Teenaged Published Poet!

Carrying sheaves of inexpertly typed poems, I knocked on the editor’s door. It was my second year at NOVA, a community college in Fairfax Virginia. I was 18. My new, artistic friends encouraged me to submit my poetry to the editor of our literary magazine & newspaper. He was trying to turn it into more of an underground newspaper, relevant to the times. He was an older guy, probably 23!

Come in!”

I entered & saw a disheveled intellectual looking guy with thick framed glasses at a desk piled with papers. He adjusted his specs to get a look at me. I was shaking with fear.

I don’t bite. Whatta ya’ got there?”

Um, poems. I-I started writing when I was 13. The first I called ‘orange & blue.”
I handed him the page with that poem on it.

He peered at it. “What else ya’ got?”

Oh, he didn’t like that one.

Here’s some about the war. And prison. And other stuff.”

He shuffled through the pages.
“I’ll take all of these. Ya’ got copies?”

I hadn’t thought of that! Oh my God, what an idiot.

Don’t worry, we have a copy machine. Xerox these, then give me the copies. Keep your originals.”

My-my friend drew pictures to go with the poems. Her name’s Michelle.”
I showed him sketches on fine art paper.

Wow, these are excellent. I can work with these.”
He flipped the sketches over to see her name on the back.

Two weeks later, I entered the college cafeteria after morning classes. All my new friends stood & applauded. I thought it was because I’d done OK in a scene from a play that day. But as I approached the table, Robert ran up to me.

Look! They printed All your poems! With Michelle’s drawings.”

Eight of my poems. In print! With amazing artwork. A dream come true.

(4 of the 8 poems with drawing by Michelle A.)

Michelle sketch my poem

19 year old poems published


Author: dixiewriter

Due to my father's job as an explorer/cartographer, my family moved 48 times before I turned 13. We lived where Dad worked: on mountain tops (in park ranger cabins), in deserts, swamps, along coastlines from Maine to Key West & other wild places. My father mapped parts of Antarctica, living there for 8 months in 1961-62. A mountain peak & a glacier are named after him (William C. Elder, USGS) As an adult, I helped Lars Eric Lindblad (then president of World Wildlife) find out about the migration path of Silverback gorillas (from Tanzania into Kenya). On my information, he chose to move Lindblad Travel's photographic safari camps to accommodate these wonderful creatures. I got a Jimmy Carter grant to teach after I graduated from Madison College. Grantees had to sign up to teach for at least a year in a severely impoverished school anywhere in America. I taught for 3 & 1/2 years in SW Virginia near Bluegrass Central (Galax, VA). I taught 7th-9th grade English, Drama, Journalism. I was the forensics coach. Moved to Connecticut & worked for Lars Lindblad, typing up the manuscript for his autobiography, working with Liz & John Fuller on this book. (They co-wrote "Ghost of Flight 415" & other books about unusual phenomenon. Moved to Colorado in 1982. Worked as "gal friday" for 12 detectives at the Boulder Police Dept. Set up files for DA to use in court amongst other things. Then at a law firm. Next, CU/Boulder for 10 years. At CU, workers could take a free course each semester. So I did 5 Master's levels courses in special ed' & many in creative writing/history/religion & other subjects at the Master's level. I taught "Drama for the Disabled" in Boulder, CO after the teacher had to quit due to health issues. It was wonderful! My last 7 years working, I helped adults/teens/children with various brain differences such as autism. I was diagnosed at age 45 with 3 types of seizures, manic depression (atypical, rarely depressions, mostly manias), OCD & PTSD. At age 67 (!!) this diagnosis was changed. The manias are most likely due to temporal lobe "disturbance." The other symptoms are due to "high functioning" autism or Asperger's. Shock!! I do Tai Chi 3x/day which helps me to calm down. My husband & I work out at a gym 3-5 times/week for balance mostly but also weight training, running etc. We climb the beautiful Rocky Mountain High places (like Long's Peak & Maroon Bells) in summertime/autumn. We love archaeology, so when we travel, it's in order to discover ancient sites. My husband is an actor with a "day job." He has performed in shows with Zero Mostel (Fiddler on the Roof, the road show), Dick van Dyke (Diagnosis Murder), Firesign Theatre/John Goodman/Annette Bening et al. (Wizard of Oz/radio show) & many other wonderful people since age 14. We have traveled to: Iceland, Scotland (twice), Germany (3 times to visit friends), Ireland & fascinating places in America. We usually spend a month when we travel. So we go about every 5-6 years. Otherwise, we stay at home in a town in Colorado, attending Poetry sessions, working in local theater, enjoying our shelter rescue cats, writing, painting & dancing.

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