Writing surfaced as my preferred medium long before I understood what it meant to choose a career. I’ve embraced writing, danced around it, turned my back on it, pursued it in secret, announced it to the world and rejected it in shame. Finally, after asking for forgiveness, I walked tentatively with the Writer inside of me on this tilt-a-whirl journey to become a published author. But it was only after I gave myself permission to put the absolute worst on the page that the truth of my characters began to rise.
“Freeing Vesuvius”— Creative Nonfiction: Winter 2019, Sky Island Journal, Issue #7
CHRONICLE OF A WRITER IN PROGRESS…
1950s— I enter the world screaming for comfort while dreaming of life as a Contender.
1960s— My storytelling abilities surface early. I lie with a straight face and laugh when I offer the truth. Friends say I’m destined to be famous. I dream of being the next Alfred Hitchcock and write stories for his television show.
1970s— I trade in Hitchcock for Emily Dickinson. Pen poems by candlelight and submit them to Random House. The Random House rejection doesn’t stop me, but my college writing professor crushes me. By the end of the decade writing becomes a secret.
1980s— Graduate from the University of New Orleans with a MFA in Performance and a minor in Stripping. Poetry transforms into playwriting.
1990s— Work as an Actress, Acting coach, Director and Choreographer. Complete six plays. Beating the Odds, a one-act, is part of the Washington D.C. Theatre Festival and staged at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia.
2000-2010— Swap plays for short stories thanks to a Writers Workshop in New Paltz, New York. Write a short story called Telegram Express based on how I ended up as a stripper in New Orleans. Participants encourage me to expand it into a novel. Complete the novel and write two more. Attend Writing Conferences, and realize I don’t know anything about writing. Rewrites become my middle name and my new license plate.
2011— Attend an Agent-Author Seminar. Share the opening chapter of my Telegram Express novel. Agents inform me I have no voice. Meltdown. Can’t write.
2012— Launch Jocosa’s Bookshelf. Begin a memoir. In December I quit my day job and write full-time.
2013— Exercise injury sets up a pain cycle my body is unable to break, can barely walk, impossible to write.
2014— Attend Woodstock Writers Festival. A panel on Writing, Music and Yoga prompts me to purchase The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope. Cope’s book sends me back to my yoga mat. I switch from Hatha yoga to Kundalini. My body heals. Writing resumes. Complete the 9th Draft of Telegram Express on Bloomsday, June 16th at 4:42 pm. In November I attend the first WriterUnboxed Unconference and discover the seeds for a new novel.
2015— February, Telegram Express/The 9th Draft acquires a new title: A Second Line. More rewrites and Beta Readers. Agent research. Restart the memoir.
2016— After receiving mixed feedback from several editors on the submission package for A Second Line, I QUIT Writing. Travel to Japan to visit my youngest son. Enroll in a creative writing class and rediscover the joy.
2017— Send my short stories and creative non-fiction out on submission. Go on hiatus from reviewing books in order to write a slogging first draft of my memoir. Developmental work on that damn New Orleans story to see if another revision is justified. Introduce author interviews.
2018— July 4th— Finish the 12th Draft of my first novel, now called Treasures of Ruin. On November 28th, I receive word that Sky Island Journal wants to publish a piece of creative nonfiction. Yay!
2019— January 19th— “Freeing Vesuvius” is published. Prepare for the submission process on my novel.