Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Introducing my new writing friend, Deborah Kalan


Deborah and I met in Pilates class. We never said more than hello for about six months until one day I mentioned I had to rush away after class because I had a lot of work to do. She asked what I did, and when I said I am a writer, her eyes lit up. She said, “I’m a writer too.” And our friendship was off and running. I’ve read a lot of her stories, and I totally agree. She is a writer. I’m so happy to introduce her work to you.

My Writing Life
By Deborah Kalan

I have been writing seriously since my eleventh birthday when I received a leatherette diary the color of blue Irises. The diary was secured with a little strap that had a gold lock and two gold keys. On the front of it were the words “Dear Diary.” Each page was divided into five sections of about five lines, which in my 11-year-old mind, restricted me to extremely brief entries. 

In those days, I mostly wrote about boys. The cute ones, the creepy ones, the ones that liked me, the ones that I liked who didn’t like me. Because the blank pages were there, I felt compelled to write. I remember always feeling a sense of accomplishment, completion, when I finished my daily entry.

As my writing progressed, I wrote in a variety of journals, which I often spent hours choosing. A new journal is like a new beginning for me. The cover has to speak to me. The size and weight of it needs to feel just right. I often have two or more journals that I write in simultaneously. At one period in my life when I was going through a difficult time with my daughter, I had a “negative” journal and a “positive” one. It helped me to keep the bad karma in a separate place so that it wouldn’t spill over and spoil the good stuff.

In the beginning, along with journaling, I wrote children’s stories.  But, as my children grew and matured, I began to lose the child’s voice that was in me. It was then that my writing turned to grown up fiction, as well as essays and poetry. I knew I had a talent for writing, but because I rarely submitted my work and was not published, I had a difficult time calling myself a writer. One day I read something that said,  “if you write, you’re a writer.” I have since kept that as a sort of mantra for my self-identity. 

Other than my husband and my beautiful 91-year-old mother, who are my biggest fans, I rarely shared my writing with anyone. Just recently, through the encouragement of a dear friend of mine who is an accomplished author, I have begun to expose myself through my writing on various social network sights. After working on a piece, tweaking it, re-tweaking it, reading and rereading it, I paste it, and post it and swallow a satisfying gulp of achievement.  And then I wait. I check the sight every few minutes at first. Did anyone see it? Did anyone like it? Did they comment? And then the kudos start to come in. Sometimes there are a few comments. Sometimes a lot and sometimes none. It feels great to send my words out to the universe and hope that something I say, some group of words or stack of sentences might affect someone in a positive, reflective way. That’s when I know if I’m asked “what do you do”? I can casually and with great confidence say. “I’m a writer.”

About Deborah: The only problem with Deborah’s living arrangement is that I don’t get to see enough of her. I’m so happy to have this wonderful new friend in my life.

Deborah likes to describe her dual residences as living “bi-coastal.” She and her husband Harvey, of 41 plus years, and their “senior” dog Jackson, split their time between their homes in California. One is near the coast of Manhattan Beach and the other one is near the “coast” of Calabasas Lake. They have two grown and married children and two amazing grandchildren who are also Deborah’s devoted fans.

You can find Deborah on Facebook and read some of her stories on Storylane.

2 comments:

Sherrey Meyer said...

Madeline, thanks for introducing the rest of us to your new writing friend, Deborah.

Deborah, it was a joy to read about your writing life. I too have struggled with calling myself a writer. However, I too read somewhere that "if you write, you are a writer." Suddenly I felt affirmed and grew more courageous in my sharing. I'm so glad you and Madeline found each other, so I could get to "meet" you too.

Madeline Sharples said...

Dear Sherrey,
I'm so glad you've met Deborah. I'd like you to be a guest on my blog soon as well so others can meet you.

Right on: "If you write, you are a writer." Don't let anyone tell us otherwise.
All best, Madeline