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The other day a good friend of mine told me how much her granddaughter loved “The Town of Alpaca.”
She was even more excited when my friend told her she knew the author. Children are so easy to impress! Then the little girl asked her all kinds of questions about how I became an author. I don’t know what Audrey told her, but it has a simple answer: I didn’t give up on my dream.
My passion began and was fed through nature and nurture. My mom loved to write, and she was good. I remember her writing poems, mostly, but I read some of her letters home from overseas she wrote when she was in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corp, and she had a flair for creativity. I always wished that she could have taken that talent a step further but, back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, there were few resources for a poor woman taking care of two girls and an invalid mom. We didn’t have a car, either, so her talent was restricted to hobby status.
Mine, also, was relegated to hobby status for many years while I raised my family. Back in high school, singing trumped writing. I sang in the Glee Club since seventh grade and never joined the Young Writer’s Club, but I wrote some poems at home, based on whatever emotion I was feeling at that time. That was, and still is, my emotional outlet.
Nursing school provided me with a steady career, one that would pay bills and was not dependent on someone buying my work, but my love was writing. My sister was a nurse, and therefore, I would be a nurse. I was never encouraged to explore other areas, either at home or at school. At that time, girls needed strong role models to break out of the nurse, teacher, secretary thing, and as much as I loved my mom, she was satisfied with the “status quo.”
While my family was growing up, I wrote op-eds for newspapers, lots of them. A co-worker once said to me “Well, Pat, is that all you ever do, write?” Why, yes, it was, in any spare time I could muster up.
Enter the world wide web. Suddenly, the whole world was connected, and professions of all kinds had doors open to them as never before. I discovered chat rooms and found one for writers to share insights with each other. My passion was rapidly being refueled and I began writing in earnest. I still didn’t know what to do with my work, but I wrote, and wrote, and kept all my pieces in a small plastic file cabinet.
In 2002, I wrote a play for youth ministry that is, apparently, a bit too ambitious for groups that already have their own programs to which they must adhere (I get carried away easily). I wrote a children’s book inspired by my own family, “The Giggle Box,” that hibernated for over 20 years. Then came the wonderful (and expensive) world of self-publishing! People could become authors by simply paying someone else to publish them. That book became my legacy for my mom, who never had the opportunity to do this, and couldn’t have afforded it, either. My second children’s book, “The Town of Alpaca” came out this year and has won an award, and I have more in the works. I now call my hobby a business, “It’s All Write.”
I don’t ever expect to be considered a best-selling author; I may never be accepted by a mainstream publishing company; and I may never have a positive cash flow. But as a retired nurse, I am finally living my dream. If any of you have dreams that are realistically worth pursuing, don’t give up on them. Keep them alive. You just never know ...
Patricia Schoch is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania but has lived in North Carolina for 30 years. A retired nurse, children’s book author, and freelance writer, she now resides in Wake Forest. Pat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: https://itsallwrite.net.