I’ve always had stories in my head, daydreams and tales told to lull myself to sleep. For years, I kept them to myself. Who would be interested in my stories? How could I share anything so personal? Would others laugh at them? At me? So I suppressed my muse and told no one.
A doctorate in computer science, a short career in high tech, a husband and two kids filled the intervening years. Up all hours caring for children, I no longer needed my stories to help me sleep. My head had filled with other things – the concerns of the day and picture books that I had read and reread to my kids. Dr. Seuss or The Caboose who got Loose, I knew every rhyme and could recite them by rote.
Then, in the fall of 2003, an idea for a novel hounded me. Day and night, that story played out like a movie in my head. I resisted, but the story refused to go away. Reading to my children had reawakened the muse.
“Write it down,” the muse whispered.
“You’ve got to be joking,” I said. “This is insane.”
I wasn’t a “writer.” What business did I have penning stories? But I had to purge this idea from my head, so I started writing.
Despite all my mumblings and mistakes, there was something so energizing, so life-affirming, in the experience of drafting that first novel. That initial effort had opened a door for me. I had to keep writing. No turning back. I signed up for the first of many creative writing classes, and thus my journey began.
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Cheryl Spanos writes short stories and fantasy novels. She has been published in Beyond Centauri, Hunger Mountain, and Stories for Children magazine. Her short stories have won honorable mention in the Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Her manuscript for a middle-grade fantasy was awarded honorable mention for children’s fiction at the 2008 San Francisco Writers Conference. She is a member of the SCBWI and the California Writers Club. Her latest project is a paranormal romance.