Today I'm hosting Heather S. Ingemar, author of Collecting Dreams, among other things. A longtime admirer of Poe, Heather's carrying on the Gothic tradition, so October is a fine time for checking out her fiction.
Here and now, you can check out the story of how her first writing mentor helped her get serious. And for any writer, what could be sweeter than that?
I think most writers don’t get where they are without having some kind of help or encouragement. Maybe it’s their first grade teacher, who praised their early stories; maybe it’s the spouse that always makes sure to give them enough time to write after work; maybe it’s a friend-of-a-friend, who read the writers’ work-in-progress and gave a rave review. Or maybe, it’s that person who gives that extra kick in the pants when it’s needed:
In the beginning, I saw my creative writing as nothing more than a hobby. I didn’t think I had what it took to pursue it further, and (forgive me if you’ve heard this story before) I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for that little extra push I received from my college writing professor, Claire.
My prof is a literary short story author, and an acclaimed one at that. She’s won the Puschart, been anthologized in the Best American Short Story series, published in the New Yorker and Mid-Atlantic Review, and received many, many more honors than I could ever begin to name. She teaches at a little four-year college because she loves to spread the joy of short fiction. She knows her game.
In her Creative Writing 211 class, we’d been working on stories for a month or two. The format of the class is peer review – every week, a rotating group of students have short stories to workshop during the class. This particular week, one of mine was up. During one of the critiques, I made a self-disparaging comment, kind of on the sly, and the class laughed before moving on.
At the end of class, I headed for the door. My prof caught my attention. “You doubt yourself?” she asked.
“Well, yeah; I’m having fun and all, I love being able to write, but I just don’t think I’m very good,” I said.
“Walk with me.”
What followed was a conversation with my prof that contained the gentle kick-in-the-pants that I needed. She urged me to try, to seriously consider publishing, because she thought she saw the makings of a writer in me. When she had me convinced to at least consider it, she issued the challenge: being an author is hard work, and because of that, this class will be hard work. I accepted.
And, here I am.