My writing career began thirty years ago with a personal experience how-to article that sold to The Water Skier magazine. My husband and I co-owned a water ski boat with another couple, and I shared how well our arrangement worked and what co-owners should include in their written contracts. The article was subsequently published in four additional magazines.
During those three decades, my essays, articles, devotionals, poetry, and children’s stories have appeared in more than 70 magazines. Many of these manuscripts incorporate experiences about my husband and daughters. Some are accompanied by family photos. And all of the stories have been enjoyable to write.
At first it was exciting to see my name in print. And the first time one of my articles was among the “call out’s” on the cover of a magazine I was thrilled. As time passed, though, my excitement turned to watching my list of credits grow and enjoying the checks I received from the publications. The thrill of merely seeing my name in print had faded.
Recently, my mother told me of an experience that happened to her thirty years ago. She had never shared with me that she was nearly mugged and robbed in her mom and pop gift shop as she was closing up one evening! God had intervened by sending a frequent customer at just the right moment which saved her from the potentially dangerous situation. I knew her story must be told. She was 86 years old now and had never written anything. She asked me to write the story for her. I wrote the “as told to” story and submitted it to Mysterious Ways magazine, a publication of Guideposts.
The editor bought and published my mother’s story. Her name was listed as the byline, and we both received payment. When our copies of the issue arrived, my mom was ecstatic to see her name in print. I was thrilled for her and proud that my elderly mother was now a published author. Had she never shared the story with me, readers would never have been blessed by her inspiring, mysterious incident.
Since then, I listen carefully to my mother’s conversations in a new light—realizing there are many more stories we can author together. We’re currently working on an experience from her childhood when she was two years old. She even dug up a photo of herself at that age to accompany the story.
Seeing my name in print thirty years ago was exciting but, over time, I came to understand that the stories are more powerful than my byline. Bringing my mother’s stories to the public decades later has given me the greatest satisfaction of all.
copyright © 2014
Sue Carloni has been published in more than 70 magazines in the religions and secular markets for both children and adults, including Guideposts, Woman’s World, and Mature Living.