I write; therefore, I am.
Since the year or two before my first book came out, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know dozens of other writers. One of many fascinating subjects for discussion, in my opinion anyway, is the path each has followed to become a published author. Though similarities abound, every story is different.
My love for writing started as soon as I could hold a pen. Long before I knew my alphabet or how to count, I filled page after page with lines of tiny little circles. Unless toddler me could do something I didn’t learn to do for fifty more years, those early scribbles were more likely chatty letters to my Aunt Toodles or early journal entries than made-up stories or notes for a future memoir.
Growing up, my love for letter-writing was more about my desire to get mail addressed to me than anything else. I had a lot of magazine subscriptions, too. Eventually, I quit expecting people to write back. Instead of writing letters, I picked up the phone. Letters to an aunt in California and writing assignments satisfied my writing compulsion throughout high school, college, and grad school. A couple of years after I moved out on my own, I turned to journaling for something to do when I couldn’t afford to do anything else.
My day job in academia involves a lot of writing, ranging from bits for newsletters and county papers to consumer fact sheets, grant proposals, and academic journal articles. Peer reviewers and editors often pointed out grammatical issues which, over time, I corrected. But more than anything, writing in academia taught me to be precise and concise with my language.
In 2008 I stumbled across blogspot and, twenty minutes later, had written my first post as The Crotchety Old Man. Blogging was fun. Over the next year or two, I learned a lot about what I liked (and didn’t like) to write and what my readers seemed to enjoy. After a series of posts about my wild and reckless salad days, my fans encouraged me to write a book. Glass Houses, my still unpublished memoir, was the result.
Writing the book was the easy part. When I’d finished, with no idea what to do with the manuscript, I joined the Athens Writers Workshop. I found out my memoir had a lot of technical problems. The meetings were interesting, so I kept going. Eventually, the other writers encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. Until Thanksgiving was the result.
Hmmmmm, what else do you want to know? I’m 55 , Pisces, gay, and a serial monogamist who is currently between partners. I live in beautiful Athens, Georgia with Toodles, my long-haired chihuahua. I wear various hats for the University of Georgia by day, and write novels and posts for my blog by night.
My family has lived in and around Lexington, Kentucky since shortly after Daniel Boone came through the Cumberland Gap. I swear, it’s true. I didn’t know until I spent months I’ll never get back researching my roots on a genealogy web site. I learned that exponential growth boggles the mind. I also discovered that I’m directly descended from French royalty. Isn’t everyone?
Because my dad was stationed at Fort Bragg, I was born in North Carolina–a fact I’ve always resented and rarely acknowledged. We moved back to Lexington three months later. I consider myself a native Kentuckian and have the accent to prove it.
While others my age learned to make decisions, I did what I was told. I didn’t find out there were other options until I was 21 and moved out on my own. I did what I was told because I knew what would happen if I didn’t. I ain’t no fool. I am, however, on the slow side.
I was a mediocre to good student, and excelled at really nothing much of anything throughout my school career. By my fourteenth summer, I was working practically full time. School was what I did for fun. Until my senior year when I got involved in theater, my only extracurricular activity was scouting. I’m not thrilled with the organization’s position on my people, but am still proud of myself for becoming an Eagle.
My college education took twice as long as it should have, but I finally graduated with B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Kentucky in what was then called Home Economics. I know what you’re thinking, but no, I can’t sew and I don’t cook.
My decade in college gave me plenty of time to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still haven’t fully made up my mind, but in the 25+ intervening years, I’ve created educational programs to help youth and adults develop and improve personal financial management skills through the national cooperative extension service. Click on “My Work” to find out more.
In 1998, I moved to Athens, Georgia–the Classic City for an extension position at the University of Georgia. It gets a wee bit hot in the summer, but what passes for winter down here more than makes up for any discomfort the rest of the year. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather.
Thanks for popping in and for spending some of your precious time getting to know me. I appreciate it, really. Let me hear from you. Comment on my posts or send an email to mrupured at gmail dot com. I’d love to hear from you.