Friday, August 26, 2011

Today is the last day of Sparkfest and our last chance to engage fellow bloggers with our stories of inspiration and motivation.

If you've read my posts all week long you already know that a single author, Elizabeth Berg, and her book, "Talk Before Sleep", sparked my yearning to write. Bam!

Still, the ground work for my journey from practicing physician to full-time writer was already firmly in place long before I took the first step. Beginning at an early age, I encountered people and enjoyed stories that set the whole inevitable process into motion.

I wish that I could go back now and say a special thank you to my sixth grade English teacher, Mr. Handley who caught on to the fact that I was already using a thesaurus when writing essays for homework. He picked up on it not because my writing was all that great, but because I used such BIG words, not all of them appropriately. But he was thrilled about it and encouraged me to keep on trying...or endeavoring...or venturing...or striving...

Mr. Franczak, in high school, taught me all I know about public I'm prepared for my first book tour...if and when it ever happens.

Miss Something-or-Other in college sent me on to honors English based on my term paper about "Walden Pond" by Thoreau, still one of my favorite books.

I'd also like to pay tribute to all the other physicians who relinquished their medical practices in order to write because, by doing so, they tacitly gave me permission to try it, too.

 For me, the desire to write ached and throbbed out of sight like an untended wound over the years. And not just to write but to write a novel…which, I learned, is not unusual for doctors. A lot of physicians write but the ones who write fiction...the courageous, curious, creative souls who dare to venture beyond academics, beyond memoir and essay, beyond self-help and into the odd and exotic world of fantasy, mystery, thriller, romance, drama and poetry...these are ones who intrigue me. Among the hundreds—probably thousands—of physicians who morphed into fiction writers are Anton Chekhov, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame, John Keats (Ode to a Nightingale), Oliver Wendell Holmes (An Aristocrat at the Breakfast Table) and on a more contemporary note Michael Palmer, Tess Gerritsen, Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, and my friend, CJ Lyons...among others. In other words, I have some pretty good company.

If you participated in this blogfest, you already know how difficult it is to settle on just a couple of books that made a difference in your life...there were so many! But still, some stand out for reasons we may not even recall. Anne of Green Gables, The Yearling, Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter, Peter Pan, Travels with Charley, and The Jungle come immediately to mind for me...because they're all lined up, battered and broken on the top self of my bookcase after over fifty years. Anne Lamott, Ann Patchett, Joan Didion, Joan Anderson, Anne Tyler, Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, Anna Quinlen...oh, please--somebody stop me! Julia Cameron, Brenda Ueland, Stephen King, ad infinitum...

Participating in this blogfest reminded if I needed a reminder...that reading and writing are as much an important part of life for me as diet and work and rest and recreation. I'd like to thank everyone who joined me this week and to extend a special note of appreciation to our hostess, Christine Tyler at I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts and I hope we can stay connected as we move ahead...wherever our reading and writing lead us!

"Imagination is more important
than knowledge."
--Albert Einstein--
Be still,

ps: I did it! I earned all ten points for good behavior! Thanks, Christine!


  1. I'd love to be able to go back and thank a ton of people. Lessons that I learned and didn't realize it until years later, words of wisdom that shaped my life, on and on. It's what makes me work so hard at being grateful every single day (and I do think you have to strive for that).

    Great post, and sounds like a fun blogfest. :0)

  2. You are so right...which is why we should strive to pass it on. Someday, someone may wish that they could thank us.

  3. Very interesting - I had no idea about most of those authors' medical backgrounds. Great Spark posts and best of luck following in their footsteps!

  4. Hi, Jan! My critique partner, Saumya, is a writer and medical student. I admire that so much! Both professions take a lot of energy and faith.

  5. Laura and Saumya--I wish you both the best of luck. If Saumya can keep on writing through her training and into practice, she will have a treasure trove of experience and wisdom to draw on. Thanks for visiting my site!

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  7. Funny, I can always remember the K-12 teachers' names, but not the college ones (save the college prof who had also been a high school teacher of mine, which was crazy!) This Spark blogfest has been fun to follow. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off, but I enjoyed reading the entries, anyway.

  8. Hi again. I recently got a blog award and would love to pass it on to you!

  9. Shannon--I think your blog is fantastic, esp. that Top Ten you did about reading horror, etc.

    Jillian--Thanks so much for the award! This is better than getting a star to wear on my forehead all day in first grade! I really appreciate it.

  10. I think many of us have teachers that were a big influence on us in many ways. I know I wish I could thank a few myself.

    Tossing It Out

  11. Way to go taking on the challenge at full speed! All of these entries are gems, and as funny as it sounds, I appreciate your appreciation XD