Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Butcher, a Baker, a Simple Story-Maker

Rose Johnson, author of God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea
What started you on your writing journey?

That was the question Rose Chandler Johnson posed to me when she interviewed me this week for her blog, Write Moments with God.

What indeed.

I love that when I answer these questions I am not only telling others my story, but I’m learning more about myself along the way.

What started me on my journey?

My mother taught me to love books. She taught me to read.

My second grade teacher told me I was a writer. She published one of my stories in our school newspaper. (It was a pretty big deal when you consider the school was big—housing classes from first through eighth grade.)

Then, when I was a senior in high school, our English teacher was on a leave of absence. We had a substitute. Not just any substitute. She was a writer. She had us write every day. She selected one of my essays to read to the class. She smiled. 

She told me I was a writer.

So of course, with all of that affirmation you would think I would have majored in creative writing. Nope. I listened to my mentors. I valued their words. I trusted them. I wanted to be just like them. 

I wanted to be a teacher.

Actually, I wanted to be an actress, a detective, and a writer at various times in my childhood. I decided I could play all of those roles as a teacher. I studied hard. I worked hard. For almost twenty years I taught children in the primary grades. After I received my doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, I taught at Cincinnati Christian University for another 14 ½ years. (Wow! I sound old!)

During my tenure in the field of education, I took several graduate courses and read all too many research papers. I may have this wrong, but I believe it was Peter Elbow who said something to the effect, “Learners can learn without teachers but teachers can’t teach without learners.”

It was humbling.

Now I am on the sun-soaked side of retirement: chasing the warm weather with my computer tucked under my arm. I will forever be a teacher. And now I am a writer. I’ve decided that as a writer I can be an actress, a detective, and a teacher.

On my way home from a book signing last night, the words of one of the women I met rolled around in my head. She said, “I’m not a writer. I love to read, though, so you keep writing those books.”

Hmmm…. A writer can write without a reader, but a reader can’t read without a writer. 

Maybe even more humbling.

By the way, the interview I did with Rose Johnson is posted all week. Read it, leave a comment, and you could win a copy of Breathing on Her Own.

And one final question: What do you want to be when you grow up?


  1. I wanted to be a writer, a concert pianist and a pathologist. I went to school for the pianist and the doctor...but I have been all three all of my life...even without the completed schooling. I have written something almost every day of my life since I was thirteen...I play my piano as my praise to the Lord, for my singing is terrible...and I diagnose and prescribe for the souls God places in my life. I have grown up into my dreams without realizing it!

  2. I totally get it, Joanne. I think God gives us those desires and gifts to serve Him. And if we listen and follow, He does just as you say…we grow into our dreams…His will for our lives. Great insight, Joanne. Thanks!

  3. So enjoyed reading this today, Becky. I also enjoyed getting to know you better through the interview. Thx for being my guest on Write Moments with God. Blessings!

    1. Oh, Rose! Thank you! I really enjoyed the interview. I think I told you before, I am not usually a fan of devotional books (I have been given dozens over the years)…but yours is DIFFERENT. I love God, Me and Sweet Iced Tea and have been recommending it to everyone. It is good for the "new" Believer and one who has been a Christian for 50 years! Keep up the good work.

  4. When I grew up I wanted to be a writer and an archaeologist. I wrote poetry before I was 8 and a play in 8th grade. When I grew up, I wrote stories for my children. Then when I taught 6th grade and couldn't find literature to go along with the topics covered in science and social studies, I wrote my own. As a child I read everything I could get my hands on about archaeology and as a grown up I taught ancient civilizations and created an archeology project for my students. Now that I'm retired, I'm devoting my time to writing. The children's magazine articles I've written are related to archaeology. I'm not an archaeologist, but I'm pretty close. But I AM a writer.

    1. Pam,
      How wonderful! God is so good. Writing is a wonderful way to integrate all of our worlds! I love it.


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