Monday, February 22, 2010

National Triumph Week

It's National Triumph Week, because I say it is; so Every Writer is hereby asked to think of and speak of their Triumphs.

At age 29 I was so out of touch with myself that I was doing graduate studies in Fiction Writing. I hadn't dared to apply for the poetry sequence. But I entered the grad-student poetry contest for the heck of it. Knock me over with a feather, I won. The Poets freaked out! Were they disgusted! Pamela Alexander's book flew out of the library and there were half a dozen Requests on it -- they wanted to read the (surely crazy or substandard) work of whoever had picked the fiction writer as the winner. Oh turning point, kick-start, shot of confidence! I am only sorry that the poets thought I had won at their expense.

About seven years later I met Pamela Alexander. I said to her, "You don't know me, but you changed my life!" p.s. READ THE COMMENTS BELOW!!


  1. I was brand new to writing and I asked (and felt quite nauseous doing so) the best writer I knew to read something I'd written. I got this response: "You know I'm not one to gush, but I'm breathless." Now *that* will make you want to write some more.

  2. I know what you mean. An editor from Parents Mag called and said, "I can't convince the brass to publish your work, but you have such an incredible writing style. Don't stop writing!" Then I heard Richard Newman read his poetry, and realized, I CAN DO THAT! Been winning prose and poetry contests ever since. We have to believe in ourselves. I discovered me at forty and then let loose with words at fifty. Thanks for your blog site. Always informative and fun.

  3. Linda said, "I discovered me at forty and then let loose with words at fifty."

    You have no idea how much this inspires me. Thank you.

  4. I had no idea you started as a fiction writer, Catherine. Me too! I like to say that I did absolutely every kind of writing, personally and professionally, until I got up the guts to do poetry. I was most afraid of what I was meant to do.

  5. You're all inspirational to me, thank you.