Someone asked me recently why I blog – and it struck me strange. It was like being quizzed about necessities: why do I eat, breathe, sleep. It is just what we writers do – put our thoughts, hopes, fears, inspirations, joys and angst into words, captured in some accessible form.
As far back as the 9th grade I identified as a writer thanks to Mrs. Goldie Ripper and her Advanced English-Journalism class. I took to the art like a fish to water, meeting my publication deadlines far ahead of schedule, then begging for more assignments. Mrs. Ripper submitted one of my editorials to a contest that won a Freedom Foundation medal and I was hooked!
I continued as a journalist throughout high school and into the first year of college, and wrote part-time for almost 15 years for the Arlington Citizen-Journal. When I veered into a BBA in Accounting and a career as a business executive, I still wrote in many formats and occasionally published in news outlets – Vancouver Business Journal, Vancouver Voice, Waller News-Citizen.
When I more-or-less retired from business, I decided to immerse into the world of writing in its more literary forms. I earned a BA in English, Literature and Creative Writing, and an MFA in Creative Writing, wrote two books and published one (WRANGLE, set on a Texas quarter horse ranch in the 1970s when races were held on dirt tracks; winner of a Will Rogers Silver Medallion for Western Romance).
Now I have settled back into Arlington, Texas and I am in search of the core of writers that must reside here. It is a difficult quest, because Arlington has no premiere liberal arts university (UTA being best known as an engineering juggernaut), no large newspaper presence, and no writer’s organization as best I can tell. Which is surprising, given our population that approaches a half million people and our high-profile entertainment district (Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Six Flags Over Texas, etc.).
So I am at the stage where I am wandering around Arlington, trying to get my bearings, attending community events, and networking to meet those writers who are hidden in conclaves here and there. I have made some connections, taught a creative writing workshop for the Library, applied to Tarrant County College for an adjunct teaching position.
And I am continuing to write.
Weekly I blog – various thoughts that come to me as I tootle through life. Subjects have ranged widely, from cowboys to politics, grief to book reviews, sanctuary cities to growing old. I wrote about my tenuous connection to rock-and-roll stars of the 1960s, my Dad the semi-pro baseball slugger, the terribleness of bias and hate, and my own #MeToo experience as a young woman.
Now that life has finally calmed to a low hum, I am also beginning the early research and drafting stage for another novel set in South Central Texas (working title KATE’S PRAIRIE). I am collaborating again with the real cowgirl in our family, my cousin Sharon McAmis who lives on 15 acres out of the rural community of Hempstead, along with quarter horses, thoroughbreds, dogs, cats chickens, tree ducks, and the odd varmint. I suspect some of Sharon’s madcap adventures will wriggle their way into the story line.
— Jonnie Martin