The Personality behind the Pen
I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I can't remember a time when I did not have stacks of papers around. My great Auntie Gwen, a rather eccentric character, was a prolific letter writer. She wrote on anything but writing paper. It was not uncommon to receive letters in the mail penned on cocktail napkins, the backs of used envelopes, and alas, toilet tissue. Instead of a hat, she wore a wig in winter to keep warm--and usually hapazardly placed atop her head. She kind of reminded me of Harpo Marx. Well, to say that I have inherited her genes is to deny that I like white chocolate with toasted almonds. I am a prolific note-maker/taker, and write on anything with a hard enough surface, including my extremities. I don't wear a wig and I don't look like Harpo. Note to self: Buy a new hat.
The earliest piece of writing I can remember that truly affected me, was an excuse I'd written to my 4th grade teacher, citing the reason why I had not completed my homework over the weekend for Monday. That's fine and dandy--except, I impersonated my foster father and wrote the letter in what I thought was his handwriting, and forged his signature. Other than the fact that, a) there were many spelling mistakes, b) the excuses were lame, and c) I wrote it on school paper (a dead give-away), I did a pretty good job of writing for a nine-year-old. See Image Below of Actual Letter, written 35 years ago. * I got caught. and I lived to tell about it, praise the Lord. Note to self: Meet with son's teacher.
At thirteen, a local newspaper published a letter I wrote to the editor. The issue I wrote about spawned much debate within the community. City commissioners, a police chief, and concerned citizens called me, and my name became a buzz word in supermarket line-ups and council meetings. Frankly, all that guffaw scared me and it was years before I summoned up the courage to write to a newspaper again. However, this was the impetus that generated my lifelong love affair with the wily word, though I switched to poetry for a while. You know, the old "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue" garden variety stuff. I've since written to many editors, and can still cause a stir. Note to and on self: Move.
Sometime in that same year, I accepted the Lord Jesus into my heart. My testimony is a work in progress. It could be finished in the "twinkling of an eye", the day Jesus returns, or when I die, whichever comes first. But really, almost all of my writing comprises a part of my testimony, a little of me goes into each work, with a liberal dose of God's amazing grace.
Color My World
In my late teens, my mother died in a fire in Montreal. Shortly after, I joined the airlines as a flight attendant, and relocated to Vancouver. I've experienced many hair color changes over the past thirty years, and my career history is just as multi-hued. I've worked in broadcasting, as a runway model, corporate travel agent, marketing coordinator for the Expo 86 World's fair, and in the cosmetic and real estate markets. I have an entrepreneurial bent, and created a boutique and a temporary freelance agency. I've been an Avon Lady, and a Tupperware Lady, but to the neighborhood kids, I'm "that lady with the popsicles". I'm one of those, "Jills of all trades", and my colorful careers have given me much fodder for writing. Note to self: Clairol's having a sale next week".
I ran for public office a few years back, and though unsuccessful in my bid for a seat on City Council, it was an experience I will remember. "Vote for Shae" signs littered every neighborhood, and every garbage for a twenty mile radius--packed full of my brochures. At one time, I estimated 150,000 people had my home phone number, and three quarters of them called at dinner time. Note to self: Never run for office again.
At thirty-seven, the word "slurpy" took on a whole new meaning. I delivered a 7 lbs. 11 oz. bouncing baby boy, au naturel and with excruciating back labour. My little 7-11 bundle of joy had a voracious appetite, with no respect for regular mealtimes. Suddenly, I had a lot more writing material. You can read all about my Milk Depot Years in Vive Voce Press's newest release, "They Lied. True Tales of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding". He's a teen now and suddenly I'm not "cool" anymore. I don't care though, he owes me. Big time. Note to self: Price out breast augmentation.
Writing is what I do, and God has richly blessed me. I haven't given you my life story, but I assure you, I've come through some very dark times, as we all have with the Lord's help. That said, although my past is as a patchwork quilt, it's that very past that connects me to God in a way that only He and I understand. It was, is, and will be His grace that sees me through the threadbare patches of my life. As Mother Teresa once said, "I'm only a pencil in God's hand, God writes through us, and however imperfect instruments we be, God writes beautifully". I give Him all the glory, and pray that all that I write, magnifies that glory, thereby bringing hope, joy and laughter, to at least a few souls.