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Beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Thank you, Barbara!

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great story of the writerly journey. I identified with all of it, particularly these words: "I never strayed too far from writing, stuffing freelance gigs into the cracks between kids and career, scribbling notes for essays about dogs and spelling bees and Johnny Cash, reviews of all the books I read while breastfeeding." Writers keep writing, no matter the circumstances, and often because of them.

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Thank you for this validation. I’ll be honest, “Dragons” has had many lives: as an essay about disappointment when one of my children lost a spelling bee, as a performance piece for a regional story slam, and then this version in my “after”, the time I spend writing about grief and loss. I really appreciate the time you took to comment. Write ON.

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What a beautiful piece! And... hi, fellow entrant into the Avon/Flare Young Adult Novel Competition! OMG! I co-wrote, with my dear friend Karen, a novel to enter into that contest. It was called Auld Lang Syne. We were 16, the summer of 1983. Karen was at her parents' summer place in Maine, I was working at a daycamp on our native Long Island. We handwrote chapters and sent them back and forth in the same worn envelope. We edited each other and then typed up the result on our manual typewriters. We were writers! (I will say, however, that we actually won ... honorable mention, lol). When both Karen and I were in college, we decided to try to get it published, and we revamped a few chapters and sent them off to a couple of publishers. Little, Brown got vaguely interested, but it died there. But no, it didn't die; it lives in a yellow binder in my office right now. I've always been a writer (and editor). Karen became a writer, too -- a reporter for the Daily News and then the Boston Globe. She died when we were 31, and she died writing. We live and die as writers. I would love to "meet" you. I never knew anyone else who entered that contest!

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Denise - Thank you so much for sharing your story and the appreciation for my work. Please get in touch through my website so we can “meet”! I love this connection.

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