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Lori Duffy Foster

... write to think; think to write.

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Wed, 28 Sep 2016
A high school senior told me recently she intends to pursue creative writing in college. I mentioned this to her father, who sighed.
He is trying to talking her into something else, he said.
Something more practical with more job opportunities.
Good luck.
I was that girl.
I fought it.
I lost.
The forces of my childhood pointed me toward a career in writing.
I won a local poetry contest in elementary school. I wrote radio commercials for our small, always-broke Catholic school. I wrote short stories for a short-lived junior high school publication.
Writing was my therapy when I sensed trouble between my parents, when my parents finally separated and when they later divorced.
(Okay, writing and alcohol, if I must be honest.)
But I'd grown up with no money and I wasn't about to grow into the same situation.
I didn't even consider majoring in English or creative writing.
Instead, I chose geochemistry when I enrolled at SUNY-Oswego. I loved rocks. I loved chemistry. I was strong in math and science. I could work for an oil company like my cousins. It made sense.
Until I took the first course and realized it was (gasp) work!
At a loss for a major, I enrolled in an interpersonal communications class because I wanted to become more confident. At the same time, I registered for a fiction writing workshop just for fun. An elective, I told myself.
Even as I grew more interested in interpersonal communications and declared it my major, I continued taking classes in creative writing through the English department: ficton, poetry, journalism.
Why not take a few literature courses as well, I thought.
I even enrolled in summer sessions so I could take more classes in both fields.
I told myself my involvement in the college newspaper -- first as a writer, and then as an editor -- was simply communications-related. Same with my internship at a Pennsylvania television station.
Then my advisor enlightened me: With just another course or two, I would have a double major in interpersonal communications and English/creative writing.
A newspaper journalism internship was among the creative writing courses I needed, so I tracked down the regional editor at the Syracuse Newspapers and asked whether I could write for free. The free work became a paid internship and the paid internship led to a full-time job when I graduated.
And there I was, writing for a living.
Great, right?
End of story?
Of course not, because that itch is incurable, that desire to write fiction.
It lay dormant for several years, satisfied with the human experiences journalism afforded me and the opportunity to grow within the craft of writing nonfiction, but I missed voice. I missed character. I missed plot.
I missed it all too much.
So what did I do?
It took me six years of working full time and driving two hours each way, twice a week to Binghamton University to get my master's degree in creative writing. But the need to scratch kept me in motion.
A degree still wasn't enough though. Just before I graduated, my husband and I made a deal: We would move to Arizona to pursue his dream job. When we were settled enough financially, I would pursue my dream of writing fiction.
It hasn't been easy.
Kids came along (Yay!) and finances dictated that I bring in some money, forcing me to set aside plans to write fiction full time. I have worked part time as a college English instructor, a magazine freelancer, a book editor, a website moderator and a taxonomy specialist, trying to balance work with family and writing.
So far, that has resulted in three published short stories and four unpublished novels that are in the hands of my wonderful literary agent, Liz Trupin-Pulli. Two more novels and a couple more short stories are in the works.
I have come to terms with my passion for fiction and my need to constantly scratch that itch (I suppose I could come up with a more pleasant metaphor.). It's been a long and complicated road, but that instinct, passion, itch -- whatever you want to call it -- never let me stray too far.
I am not alone.
I know so many other writers who also went to war with their natures and lost.
Some are best-selling authors. Some are mid-list. Some are still looking for publishers. Many gave up lucrative careers in other fields -- interior design, law, education. Why? Because the forces that drive us to create in such a way are simply too strong.
Fighting it leads to depression, and who wants to be depressed?
So don't be surprised, my friend, if your daughter ignores your advice and majors in creative writing anyway, or if she heeds your advice and later gives up her financial stability for the pursuit of the written word.
She's not being disrespectful or trying to mislead you or acting out of youthful ignorance.
She is simply abiding by her nature.
She's scratching that incurable itch.




Thu, 15 Sep 2016

Fri, 18 Dec 2015

Thu, 19 Nov 2015



Wed, 02 Sep 2015

Mon, 17 Aug 2015


















Quotes

"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."

--Gloria Steinem

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little."

--Anne Lamott

Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.

--Richard Curtis

I am a galley slave to pen and ink.

--Honore de Balzac

No one is able to enjoy such feast than the one who throws a party in his own mind

--Selma Lagerlöf

Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.

--Thomas Berger

About Lori Duffy Foster

I was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, which is the setting of my first novel, Spring Melt. I am sister to seven siblings. I am a graduate of SUNY-Oswego (BA) and of Binghamton University (MA). For 11 years, I wrote about everything--crime, education, politics, the military, running, Native American affairs--for The (Syracuse, N.Y.) Post-Standard. That's where I met my awesome husband, Tom, co-author of Their Darkest Day, an account of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
When I became a mother, I gave up my full-time career to be home with our kids. I have taught college English as an adjunct; worked as a technical writer; freelanced as a writer and editor; and started up my own Web-based business. In my spare time I write novels. My short stories have been published in Aethlon, a journal of sports literature, and in the 2011 Short Story America Anthology.
I am a writer, but I refuse to call myself an author until at least one of those books sees print (at someone else's expense).
I have lived all over the country--in New York State, Florida, Arizona, Ohio and, currently, in northern Pennsylvania.  And my hope is that one of these days, my husband and I will be able to take our kids around the country and throughout the world.