Published Researcher, Creative Writer
A sociologist by day and a creative writer by night, I have a bevy of academic publications to my name–most to my married name (Forster, not Earl)–and only one quasi creative publication. It is an essay I wrote in reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was published in the State University of NY Chancellor’s monthly newsletter. Of the hundreds of essays that were submitted mine was one 16 that was selected to be published. The title is, “We Must Seek Bonds That Link All Humans.”
I’ll admit that the title isn’t very catchy, but the editor changed my original title: “The Differences Among Us.” That title wouldn’t blow your socks off either.
My first dip into the writing pool was when I was about six or seven. I liked poetry that rhymed and was straightforward–nothing obtuse to confuse my limited audience. The debut poem in my collection was “A Frog.” The advantage of its simplicity is that I can still remember it almost 50 years later:
Here is a frog.
What a big hog.
He eats so much, I dare not say.
Only that he eats all day.
“The Frog” was quickly followed by an equally compelling ditty–“A Ghost.”
Here is a ghost for you.
All he can say is “Boo!”
I was unstoppable.
My artistic younger sister and I produced an illustrated book, well booklet, of these poems and a few others (another called “The Cat”–as you can see coming up with less-than-titilating titles has been a life-long challenge) for my mother’s birthday. I am sure she treasures it to this day, even if she can’t locate it.
I took a hiatus from poetry during my young teen years to write a steamy romance novel. About a page and a half into it I wanted to get right to the lovey-dovey stuff, without all that boring background (like character development or plot lines). I gave up and went back to writing lovey-dovey poetry.
inevitably I grew up, went to college to study sociology, and got a job as a research assistant. Opportunities kept jumping in my path and I started to get published in academic journals 11 articles in juried publications, 4 publications in edited periodicals, and 7 publications in very offical-sounding public and private report series.
That was my day job. Until it wasn’t anymore. In 2001 I literally got sick and tired–from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Insomnia came with the package, giving me the opportunity for lots of alone time. I used it to reflect about my life before I got sick.
Then I started writing creatively. I wrote funny stories about my childhood. I wanted to find the light-hearted Lorna in the midst of my upsetting medical mystery. These stories are the foundation of my journey through this illness and the memoir I am writing.
So I became a creative writer by night. But the creative writer was always in me. Who could read “A Frog” or “A Ghost” and not know that about me?