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The first book I fell in love with was Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Not surprising perhaps since my formative years were spent in the rural outskirts of a small town. The first grade school I attended had three classrooms and was situated on a dirt road originally cleared by Quaker settlers. At recess, I could reach through a wire fence surrounding the playground to pet the velvety noses of cattle.

“That girl’s a writer,” a Sunday school teacher said when at ten years of age I wrote a play for the Christmas pageant. I told stories at the dinner table, chocked full of descriptors and metaphors. Perhaps it’s in the blood, as my fifth great grandmother earned her keep by regaling her hosts with Irish songs and lore.

Stories remained my faithful friends throughout the coming years. They invited me on journeys to other places and times courtesy of someone else’s writing.

Life zigged and zagged in the unexpected ways and for a time in my life, books and beautiful words were put away in a sealed box. But when the seas calmed, as they always do, the luxury of reading returned to me. Narratives revealed how to author one’s future. Protagonists proved that antagonists could be defeated by wit if not by might.

I remained an undiagnosed writer until one day, a magical thing occurred. Stories began revealing themselves to me, full of flawed characters formed by nature and nurture then shaped by circumstance. I unlatched the door to my imagination and said, “Come inside. You are home.”