In gathering writing samples at the request of an editor unfamiliar with my work, I was sorting through the numerous pieces I’ve written since Mildred Brodbeck first put my name in print when I was in middle school.
Though there are a number of published pieces- two freelance assignments that required
me to go behind the walls of a maximum security prison and interview two drastically different
inmates, an article about a poinsettia grower, another about a ranch in southeastern Colorado that is successfully pairing cattle and conservation in innovative ways- a few stick out.
I’ve written about purchasing the clothes my dear friend’s husband wore when they buried their baby. I wrote when I thought a divorce would end me and I had nothing to say. I wrote when people asked me to because they couldn’t put the moment into words.
I’ve written obituaries and eulogies for mothers and children and grandpas. I’ve written about feedlot cattle, religion, drought, and vaccination regimens. I scribble cryptic notes on the backs of vet bills about things I want to write about.
I’ve written the words spoken by political candidates and catchy blips for Facebook updates. I’ve written recipes, quilt patterns, and resumes for women who dream of and are terrified of landing their first “job” since spending years raising children. I’ve written catalog blurbs about cattle and found no fewer than 100 different ways to say, “this is a good steer.”
A writing life isn’t as much about having stories to tell but being grateful for the people willing to allow me to tell theirs. And I’m grateful.