I have always enjoyed sharing my life experiences with my family and friends. And at 88 years old, I have had a lot of them!
My daughter Sue is the writer in the family. She has been published in more than 70 magazines. I secretly wondered if any of my stories were worthy of being published, but I never mentioned it.
A few years ago, I was sharing a story with Sue about the time I was nearly mugged in the gift shop I owned. It was closing time. I had already turned off the lights and was cashing out the register but had neglected to lock the door. A man poked his head in and said he just needed to buy a card. I allowed him to enter. But the man didn’t browse through the cards. He slowly walked toward me. My heart beat fast as I realized I had made a foolish mistake letting him come in. God intervened, however, by sending a frequent customer to the shop at the right moment. When she walked into the store, the man ran out the door.
Sue immediately said, “Mom, you have to share this inspirational story with readers!”
I didn’t know how to go about trying to get something published, but Sue volunteered to write the experience for me as an “as told to” story. She submitted the piece to Mysterious Ways, a publication of Guideposts magazine. They bought my story! My byline appeared with the story, and I received payment along with 10 copies. I was a published author!
Now besides sharing stories with family and friends, I keep in mind if my experiences seem like they would be something readers would enjoy. Sue recently helped me write a story about when I was three years old and my mother sewed my dresses without using patterns. She made the dresses from memory of the darling, little dresses she spotted in a department store window. I had two photos of my mother and me to accompany the story. Sue submitted these along with the story, and I’m hopeful it will be accepted for publication.
I never would have imagined that I would be a published author—especially in my 80s! I’ll continue to share my stories with readers as long as I’m able.
Fred Waiss is a former high school teacher and coach who writes poetry, articles, short stories, novellas, and novels as the muse attacks; as an author he considers himself a work in progress.