn’t ever fully appreciate its wonders. Mallory Square was just people holding beer bottles heading down to an empty area where we watched the sunset. No stores, no performers, nothing to distract us from that natural beauty.

Then the bad ex-boyfriend begged me to come back to Detroit, and like an idiot, I did. I’m still here, but he got the boot a long time ago. I promptly moved in with a musician boyfriend ten years older than me. When I saw his sister’s new baby, I was struck with unexplained baby lust. I wanted one. Really, really bad.

The muso said no, as he should have, and after I left him for the next husband, took off for California with another girl. I got married this time with all the special things my first group marriage by mayor didn’t have. And in the 7 years we were married, by the time I was 25, I had 2 sons, who remain the best things I ever did in this life. They grew into amazing men.

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My divorce from their father, when I was 28, made me reassess my life. I had almost no college, except for a creative writing class I took. Because I was always a writer. I had my diary, I wrote journalism in junior high, graduated to poetry for the next ten years, and when I was pregnant with my first son, wrote my first novel.

This was all stuff that happened in the most natural way. I am a reader. I have always been a reader. But what slowly dawned on me was the fact that I was a writer, too. And I reasoned that teaching was a good job for a single mom writer for three big reasons: June, July, and August. Also, I was off school when my kids were. Perfect!

Ha. Teaching the kind of alternative kids that I had been was the hardest thing I have ever done. I applied to grad school and did that at night while teaching stoners with small attention spans during the day. Then I applied to teach at college. Then university. Then started taking chunks of time off to write.

I wasn’t a single mom for long. Marriage #3 has lasted 28 years this month. My sons were 5 and 7 when I married Al. They don’t remember me being married to their dad. They don’t remember I spent 5 years as a SAHM before the bug to move on bit me again. It was more than a bug, it was a troubled marriage. Almost 30 years later, I’m exploring divorce and child custody (as well as addiction) in the novel I’m writing.

So, how did this dream life come to me? Well, sure I did the footwork. But it’s been a pleasure. When you do what you love, life has a way of working out.

14 Comments on “Valentine to 11 Years

  1. Dear Cindy –
    Congrats on 11 years, and thank you for your inspirational story. I had no idea this was the “back story” to wonderful you! I hope that you share this with your students.

    Linda

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    • Hi Linda, Thank you my dear. I know, I appear to be sweet and innocent, don’t I? As for sharing, Well, maybe I would with creative writing students, but my normal beginner comp kids? They really don’t care about my life. I try to keep it well in the background and just help them write better. That’s what they need the most.

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  2. This speaks so much about your tenacity and perseverance! And for as long as I’ve known you I have always been impressed by your ability to decide on what you want to do and seemingly will it into existence. Congratulations on 11 years of A Writer’s Diary. Here’s to many more!

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  3. Thank you John. Yes, I’m like a bull dog. I never give up. That’s why I have actual books in the world now. Years of rejection did not dissuade me:) thanks so much for your support. So are a dear friend & if I ever get to Oz…I’ll look for you!

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