Friday, January 29, 2010


A memoir is a snapshot of a particular time or event in a person’s life—in this case, four decades of a career that began modestly and developed in ways I could never have predicted. When I was living the moments of those forty years, I was aware of every one. No one is more surprised than I to realize those moments have added up to more than half my life.

I often felt as if I were climbing a mountain, one tiny foothold at a time. This is not the end of my climb by any means, but it is a good place to pause and look over my shoulder to see the path I have taken. If that path was a little uneven at times, from this vantage point, it doesn’t seem so apparent.

My career has given me a glorious educational opportunity, not only in terms of the subjects I’ve studied and written about but even more important, what it has taught me about achieving my wildest dream of becoming a writer. The following lessons have helped me grow, learn, and reinvent myself when necessary.

  • If you know what you want to do, don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing it.
  • With a little talent and a lot of moxie, you can be whatever you choose to be.
  • Set attainable goals that stretch you; as you achieve each one, set another one immediately.
  • Writing is not a competitive sport; don’t be threatened by others people’s success
  • Seek mentors; then become one.
  • Be generous with your talent; remember that it’s a gift; pass it on.
  • Know what your values are; let your writing reflect them.
  • Don’t lose your sense of humor.
  • As yourself from time to time if there is something else you would rather do; if you can’t think of anything, keep writing.

With a little tweaking, these lessons can apply to any dream, any career, any life.