My life plan was to continue teaching well into my 60's. I enjoyed working with children and never minded the hard work that went into my profession. Then my mother was battling cancer and I wanted to be by her side when she needed me. Her time was short here on earth but I still managed to be with her until the end by working around my teaching schedule.
After that sad event, I was flooded with thoughts of a change of heart about my life. In order to ease my grief, I kept writing and expressing myself every day. It was cathartic and freeing.
How did I want to spend my days? What was I waiting for? How much time did I have left?
I made plans to retire and write full time. Years before I had attended Columbia U Writing Institute to become a better writing teacher. Others seemed to be there to improve their writing. That was not my intent but it rubbed off on me. As I was writing every day along with my students, I aspired to improve the quality of the work like they did.
I went from the top of my game as a seasoned teacher to a fledgling writer who knew nothing of the profession.It was humbling, challenging and downright unnerving. I wanted to become a published author but had absolutely no idea how to achieve that goal. I took a few writing courses and subscribed to Poets and Writers to find places to submit my work. I received a flood of rejections and it hurt my ego every single time. All the same, I kept writing and submitting. In the early days, I might receive one acceptance a year, along with a sea of rejections. After I got over the initial shock of those rejections, I was determined to succeed.
I sent every submission snail mail eleven years ago and later learned how to attach to an email. It was much easier and faster. Then I found several free writers' newsletters that did much of the work of finding places for submissions and provided writing advice on everything from basic writing skills to marketing and promotional tips. My career took an upturn. I began to receive acceptances, some were paid and some were not but I was being published!
I can say with a smile that I have succeeded in becoming a published author after several years. I have two books published about the beautiful North Fork and am working on a third about a whaler. Several stories, articles, and poems have been published over the years and I currently have two chapters in an anthology on Writing After Retirement. It seems that many of us who have become writers as a second career have the same challenges. It is comforting to know and embrace.
Rosemary McKinley is a history buff who wanted to present history in an entertaining and informative way. Several poems were published in Lucidity, LI Sounds, Clarity, canvasli.com, Examination Anthology, the Wormwood Press and the Poets’ Arts. In addition, she has had articles published in the Peconic Bay Shopper, Fate Magazine, Patchwork Path, Whispering Angel Books and Newsday. Two e-short stories are available on Smashwords, as well as an interview.
In 2009, 101 Glimpses of the North Fork and Islands was published by History Press. Her Y/A historical novella, The Wampum Exchange, was published in 2012, available on amazon.com and b&n.com.
Recently, her work has been included in two anthologies: Writing After Retirement, edited by Carol Smallwood and Christine Redman-Waldeyer and Miracles and Extraordinary Blessings, edited by Lynn C. Johnston. These are available @amazon.com.
The author has been giving book presentations in costume in local libraries, schools and historical societies, museums and Harbes Family Farms.
She had a book signing on Feb. 6 at the Suffolk County Historical Society with Professor John Strong, speaking on the topic of Native Americans on Long Island.