Nearly a decade ago, I thought that I had thoroughly switched over from being a writer to being a lawyer. I had, after all, been a happy journalist for nearly twenty years. When I entered law school at the age of forty, I had the tremendous certainty that the shift—which had been preceded by surviving a ghastly accident that put me in a body cast for three months—was permanent. I viewed it as a pretty exciting transformation! I had stepped out of that fiberglas body cast like a moth who had spun a chrysalis, and entered a new stage of development.
And my budding career as a prosecutor was—and continues to be, to this day—challenging, rewarding, incredibly varied, and incredibly satisfying. And yet…several years in, I realized that I still missed the siren call of writing. That act of sitting down at a keyboard, or slouching into a sofa with a pad of paper and a fountain pen, and putting thoughts into words for the sheer joy of it.
My yearnings may have stayed as just that—yearnings. But here is where the power of friendship comes in, and the valuable lesson that if you are lucky to have friends who believe in you, sometimes you should just shut up and take their advice.
A friend of mine who worked as an attorney in the same courthouse, and her husband who blogged about his adventures of being a stay-at-home dad of a preschooler, nudged, pushed, and prodded me to start blogging. It took months of entreaties before I finally took the notion seriously. One factor was that my life was entirely too haphazard to carry a long train of thought needed to write anything longer than an essay. My dreams of finishing a suspense novel featuring a plucky female prosecutor had been shelved by the necessity of keeping up with serial family emergencies, ailing pets, and three hundred commuting miles a week.
And so, bolstered and buoyed by their encouragement—and the husband’s tech savvy—I cautiously dipped my toe into the water. We picked a name--“Running with Stilettos”—and bought the internet domain. I took a bag of my favorite high heels to the shore of Lake Michigan and lay belly-down on cold, wet sand in late December to capture a photo of my shoes by the water to post as the blog’s signature image.
And then I wrote my first essay, about my children decorating Christmas cookies to look like bloody axes that first Christmas holiday after the divorce. I had no idea whether any more essays would follow, but at least I took that first step, just as the old year was about to turn over to a new one.
Well, the essays followed. And it felt quite liberating to write about whatever I felt like writing about, without tailoring it to a market, or a magazine’s “style,” or an editor’s priorities. And so, as new chapters in my life unfolded, I wrote about them. About facing a fence emergency and buying my first power tool, a cordless drill, to deal with it. About taking my elderly father to Germany with my two teenaged sons so that he could see his sisters once more before he died. About dating after the divorce. I wrote about friendship and motherhood and chocolate and spike heels and riding “pillion” and gardening and moving on.
And a year later, I took what I’d written on that blog and turned it into my first book. Naturally, I called it “Running with Stilettos”! It won several awards, including a "first place" from the National Federation of Press Woman in their annual communications contest.
The adventures…and the books…continue. And I am so grateful to my friends who pestered me enough, and believed in me enough, to make me start down this new--and old---path.