Friday, March 25, 2005

What happened when I grew up

As I said below, I wrote a truly awful romance in college. I was pretty sure it was horrible, but I sent it to three publishers anyway right out of college and got three form rejection letters. Recognizing that they were right and it was dreadful, I put the thing away and forgot about it. In the meantime, I had "real life" to deal with-- getting a job in the insurance industry to pay the bills. I mostly quit writing, because the nine to five job took up most of my energy. I married DH (whom I met in high school and dated all through college, even though we went to different college) when I was 23 and he was 24.

Less than a year later, on DH's twenty-fifth birthday, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a form of lymphatic cancer. This was a major shock for me (not to mention DH, but this is my blog and we're talking about me here:-), since DH had always been extremely healthy, and since he was, after all, very young. DH went into the hospital and had exploratory surgery. I sat in the waiting room with his parents and freaked out. And while I was sitting there, a story came to me-- just popped into my head. Over the next couple of days, while he was recovering in the hospital, I wrote out seventy pages by hand. It was a very emotional and gut-wrenching sort of story (probably the most emotional book I've ever written), which really wasn't a surprise, given the circumstances. I thought it was pretty good, albeit obviously not finished.

After DH got out of the hospital, though, I put the book away and forgot about it. DH underwent treatments over the next couple of years (which were, obviously, successful, or he wouldn't be here to update my website:-), and I continued to work the insurance job. Eventually I had my first child and retired from insurance. This gave me a little extra time (not much, mind you, but a little) and the story I'd written in the hospital years ago started to niggle at me. I began to think about how I could finish it, and because I've never in my life had a thought that didn't come out my mouth, I started talking to DH about it.

DH said, "Why don't you finish the book?"

I pointed out that writing 100,000 words was an awful lot of work and a big commitment.

He said, "You've always wanted to be a writer. Finish the book."

I pointed out that I was taking care of a baby (really a toddler by this point) and that writing a book would be an awful lot of work and a big commitment.


I sat down at the computer in our small apartment, let the toddler run back and forth across the room, and finished the damn book.


  1. Wow. This is a great story. Very inspirational, and I'll have to keep it in mind!

    I'm glad everything worked out for your husband and your family!

  2. Oh Ellen! I held my breath when I read this post of yours. Aw man...I am glad the end was happy though.