Nancy L. (Nan) Reed's love of words has inspired her to write short stories, novels, memory snippets, scripts, and poetry. She calls Colorado the perfect place to live and is Musing at nancylreed.com about writing, designing a tiny house specifically for a wordsmith, and other subjects bizarre and intriguing. She encourages everyone with words to share to put pen to paper. Her books include Words Left Behind: tales from a life gladly lived, A Short Story Olio, Dog-grr-el: canine cadence, hound haiku, puppy poetry, Dog-grr-el: canine conundrums, hound hankerings, puppy puzzlers, Questions: so many questions, and Conversations Between Two Great Friends.
Trek to Contentment
My first flirtation with manipulating words was at age four. With my mother’s help, I laboriously printed, in a very small hand, an annotated menu for my fantasy café. When I was five, Mom took me to the local library, having promised when I achieved that momentous age, I could apply for my very own library card – unheard of in those days at the Dawn of Woman. The puritanical library clerk at the desk refused to issue me one on the basis of my age. When Mom pointed out that nothing in the rules prevented me having my own card, the obstructive woman said I could only have one if I could sign my name longhand, which I promptly did. I treasured my key to the Kingdom of Words that would keep me company, soothe my aching spirit, and provide so much joy and clarity on my life journey.
From the completion of that first tiny menu to present day, I have loved placing words on paper in such a way as to create a story, a picture, a mood, whatever a reader might seek in order to quench the thirst for words. To that end, I have saved every note, outline, partial and completed manuscript I’ve written since age four, hoping one day to turn one of them into something worthy of publication. Not long ago, I measured the volume of those writerly items to discover I had seventeen cubic feet of the stuff – the same volume as my upright freezer.
Through the elementary grades, I wrote philosophical and tragic poetry which I printed by hand on fancy paper and bound with soft leather to give to my mother as Christmas gifts. Years later, rereading my two small poetry collections, I wondered if my mother had thought I was a depressed child – they were Oh! so melodramatic and weepy. After her death, I learned she’d kept them with her at the nursing home. She liked my words.
During high school and college, I added to my piles of barely-begun and not-yet-finished manuscripts, but graduate school left me little time to pen stories. Then came a series of odd jobs and finally admission to the teaching profession. I began to have time to write again, although professional articles and lesson plans usurped much of it. When I moved to Colorado, teaching positions were hard to come by (a glut of teachers looking for work), so I began my thirty year tenure as a classified staff employee in a university library – books and more books! During that time, my ambitions to write fiction were once again sidelined by the need to write scholarly papers to complete a doctoral degree.
Then, finally, I could write what I chose. I found a writing class at the senior center, taught by a gentleman who combined the art of teaching, the skill of authorship, and the talent of an artist. I learned about the craft of writing and had some of my short stories and poetry published in local anthologies. I continued taking classes through a local writer’s group that provided me the opportunities to learn about writing, interact with writers of all calibers, and work with critique groups and partners. They helped me hone my technique and style.
In the past three years, thanks to my publisher, fellow writers, and encouraging family and friends, I’ve published six books with more to come. I find such support helps keep discouragement at bay. At one function, I had the good fortune to meet Avi when he appeared as a guest speaker. Although I don’t write for the same age group as he, I found his advice about writing and publishing to be informative and realistic. Like other well-known authors I’ve been fortunate to meet, he was willing to helping a newbie. I also felt a kinship with him for his love of dogs and took the opportunity to gift him one of my Dog-grr-el books. I wonder if he liked it? It was especially delightful that he liked my visor and told me so. I found him a very unpretentious person and a dedicated writer.
I’ll probably never be a famous author, nor will I build my dream tiny house from my writerly profits, but thanks to many folks along the way who encouraged and supported my efforts, I’m a very contented wordsmith.
Conversations Between Two Great Friends
Conversations Between Two Great Friends (Second Edition, 2017) presents the heart-to-hearts between two ladies of a certain age. The tenor of their discussions ranges from happy to sad, giddy to serious, philosophical to scientific. Their favorite coffee house waitperson, mysteriously mute, and a grieving ghost punctuate their conversations. Spanning from Christmas to Christmas, readers eavesdrop on the private chats of the friends who reflect both Victorian sensibilities and twenty-first century attitudes. Nancy L. (Nan) Reed relishes the conversations with friends that inspired these fictionalized chats.
Where to Buy Conversations Between Two Great Friends
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.