Welcome to Writers4Higher
The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.
This issue, Writers4Higher features
M. R. Street
Hi, M. R. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
The first thing I wrote was “Charlie the Chuggly Cherry.” This was when I was about four years old, and I pecked out the letters on my mother’s Remington typewriter. Alas, the story is lost to the ages, but my love of stories remains.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, I came to the impression that the only way to make a living as a writer was to be a journalist. Journalism is a wonderful field, and in fact, it led to my first writing award – First Place Feature Story in the Clearwater Sun Awards, which was for high school journalism. I even majored in Journalism at the University of Florida – once it became clear that I didn’t have the right stuff to be a veterinarian. For a while, I was the sports and soccer stringer for the Independent Florida Alligator. But after dropping out of UF and moving to Tallahassee, I switched my major to English (Creative Writing) and promptly embarked on a career which had nothing to do with my degree. Yes, I became a state employee. I’ve now put almost 30 years into the state, writing here and there, but not trying to get anything published.
About 10 years ago, I went to a workshop at LeMoyne called Writing and Illustrating for Children. The instructor was Jan Godown Annino, a former journalist herself and a natural storyteller. That is when I discovered you can write for a living and make millions and become famous throughout the universe. Or not. What I really learned was, I wanted to give this writing thing a go, because it had been hibernating in my soul for too long. Like a Florida black bear waking up after an extended nap, I was voracious for food to feed my muse: books to read, stories to write, and a critique group to join. I soon found my niche, my favorite berry bush, my honey tree: middle-grade fiction.
Blue Rock Rescue grew out of a writing exercise in a critique group meeting. My inspiration for this story was the summers I spent in the mountains of North Carolina. Although Blue Rock Rescue is my only published novel (and it won a major award!), I have several others in various stages of pre-publication. Unbeknownst (or sometimes knownst) to them, my family members often contribute characteristics to my characters.
2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
Like most writers, I would love to have a book turned into a major motion picture, or even a made-for-TV Hallmark special. But writing has already taken me places that enrich me emotionally, if not financially. For instance, I’ve been invited to deliver the keynote speech at a fifth-grade promotion ceremony and to participate in author panels for elementary and middle-school students. A co-worker at the state told me recently that I get a glow from these events like a pregnant woman (without pregnancy).
I hope my writing leads me to more experiences like those. I hope my writing takes me to Ireland one day, so I can infuse with reality a fantasy story I’m writing that is set there. I hope my writing takes me to many more writing conferences, where I meet other writers, learn more about writing and publishing, and re-energize my soul and my muse. And maybe even get a gig as a speaker.
3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
As mentioned, I love to speak to and with young people. I love to listen to what they have to say, since it is honest and current and joyful and sad and frustrated and scared and hopeful and immortal. I will go to any school in the area to make presentations or to listen to and be a resource for young authors. I volunteer as co-chair of the Student Outreach Committee for Tallahassee Writers Association. I have donated copies of Blue Rock Rescue to several school and public libraries, and will continue to do so.
I have recently become a member of the Leon County Reading Council, and I hope that will give me opportunities to give to the community in the future. I’ve also registered with Volunteer Leon and am waiting for a volunteer position to open up at the Eastside Branch Library. I find that sharing the love of reading, with young and old alike, is richly satisfying; My muse, my soul, and my honey-tree-seeking inner black bear (apologies to my friend Jan for usurping her totem for this metaphor) benefit from my volunteer activities.
Would you like to find M.R.?
Check out the links to this talented author:
Facebook: M.R. Street on Facebook
Thank you, M. R. I'll look forward to hearing much more from you in the future!
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Fiction with a Southern Twist