Challenge: most rewarding outside of writing
There was a time many years ago where I was a member of the Mississippi County Writers Guild, The national Federation of State Poetry Societies, published articles regularly in news papers, published poetry, essays, won awards, attended conferences. All this was done while raising children, caring for our home, and working as the publicity director for the Haven of Hope.
Working as the publicity director was an especially fulfilling activity outside of writing, it also holds the unique position of it’s fruition being directly related to my writing. Although the word “publicity” in the title may sound related, the actual function was much more on the lines of public speaking.
Mississippi County, while a collection of small towns, the county led the entire state in cases of violence against women and child abuse yet there wasn’t a shelter for these victims. The Haven Of Hope was the dream child of Dr. Sam McGill. We met by chance or just maybe by divine providence.
After a brief conversation, he asked me to meet with him and assist him in raising funds to open a shelter. My job was contacting service organizations and corporations, giving public speeches, meeting with CEO’s and convince them to donate to this cause. Possessing the nature of an introvert with social anxiety, It took a great deal of false bravado but I did it and was surprising good at it! I faced the crowded rooms and addressed them as though I were talking to my closest friends and thousands of dollars poured in. We were just below reaching our target goal when I decided to write a newspaper article, hoping to push through to the mark.
I sat down and wrote an article that I feared the editor would reject due to it’s shocking intro. I began with a violent physical attack, a blow that would knock a woman to the floor. Still reeling from the shock, the attacker was on her, his knee pressing into her chest, pinning her to the ground. A punch so hard that it’d not only black her eye but burst the vessels in it only to be followed by a back handed fist to the mouth. Only after this did I reveal that the hands meant to hold, comfort and protect were the fists of her attacker and that it was I, who was left laying on the floor.
I dropped it off for the editor, held my breath and started drafting a more palatable article as a backup. The editor was usually pretty quick to get back with me concerning any edits needed and publish dates so as the day passed with no word, I was certain it was scrapped. By morning I had completed a secondary article that felt bland and lifeless in comparison and called the paper to let them know.
When the secretary answered, I told her who I was and that I wanted to offer a replacement article. She excitedly yelled “Oh No! Your article’s going out in tomorrow’s paper! The editor loved it so much she had every staff writer read it as an example of what she’s looking for in an article! She’s running it straight, no edits.”
I was exceptionally proud to see this article when I picked up the morning paper and prayed it would inspire enough in donations to reach the goal amount to purchase a property for the shelter. Mid morning the next day, my phone rang. It was Dr. McGill and he wanted me to meet with him as soon as I could come. I was unsure what this was about but agreed to drive right over. As I entered his office, I could see that he’d been crying. He rose and greeted me with an unusual hug and delivered the news that overwhelms me still. An older couple had read the article I’d written and were so move that they contacted Dr. McGill and donated a house! A house!
No longer having to purchase a property left all the funds that had already been raised, to go toward furnishing, feeding, clothing, to hire and pay staff, counselors and we could get the doors open within weeks!
I can safely say that this uniquely holds the position of being both my most fulfilling non- writing and writing experience.
©Laura M. Bailey, All the shoes I wear & writing down the Bones, 1990–Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Laura M. Bailey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.